Mildenhall waiting on Witches decision

TOMORROW the future of Ipswich speedway will be defined.A meeting of the British Speedway Promoters' Association will discuss a planned format for 2004.

By Elvin King

TOMORROW the future of Ipswich speedway will be defined.

A meeting of the British Speedway Promoters' Association will discuss a planned format for 2004.

Will it be enough to attract clubs from the Premier League to join the Sky Sports Elite League, and therefore guarantee the survival of top flight speedway in this country?

Will it be enough to keep Ipswich interested in staying in the Elite League after a horrendous 2003?

Arena-Essex may well show some interest in a move up, but barring a cash incentive from sponsors Sky Sports – or a big reduction in costs – there are unlikely to be many other clubs joining them.

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Reducing overheads in the top flight has been tried before, but have all failed to work. Clubs chasing trophies will always push limitations to the brink, and begin a chain that will loosen the shackles.

Ipswich made their views clear last week with director Magda Louis' comments in the Evening Star, although promoter John Louis will still have an open mind as he attends tomorrow's meeting.

One man watching the situation closely is Mildenhall boss Graham Drury. Two Suffolk clubs in the Premier League would add spice to a varied fixture list.

While Ipswich flounder in the Elite League, the west Suffolk side are enjoying life in the Conference League.

Their attendances are up and thoughts of moving up a division a real possibility.Witches director Magda Louis admitted Ipswich need an immediate cash injection of £100,000 to compete in the Elite League if it stays at the same levels of 2003.

Ipswich will be strongly encouraged to remain Elite League by the BSPA management committee.

"At the moment we are sitting on the fence, as regards what we are doing next season," said Drury.

"There is little doubt we are the best supported Conference League side and our crowd in the recent rained-off fours semi-final was well in excess of four figures.

"I don't want to build hopes up among our fans as regards us moving up to the Premier League, but certainly if Ipswich were to move down it could be what tips the balance - although not a guarantee."

Ipswich could face a trip to the capital if they serve-up Premier League fare in 2004 as Wimbledon have joined Mildenhall in considering a jump up from the Conference.

"All I want is the best for Mildenhall speedway," Drury continued.

"There is also little doubt we are getting lots of fans from Ipswich coming over to see us this year."

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