Tacey blow for Witches
IPSWICH Witches promoter John Louis was today left stunned by the news that Shaun Tacey is to stay with Arena-Essex for the 2002 speedway season.Louis had banked on 27-year-old Tacey joining fellow Ipswich-based rider Leigh Lanham in the reserve positions at Foxhall Stadium.
By Elvin King
IPSWICH Witches promoter John Louis was today left stunned by the news that Shaun Tacey is to stay with Arena-Essex for the 2002 speedway season.
Louis had banked on 27-year-old Tacey joining fellow Ipswich-based rider Leigh Lanham in the reserve positions at Foxhall Stadium.
Tacey, who is owned by Coventry, would have come into the Witches side with a 3.60 average and he said today:
"I would have increased that by at least two points. Without being big headed I can't see where Ipswich will go from here to get a similar rider."
Tacey rode for Arena last season in the Premier League and has been offered a good deal to stay – including being handed the captaincy.
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"This was the hardest decision I have had to make in my life," added Tacey. "I received two offers that were out of this world.
"I felt gutted talking to John Louis last night and he really sounded down. Being made captain at Arena and the likelihood of getting less guest bookings because of the new floater rules played a part in my decision.
"I also help the juniors after Arena meetings and this is something I enjoy. A partnership with Leigh Lanham at Ipswich in the reserve berths would have seen us average ten points a meeting between us. I am sure of that. But it is not to be."
There is no doubt that Tacey's earning power is higher in the Premier League because his heat leader status will guarantee more rides and more points money.
Louis, who is set to bring in the Isle of Wight's Danny Bird as the other floater to share fixtures with Lanham, said today:
"Shaun had a golden opportunity to resurrect his career. I was 27 before I started riding and Shaun is at the age where he can still make a big impact.
"We would have got an experienced rider who still had room for improvement. I am ever so disappointed, as Shaun had indicated all along that he would be signing for us. It is back to the drawing board."
Ipswich have signed Chris Louis, Scott Nicholls, Craig Boyce and Jeremy Doncaster while Louis will be confirming the Lanham deal shortly after Christmas. This leaves two places still to fill.
"We now have to start again on our plans for our last two riders," added Louis.