Witches to share ace Leigh with Hammers
SPEEDWAY: Confirmation that Ipswich-based rider Leigh Lanham will be returning to the Witches speedway team in 2002 was received today.The 24-year-old will share his duties in a reserve berth at Foxhall Stadium with a heat leader position with Premier League Arena-Essex.
By Elvin King
CONFIRMATION that Ipswich-based rider Leigh Lanham will be returning to the Witches speedway team in 2002 was received today.
The 24-year-old will share his duties in a reserve berth at Foxhall Stadium with a heat leader position with Premier League Arena-Essex.
Negotiations have been ongoing for some time but could not be completed until clarification was obtained concerning a new rule that allows riders to 'float' between both the Sky Sports Elite League and the Premier League.
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Witches asset Lanham, and another rider yet to be named, will share the duties in one of Ipswich's reserve berths in 2002.
Lanham's riding commitments for Arena Essex will take priority should there be a clash of dates.
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Lanham is a huge favourite with the Hammers' fans and was voted 2001 Rider of the Year.
He was also the rider most wanted by Ipswich fans in an October poll conducted by the Evening Star to improve the bottom end of a side that suffered badly in that department last season.
Lanham has made a remarkable comeback from a badly broken thigh sustained in the first home meeting of the 2000 season that kept him out of action for all that year.
He is delighted to be returning to Ipswich while at the same time pleased to have the safeguard of Premier League place for one more year.
"The new ruling enables me to get the best of both worlds," he said, "and I'm very pleased that everything's now sorted out.
"I've always wanted to ride for my home town club Ipswich in the Elite League but I wanted to remain at Arena in 2002 as I, and they, still have a lot to achieve in the Premier League."
Lanham joins last year's Arena skipper Colin White as a confirmed starter in the Hammers line-up. Shaun Tacey is having talks with Ipswich and could well be Lanham's reserve partner at Foxhall.