Mark was set for best-ever season - Jem

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches legend Jeremy Doncaster is certain Mark Loram would have enjoyed one of his best-ever speedway seasons.Doncaster, the Witches training instructor, watched in horror as Ipswich number one Loram broke his left thigh and fractured his left arm at Foxhall Stadium last Thursday.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches legend Jeremy Doncaster is certain Mark Loram would have enjoyed one of his best-ever speedway seasons.

Doncaster, the Witches training instructor, watched in horror as Ipswich number one Loram broke his left thigh and fractured his left arm at Foxhall Stadium last Thursday.

The 2000 world champion is currently in Norwich Hospital and will be out of action for around a year.

“I think it was going to be one of Mark's best-ever years,” said Doncaster.

“I have never seen him so sharp, and in our Tuesday night football knock-abouts at Whitton Sports Centre he was looking really fit and I know he was raring to go.”

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Doncaster thinks Ipswich would have been a force to be reckoned with this year with Loram as their spearhead.

“If Mark had stayed fit Ipswich would have surprised a lot of people,” added Doncaster.

“They would have turned out better in practice than they looked on paper.

“Even without Mark I think there are a number of Elite League sides who are no better than Ipswich and I can see plenty of well-balanced meetings at Foxhall.”

Doncaster, who led Ipswich from the front on the track for many years and is a former world number three, admitted that there is plenty of work to be done if the Suffolk sides is to enjoy a good season.

However, Doncaster sees no reason to be too pessimistic.

He said: “The message to Ipswich fans must be not to give up, but to keep faith and help the riders with their support.

“I was encouraged by the way the rest of the team responded after Mark was taken to hospital last Thursday and there is plenty of promise in the side.

“Now they must rely on guests for a while anyway, although this can sometimes work in your favour.

“I used to guest a lot when I was at my peak and always gave my best.

“Ipswich will be best to try to book the same riders as often as possible - as you can then build up a rapport.”

There are worries Ipswich do not have the financial clout to compete on an even keel in the top flight of British speedway, but Doncaster felt that was best left until next winter.

“Let us see this season through first,” he said. “It is too early to write off Ipswich's campaign.

“The Russian League is expected to grow and in 2008 the Elite League could be weakened considerably because the top riders will be earning enough in Russia, Poland and Sweden to enable them to give the heavy British schedule a miss.”

Like everybody else, Doncaster was sickened by Loram's crash and said: “It brought home the dangers of the sport.”

Now an electrician, Doncaster added: “The crash was horrible and could have been much worse for Mark.

“Speedway is a family sport and his injury affected a large number of people.”

Loram did not miss one meeting in 2006 on his return to Ipswich after 17 years and was eager to enjoy a successful 2007.

The Witches' hopes of gaining their first league points of the season were dashed when last night's planned meeting with Coventry Bees at Foxhall Stadium was postponed.

The decision was made at 6pm after persistent rain left the track waterlogged.

Ipswich have a break now until their next meeting, when they ride home and away to Lakeside Hammers on Good Friday.

With every other Elite League track in action that day, Ipswich are expected to use the rider replacement facility to cover for Loram.

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