‘We are speaking to some exciting riders’... Ipswich Witches team boss on 2020 line-up

21 November, 2019 - 07:00
Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins.    Picture: Steve Waller

Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins. Picture: Steve Waller

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Ipswich Witches team boss Ritchie Hawkins knows his side need to ‘hit the ground running’ to keep up the momentum gained from last season.

The Suffolk side were Premiership runners-up after losing to Swindon Robins in the 2019 play-off final.

It was a terrific summer of speedway for Hawkins' team as they confounded pre-season expectations to not just reach the play-offs, but reach the final as well.

Planning for 2020 is already under way.

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"Of course we must build on what was a very good year for us," Hawkins said.

Cameron Heeps & Jake Allen, formed a good partnership last season. Picture: Steve GardinerCameron Heeps & Jake Allen, formed a good partnership last season. Picture: Steve Gardiner

"We actually ended the season under the points limit for team-building for next season, so we know what we have to do.

"Fans supported a winning team and we want to hit the ground running like we did last season. We've set the bar high, we know that and we want to continue that."

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Part of the Witches early season success this summer was the high-scoring of reserves Cameron Heeps and Jake Allen at the start of the campaign.

And while both found their way into the body of the team as the season moved on, Allen was back at reserve when Niels-Kristian Iversen joined for the final play-off push.

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"Having strong reserves is important," Hawkins said.

"I know fans want to know what the team will be as soon as possible, but all I can say is we are speaking to some exciting riders and of course we are looking to keep quite a few from last season. We had a good group, good to work with, and it created a good atmosphere and helped with the success.

"We have lots of options right now."

There are rumours that one or two top riders who haven't ridden in England for a while may be on their way back to British speedway in 2020.

Hawkins wouldn't be drawn on that, but did comment on the news that three-time former World Champion Nicki Pedersen is back in Britain next year - with Sheffield Tigers.

"That's just great news for the sport in this country," Hawkins said.

"It's of course a boost for Sheffield, but also a boost for the sport in this country."

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