Scott - this will be my dream year
IPSWICH Witches' star man Scott Nicholls predicts this is going to be his year.Nicholls is set to lead the Witches if Chris Louis fails to declare himself fit for the start of the speedway season.
By Elvin King
IPSWICH Witches' star man Scott Nicholls predicts this is going to be his year.
Nicholls is set to lead the Witches if Chris Louis fails to declare himself fit for the start of the season.
Nicholls finished 2002 in fine style with a rostrum place in the Australian GP in October.
"I am nearing my peak," he said today. "When I was a 15-year-old starry-eyed kid I looked ahead and saw 26 as the age when I could make it big. I will be 25 in May.
"I learned a tremendous amount last season despite struggling to make an impact at Grand Prix level.
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"It was my first full season in the GP, and I took longer to adapt than I hoped.
"But I feel bedded in now and am not far off the top."
Nicholls is the most realistic hope to become England's next world champion, and the Ipswich-based rider desperateley wants to take the sport's top crown.
But he stressed that he cannot afford to stop riding for Ipswich Witches.
"Unless payments increase in the Grand Prix circuit I will have to earn my bread and butter from league speedway," said Nicholls, who has spent the last six weeks working on his machinery.
"It means a lot of fixtures, and a lot of sorting out. But it can be done and I am sure I can serve both masters in 2003.
"But if the GP series increases I am not sure for how much longer. And if it comes to a choice between league speedway and GP speedway the financial implications will have to be taken into account.
"As riders we get no say in how the sport is run – we just have to make the best out of it as we can."
Nicholls has spent time snow-boarding in the USA with former Witch John Cook since the turn of the year and he has agreed deals to stay with Wroclaw in Poland and Smederna in Sweden.
"I want to keep stepping up every year, and feel I have done this for the last few years," added Nicholls, whose engines are tuned by his father Tommy.
"Ipswich have put together a good-looking side and it is full of battlers. We should do well and my job as skipper will be to go round and make sure the rest of the lads are OK."
Press Day is March 12 and Nicholls cannot wait to get back on track.
Ipswich, who ride 12 meetings in May, have two home Monday matches that will be screened live on Sky Sports – May 12 and June 23.
They will also be staging a bumper 75th anniversary celebration of speedway at Foxhall on June 19.