Magda: My boys were all stars in victory

THIS was a thoroughly professional showing from the Ipswich team.Their success was music to the ears of Witches fans – and the riders all joined in the chorus.

By Elvin King

THIS was a thoroughly professional showing from the Ipswich team.

Their success was music to the ears of Witches fans – and the riders all joined in the chorus.

"We want to stay with Ipswich in 2003," was the cry that went up from The Evening Star Witches side of the pits following last night's Craven Shield final second leg. Director Magda Louis has made a point of making sure her riders are aware of the importance of this final.

"They are riding for their places," she said. "I have received requests from a lot of riders who would like to ride for Ipswich next year.

"Too many to fit into a team. Much will depend on what happens this week."

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On November 12 there is a general council meeting of the British Speedway Promoters' Association and the picture for 2003 should become clearer. The annual conference follows later next month in Swindon.

"We will hopefully know then what is happening and can set about building a team as early as possible," added Mrs Louis.

Scott Nicholls and Jarek Hampel have already been offered – and agreed – deals for next season and skipper Chris Louis did not look to be holding back when he returned to the track last night.

He did a number of practice starts and a selection of wheelies to test the back he injured in Sweden last April.

When he returned to the pits he received a standing ovation from fans that had stayed behind after the main match had finished.

"I am chuffed to bits tonight," added Mrs Louis. "This season has been a struggle, but tonight my boys were all stars.

"We ride Coventry well and Leigh Lanham can be an asset at reserve. We can do it."

JOONAS KYLMAKORPI: "I would like to come back to Foxhall in 2003, but I will have to be more organised and be based nearer than Eastbourne.

"It is never easy in the first year with mechanics to sort out and a new track to master, but I have enjoyed myself once I got fully fit after my injury. Hopefully I have done enough to be offered another contract here."

CHRIS SLABON: "Like Joonas I want to come back. I plan to ride in Poland, Sweden and England and I see that as no great problem in 2003.

"Ipswich is a friendly club with great fans and if I have proved my worth to the management this week it will be time well spent.

"It looks as though the Craven Shield will go down to the wire, but we know we can do it."

MIKE SMILLIE: "We still have a lot of work to do. We have done well at Coventry in the league, but this tournament is a different ball game.

"But you cannot knock what we have achieved over the first two legs.

"There is naturally a bit of an end-of-season feel to racing at this time of the year but our team has stayed on the ball.

"We managed four 5-1s tonight, which was important and three of the six races not involving us were drawn, which was beneficial to us."