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Ipswich Witches for the Premiership in 2018? Louis won’t rule it out. What do you think? Vote here!

PUBLISHED: 12:11 04 October 2017 | UPDATED: 14:55 04 October 2017

Witches promoter Chris Louis, left, talks with Rory Schlein at the play-off final. Louis has been buoyed by the fans' support this year. Photos: STEVE WALLER

Witches promoter Chris Louis, left, talks with Rory Schlein at the play-off final. Louis has been buoyed by the fans' support this year. Photos: STEVE WALLER

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Ipswich Witches promoter Chris Louis has not ruled out the club making the step up into the Premiership in 2018.

Just days after the Suffolk side were beaten in the Championship play-off final by Sheffield, Louis, buoyed by the support fans showed on Saturday night, turning out in their thousands, says there is definitely nothing ruled in or out at this stage.

“I certainly won’t say there is no chance of us riding in the Premiership next season,” he said.

“But there are varying factors which have to come into play.

“There’s a TV deal to be negotiated and there is mooted talk of fixed race nights – Monday and Thursday in the Premiership. There is a lot going on in the sport, possibly things that should have been done a few years ago – so we’ll see.”

Kyle Newman squeezes round the outside of Josh Bates in the rerun of heat three at Foxhall on Saturday night.Kyle Newman squeezes round the outside of Josh Bates in the rerun of heat three at Foxhall on Saturday night.

The talk of fixed race nights in the Premiership has been spoken about for years now.

But certainly the appetitie among promoters is there for that to happen next year, and if one of those fixed race nights is a Thursday, it could leave Louis with a dilemma.

Costs of course would be considerably higher in the Premiership, but if Louis could gurantee himself similar crowds to the one on Thursday at Foxhall, he would leap at the chance to take the Witches back to where many fans of the sport feel they belong – at the top table.

As regards next year’s team building, Louis admits to be happy with all his 2017 riders.

Fans queuing to get into Foxhall ahead of the Ipswich v Sheffield meeting. Photo: STEVE WALLERFans queuing to get into Foxhall ahead of the Ipswich v Sheffield meeting. Photo: STEVE WALLER

“I would happily go with any of the riders who have ridden for us this season in 2018, whatever league we are in,” he said.

“They have been a pleasure to work with and have given everything.”

Louis and his team are still recovering from the disappointment of losing to Sheffield by 18 points on aggregate in that play-off final.

However, with a two-legged knock-out semi-final to come against the Tigers next week, Louis is already plotting the Tigers’ downfall.

“We will be out for revenge,” he said.

“If Sheffield think we are just going to roll over and say they are the better team, then they are wrong.”

A couple of things which will aid the Witches next week is the hoped-for return to the side of Connor Mountain, who is set to ride for Mildenhall on Sunday at West Row.

While the rider replacement facility for Justin Sedgmen sees the Aussie’s average move up to No.4 in the new October stats – meaning Cameron Heeps is afforded an extra ride, as well as Kyle Newman and the reserves.

Louis hopes to do more track work in the winter, rounding off bends two and four to make it a more rounded circuit. Certainly the racing this year has been good, with riders starting to make the most of more space on the Foxhall track.

“I just want to entertain the fans – and of course win,” Louis added.

“I want to make Foxhall the best it can be, some of the racing on Saturday night, for instance, was really good.”

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