Top two named for 2003

SCOTT Nicholls and Jarek Hampel are to spearhead the Ipswich Evening Star Witches speedway side again next year.And skipper Chris Louis could ride as a second string.

By Elvin King

SCOTT Nicholls and Jarek Hampel are to spearhead the Ipswich Evening Star Witches speedway side again next year.

And skipper Chris Louis could ride as a second string. This would leave space for another star like Tomasz Gollob or perhaps Greg Hancock to move in as heat leader.

Whatever happens it certainly looks as though the Witches, after a disappointing 2002 campaign, will be much stronger next term.

Ipswich promoter John Louis announced that both Nicholls and Hampel had agreed terms during last night's Supporters Club dinner/dance at the Holiday Inn hotel.

Nicholls was voted rider of the season, collecting 83% of the votes. Hampel won the Mr Entertainer award, while Chris Slabon won the trophy for the most improved rider.

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Nicholls, who left at 10.00pm after receiving his award to drive through the night for a Polish League play-off match tomorrow, and Hampel are two young riders who are well liked by the fans.

And 20-year-old Kim Jansson is another crowd pleaser. After his exploits at Foxhall Stadium last Thursday he has re-christened himself Kim-ikaze. The Swede expressed his wish last night to return to Ipswich next year.

Louis junior, who has suffered two debilitating injuries over the last two seasons, plans to ride again next year and his adjusted average is likely to be 6.53 – giving enough scope for another top man to come in – regulations permitting – to join Nicholls and Hampel as heat leaders.

"Both Scott and Jarek have done very well this season - and we are pleased to have them buttoned up again for next year," said John Louis.

Peterborough beat King's Lynn easily enough at the East of England showground last night.

For Ipswich to reach the final of the Craven Shield Lynn must now stop the Panthers winning when they visit the Norfolk Arena next Wednesday.

Last night's results

Craven Shield: Oxford 46 (Leigh Adams 12) Poole 44 (Henka Gustafsson 11+1), Peterborough 57 (Sam Tesar 14+1) King's Lynn 33 (Nicki Pedersen 14)

Premier League: Arena-Essex 44 (Leigh Lanham 12) Stoke 46 (Robbie Kessler 13+1, Alan Mogridge 13), Edinburgh 51 (Frede Schott 14+1) Sheffield 39 (Simon Stead 12), Somerset 44 (Mario Jirout 12) Rye House 46 (Brent Werner 16+1)

Today's fixtures

7.30pm unless stated:

Elite League KO Cup Final, first leg: Eastbourne v Peterborough (7.30pm).

Premier League: Berwick v Sheffield, Stoke v Reading (7.30pm), Rye House v Newport, Workington v Glasgow, Edinburgh v Exeter.

Conference League: King's Lynn v Newcastle.

Tomorrow's fixtures

Premier League: Glasgow v Berwick (3pm), followed by Glasgow v Edinburgh, Newport v Trelawny (2.30pm) followed by Newport v King's Lynn, Reading v Swindon (4pm), Stoke v Newcastle (7pm).

Conference League: Buxton v Peterborough (3pm).

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