Tony: Time to be world champ again

IPSWICH could boast a world champion this year with Tony Rickardsson vowing to win speedway's top prize for a record-equalling sixth time.The 35-year-old Swede - who is owned by Ipswich Evening Star Witches - could not stop the Suffolk side winning a Sky Bet Elite League meeting 53-41 at a packed Foxhall Stadium yesterday.

IPSWICH could boast a world champion this year with Tony Rickardsson vowing to win speedway's top prize for a record-equalling sixth time.

The 35-year-old Swede - who is owned by Ipswich Evening Star Witches - could not stop the Suffolk side winning a Sky Bet Elite League meeting 53-41 at a packed Foxhall Stadium yesterday.

He was making his Arena-Essex debut as a temporary replacement for the injured Mark Loram.

After winning two heats from five starts and scoring 13 points, Rickardsson looked ahead to the Grand Prix series.

The rider, who figured highly in Ipswich's treble-winning 1998 campaign, said: “I finished third in the Grand Prix series in 2003 and second last year.

“Now it is time to be first again.”

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Rickardsson would love to win one more world championship after being pipped by Nicki Pedersen two years ago and Jason Crump last season.

He begins his crusade to make the number one position his own again at the end of next month, with eight other GP meetings taking place up to October.

“It will be a long season,” said Rickardsson. “And I jumped at the chance of riding for Arena-Essex after the unfortunate injury to Mark Loram.

“I have a contact with Arena until April 21 - and that is all I want as I will be concentrating my club speedway in Sweden and Poland.

“I plan to make the most of my time with Arena to get race fit and this presents me with a perfect opportunity to give my world title chances a big boost.

“Apart from a few spins on a heavy track in Poland I have had little racing this year, and I was rusty against Ipswich.

“I improved as the meeting went on, but am still finding my feet. It was hard work and tiring, but I will benefit from the experience.

“I did not know who my team mates were until I arrived at Foxhall Stadium.”

Rickardsson first rode for Ipswich in 1991, and in 1999 he moved to King's Lynn and was part of the Poole Elite League title-winning side in 2003.

Last year he was again loaned by Ipswich to Poole and rode until late April when his place was taken by Ryan Sullivan.

During his time with Ipswich in 1998 he was based on a farm owned by late Witches benefactor Tim Woodward at Old Newton.

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