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Kings of Anglia Issue 9 Magazine Offer

Chris Louis on Witches sale: ‘But I haven’t sold the soul of the club’

PUBLISHED: 19:56 14 November 2018 | UPDATED: 20:02 14 November 2018

Still Witches promoter, Chris Louis

Still Witches promoter, Chris Louis

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Ipswich Witches promoter Chris Louis has said that although he has sold the club, fans will notice little change to their speedway nights at Foxhall.

Chris Louis and team boss Ritchie Hawkins Photo STEVE WALLERChris Louis and team boss Ritchie Hawkins Photo STEVE WALLER

It was announced this afternoon in a shock move, that BSPA Chairman and King’s Lynn owner Keith ‘Buster’ Chapman had agreed to buy Ipswich Speedway from Louis, with the Witches also moving up to the Premiership in 2019.

While most Witches fans will be happy their club is back in the top level of the sport, with a potentially bigger fixture picture than in 2018, as well as live television coverage, the selling of the club was of concern.

But Louis, who remains the promoter, says fans should not worry, and he is already looking forward – and planning a team – for 2019.

“I’ll still be there running the club,” Louis said.

Buster ChapmanBuster Chapman

“It’s different, yes. There is change in so much as I don’t own the club anymore.

“But I haven’t sold the soul of the club and I’m desperate for us to be successful. Fans needn’t worry.

“They will notice no difference to the way it has always been in recent seasons apart from the fact we are now in the Premiership, which is great news.

“I have known Keith and Cheryl Chapman for 25 years and my family and I are delighted to be entering into this commercial arrangement with them.

“The fact Keith also owns King’s Lynn only makes it doubly more important we put them to the sword when we ride each other. I can assure you nothing has changed in my desire for us to be the top dogs of East Anglia again.

“At least we have are ‘Old Farm’ derbies back.”

The Witches dropped into the second tier of British Speedway in 2011 and while they won the Fours that year, silverware has been elusive since.

Last season they didn’t even make the play-offs in a year that finished early and left many Witches fans disgruntled.

However, with a likely almost new team and top-flight racing, those same fans could well be tempted back onside.

“Ritchie Hawkins is staying on as team manager, which is hugely important,” Louis added.

“He has always had his heart and soul in it and that is the reason I wanted him to remain in that position.

“We are already looking at team selection. There are maybe a few from this year’s team that stay. But obviously it’s going to be a stronger team as we are in the Premiership now.

“I must admit I’m really looking forward to the new season. I will be striving to put out a very competitive team.”

Chapman admitted he is excited to be working with Louis as the Suffolk side make the move back to the top division after eight seasons in the Championship.

“Chris and Julie share our passion for British Speedway and we are delighted to commercially support this great club as it transitions back to the Premiership. Chris and his team will still be running the club. We are very excited for all connected with this great club that has been running for 68 years.”

The Premiership will consist of seven teams in 2019, Belle Vue, Poole, Wolverhampton, Ipswich, Peterborough, King’s Lynn and Swindon.

Each team will ride each other home and away twice, followed by the play-offs for the top four.

BT Sport will continue to show the Premiership in 2019.

Police have been called to three overnight ram raids at shops in Ipswich, Combs Ford and Brantham.

A shop assistant who witnessed a row between members of two rival groups in an Ipswich town centre store a few hours before 17-year-old Tavis Spencer-Aitkens was stabbed to death has described her shock at the incident.

Shoppers flooded into Tower Ramparts shopping centre when it first flung open its doors more than 30 years ago.

Ipswich Hospital patients were treated to a visit from the stars of Ipswich Town as they made their annual trip to give out presents on the wards.

A spate of burglaries in Ipswich has left Suffolk police urging residents to be vigilant and secure with their homes and property as the evenings draw in.

Gritters are out on Suffolk’s vital roads tonight and tomorrow morning ahead of dropping temperatures and a risk of icy conditions.

A police officer intervened in a row between members of two rival groups in Ipswich town centre a few hours before 17-year-old Tavis Spencer-Aitkens was stabbed to death, it has been alleged.

Jewellery and cash were snatched from a home as burglars smashed their way into a property.

Police are appealing for information in the hunt for a missing teenager from Colchester.

Liz Nice went to Gorleston Pavilion Theatre to see Sleeping Beauty and discovered the answer

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