Piotr will pep up Witches, says Andersen

HANS Andersen today welcomed Piotr Protasiewicz to the Ipswich Evening Star Witches speedway team, saying that he has respect for the Polish rider.Andersen is expected to take over the mantle of Witches figurehead from Scott Nicholls, who has been transferred to Coventry Bees.

HANS Andersen today welcomed Piotr Protasiewicz to the Ipswich Evening Star Witches speedway team, saying that he has respect for the Polish rider.

Andersen is expected to take over the mantle of Witches figurehead from Scott Nicholls, who has been transferred to Coventry Bees.

Rider manager Chris Louis is due to skipper the side and add his considerable weight as the third Ipswich heat leader, but if the Witches are to have success in 2005 much will depend on how the Andersen/Protasiewicz partnership works.

And 24-year-old Andersen is convinced it will prove effective. The Dane, who is to continue as a Jawa sponsored rider, said: “I have respect for Pepe (Piotr) having ridden with him at Peterborough in 2003.

“We get on well and we ride well together knowing where each other will be on the track. We will be able to discuss things before races and this will be particularly important if we are paired together in heats 13 and 15.

“I have spoken to Pepe and he cannot wait for the Ipswich season to start. He is taking things very professionally and will have his own full time mechanic based in the town.

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“He will prove to be good for the Witches, and after Scott made his decision known that he wanted to move on the club has done well to get someone as talented and keen as Pepe on board.”

Andersen, who had a couple of public disagreements with Nicholls during their time together at Foxhall last season, thinks Ipswich are capable of repeating last season's form when they finished third in the Sky Bet Elite League and runners-up in the Knock-Out Cup.

And he welcomed the signing of another Pole in current world under-21 champion Robert Miskowiak.

“I will be riding with Robert in the Polish League for Wroclaw as well and this will be good as we will get to know each other on and of the track,” said Andersen, who has been in regular touch with Witches youngster Daniel King during the close season. He has also stayed in contact with schoolboy prospect Scott Campos.

Andersen, who plans to begin his season late next month with a number of days training at the Lonigo track near Verona in northern Italy, has returned from a relaxing holiday in Egypt.

He is busy at the moment building up his machinery and has four bikes already complete. Andersen plans to have four more ready by the time the season starts.

He has netted a number of good sponsorship deals based on his current top ten position in the Grand Prix series and has set his sights on making a serious challenge for the 2005 world individual crown.

Meanwhile, Ipswich are still working on completing their side. They are keeping an eye on the Oxford situation as Australian Travis McGowan would be a target if not required by the Silver Machine side.

And they are still hoping that Protasiewicz's average can be reduced to take off his 2003 bonus points so that Jesper B Jensen can return to the side.

Ipswich Evening Star Witches 2005 line-up: P Protasiewicz 8.79, H Andersen 7.95, C Louis 7.41, K Jansson 4.74,

R Miskowiak 4.50, D King 3.00

Combined average: 36.39

Maximum combined average limit: 42.50

J B Jensen's average is 6.45.

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