Ipswich Witches on top! But Lawson not surprised...'Not reaching play-offs would be a nightmare'
PUBLISHED: 17:00 23 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:04 23 May 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Witches star Richard Lawson says he is not surprised the Suffolk side have made the start they have to the current speedway season.
The 33-year-old from Whitehaven has been in solid form for the Foxhall Heath side, who sit top of the early season Premiership.
Riding at No.2, he has more than often got the Witches off to a good start in heat one and - although he knows it is early days - he sees no reason why the Suffolk side should not be pushing for a play-off final place come September.
Indeed he described the thought of not making the play-offs after the start the team have made as 'a nightmare'.
"Some people will be surprised we are top, but I'm not," he said.
"We have no out and out No.1 but we are a very solid 1-7.
"I suppose the only thing that has surprised me a bit is the way the reserves Cameron Heeps and Jake Allen have gone.
"They have been brilliant."
The Witches are unbeaten at home in their four Premiership meetings to date and have won on the road at Peterborough. In all they have ridden every other team either in the league or Supporters' Cup and beaten them all.
"Being unbeaten at home so far is good for us and we have now had a bit of success on the road," Lawson added.
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"We have targarted the play-offs from the start of the season to be honest. And now we are where we are after this start it would be a bit of a nightmare if we didn't make it.
"The team we have is well balanced and even if the team were to change riding order because of averages, we would still have strong reserves whoever was there."
Lawson never rated Foxhall as one of his favourite circuits, but has grown to like it in recent years. He cites his move to Lakeside a few seasons back as a turning point.
"I used to only ride northern tracks a lot and only came to Ipswich once a season," he said.
"The northern tracks are often bigger but when I moved to Lakeside, which as everyone knows is small, I had to adapt. I also seemed to see more of Foxhall then too, so I grew to like it."
The Witches are next in action at the National Speedway Centre, Belle Vue on Monday, June 3, before Peterborough come to visit Foxhall on June 6.
It was just under three years ago the Witches were bottom of the Championship having picked up just six points from their opening nine Championship meetings in 2016.
It was a sorry time for boss Ritchie Hawkins and his side.
I remember penning a back page for the Ipswich Star after they were thrashed at Berwick 33-60 in June that year as they sunk to the bottom of the table, calling the team a 'total let down'.
But with the signing of Ben Barker a few weeks later, things improved rapidly and the last two seasons have also been competitive for the Foxhall side. Crowds are up.
Team boss, Hawkins has been instrumental in pin-pointing riders and helping take the side from the bottom of the Championship to the top of the Premiership in that time.
Ipswich Witches are flying high in the speedway world again.