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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

Rider rule change blow to Witches

PUBLISHED: 11:49 26 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:54 03 March 2010

HOPES that Ipswich Witches had of being one of the strongest teams in the Sky Sports Elite League next season have been hit following a decision at the promoters' annual conference.

HOPES that Ipswich Witches had of being one of the strongest teams in the Sky Sports Elite League next season have been hit following a decision at the promoters' annual conference.

The Witches have already secured a strong top four with Scott Nicholls, Chris Louis, Craig Boyce and Jeremy Doncaster already confirmed starters for the 2002 campaign.

At the British Speedway Promoters' Association annual meeting in Edinburgh which finished at the weekend, it was decided that teams can use more than one rider who is attached to the Grand Prix series.

It was believed that the promoters would opt for one GP rider per team, but under pressure from some clubs they have decided to widen the scale although a clear picture is not expected until later this week.

It is believed that the six nominated riders for the 2002 GP will be available to ride in the Elite League at clubs who already have one GP rider. This means that Andreas Jonsson can stay at Coventry who will either keep Billy Hamill or Greg Hancock.

How this will affect the running of the Elite League next season when 10 GP meetings have been arranged remains to be seen.

This appeared to be the main problem but under pressure from some clubs this compromise decision means that the league will not be weakened by more than a couple of riders from this campaign.

This can only be good news for spectators. Further discussions are to take place on bringing two Premier League riders into each club with a view to one of them riding at reserve each match.

Therefore Elite League clubs would name one reserve but have the use of one or either of a Premier League man to fill their other reserve berth.

The Elite League title will be decided next season following a play off. Teams finishing in the top five will battle it out so consequently Ipswich can finish fifth next year and still be crowned champions.

The knockout cup draw has been delayed as a new club, Sittingbourne, have applied to join the Elite League to bring the strength up to 10 clubs but their final decision will not be known until December when they can confirm that they will be definite starters.

Somerset and Rye House have joined the Premier League to bring the strength of that league up to 17 clubs.

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