Mike ponders his future as boss
MIKE Smillie, the Ipswich Evening Star Witches team manager, is considering his future.He has presided over just two competitive victories this season and says that he is disillusioned with speedway.
By Elvin King
MIKE Smillie, the Ipswich Evening Star Witches team manager, is considering his future.
He has presided over just two competitive victories this season and says that he is disillusioned with
He would like to see at least two changes in the Ipswich side but says that his hands are tied.
But it is not just a succession of Ipswich beatings that is causing Smillie to think hard about his position.
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The usually calm master-tactician did not mince his words after the 49-41 home cup hammering by Oxford.
"Speedway is being killed," he blasted. "Rolling averages have ruined our chances this year and the whole sport is being torn apart by rules and regulations.
"If we are not careful it will put Ipswich in a vulnerable position. At best it might mean a drop down to the Premier League, at worst – I would not like to contemplate.
"There must be question marks about the ability of at least two of our riders, but it is not this that is the main reason I am considering my future.
"We have spoken to riders, but unless we drop two men and bring in a nine point man and a three point man our hands are tied by rolling averages.
"And can we guarantee that would be an improvement? It is a total farce.
"Coventry's averages have gone up half a point to 48.5. Ours have gone down half a point to 45.2. How can that be right when they are top and we have won just once?
"I know we only have 0.28 points to play with, but I would like to see changes as we have too long a tail.
"Chris Slabon did well, but our other riders should have scored more. Daniel Bird and Tom P Madsen were gifted points in heat two, while Jarek Hampel was squeezed out in his last two rides and felt his shoulder on the tight track.
"Daniel Nermark I feel will improve, but there are question marks about many of our team.
"I have told the management – and it is up to them."
One rider who would be handy at the moment is Craig Boyce who served the Witches well in 2001 and 2002 but was left without a club until he took the injured Niklas Klingberg's place at Oxford.
He said: "I was waiting by the phone all winter for Ipswich to call. I would have loved to come back.
"I was consistent last year and feel I could still do a job for the Witches."
Hurry was busy taking his machine apart after the meeting. "I really don't know what to do," he said.
"I have been back to the drawing board so many times over the last few weeks.
"This is the engine I used when I was scoring well at the back end of 2001 and in 2002.
"And I have been riding grass-track better than at any time in my career. We just cannot get the engines going."
Oxford team manager Nigel Wagstaff had a crumb of comfort for Ipswich. He said: "We have had our track re-laid since our last home match and Friday will be like a neutral track. My lads will have had no experience on it.
"We have to be happy, but if Scott Nicholls scores 18 points on Friday, Ipswich could still make it difficult for us.
"Ipswich are like King's Lynn were last season when I was in charge. They need to have their top riders available and riding well.
"They have not been blessed with the best of good fortune with regard to injuries so far."