Tommy gunning for speedway bosses

SPEEDWAY is a brilliant sport run by donkeys.So claims Tommy Nicholls, father of Ipswich Evening Star Witches ace Scott and chairman of the Speedway Riders' Association.

By Elvin King

SPEEDWAY is a brilliant sport run by donkeys.

So claims Tommy Nicholls, father of Ipswich Evening Star Witches ace Scott and chairman of the Speedway Riders' Association.

He claimed: "Most stadiums are a disgrace, most promoters are not straightforward and most tracks are below standard."

What has caused his outburst is the sports' refusal to allow Scott to break away from the world cup in Denmark and lead bottom-of-the-table Ipswich in an Elite League match at Peterborough last night.

"Scott paid more than £200 of his own money to buy an air ticket to fly back and ride, but the authorities would not release him," added Nicholls.

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Team Great Britain ride a second-chance race-off to try to get to Saturday's world cup final tonight.

"Scott could have got back to Denmark in plenty of time to take his place in the British side, but now he has lost the cost of his air fare and also a wage packet.

Nicholls is adamant that riders should sign a three-year contract with clubs so that riders have easier access to sponsorship money and he feels Ipswich should use more local talent, with youth training sessions during the school holidays.

"Speedway is a brilliant sport, but it is run by donkeys," he added. "Only a couple or so Elite League promoters look after their fans and their riders," he claimed.

"I am not having a go at anyone in particular, but from the start of this season it has appeared to me that the Witches have been aiming for the Premier League in 2004.

"Little incentive seem to have been given to the riders. Why should they ride their hearts out, if they don't feel secure.

"I believe Ipswich have paid out £20,000 on air fares this year for foreign riders. And those who need a work permit get a lodgings allowance of £250 a week plus a van.

"Scott has to pay his own air fares to come back to England and race. We have Mark Loram living in Stowmarket.

"How much would it cost in taxi fares to bring him to Foxhall compared to foreigners' air fares?"

Nicholls, who stressed that his opinions were his own, added: "The sport will go nowhere until it is run by an independent body, I think the whole thing is a disgrace."

A great supporter of the Ipswich Children's Hospice, Nicholls is running a grass-track meeting at Akenham on Saturday August 16 at 4.0pm when everybody connected with the hospice will be allowed in free. His son will be watching.

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