Witches win probe into Foxhall air fence

JOHN Louis has reacted with amazement to reports that it is the fault of the Ipswich Evening Star Witches' track staff that the Airtek fence has proved so ineffective this season.

JOHN Louis has reacted with amazement to reports that it is the fault of the Ipswich Evening Star Witches' track staff that the Airtek fence has proved so ineffective this season.

Two riders have ended up in hospital in the last two meetings at Foxhall Stadium after colliding with metal posts that hold up air bags that were made compulsory in the Sky Bet Elite League this year.

"The bottom line is that the design is incorrect," slammed promoter Louis, who was relieved to hear today that permission has been granted for Ipswich to resort back to their collapsible wooden fence for Monday's home match against Swindon.

"We have fitted the air fence exactly as told by the manufacturers and we have followed every instruction that has been given to us.


You may also want to watch:


"It is totally out of order to suggest that the fault lies with us. At the end of the day the application of an Airtek fence does not work at Foxhall Stadium."

Louis was replying to a stinging condemnation of the Ipswich club by Peter Patman, commercial director of Airtek and someone who visited Foxhall and designed the system.

Most Read

Patman said: "Despite having instructed track staff on two previous occasions on the correct deployment of the airbag system, I am dismayed by what was reported back to me after we sent representatives to Foxhall on June 3.

"This followed a referee's report after the match on May 27 against Belle Vue. Of the 36 modules only three were connected properly.

"None of the remaining modules had their joint/connecting strips connected, leaving the joint between the bags exposed.

"The 'D' strings and webbing connecting straps were so loosely joined as to render them ineffective in keeping the modules together in the event of impact.

"Some of the advertising panels were installed upside down and although modules were numbered they were fitted at random.

"If this deployment was made in a similar fashion on May 27 it would explain the behaviour of the system and why the modules parted so easily.

"On the last occasion that the system was installed correctly by a team of Airtek installers, it performed as it should, successfully restraining impacts with no cause of concern raised."

Speedway Control Bureau track safety officer Colin Meredith met with Ipswich officials at Coventry last night after the SCB studied reports criticising safety at Foxhall Stadium this year sent in by two referees, track doctor, clerk of the course and Ipswich management.

The Airtek panels are to go back to the manufacturers who have agreed to try to find a suitable solution to improving the efficiency of the fence at Foxhall.

"Air fences work well when placed in front of permanent barriers," added Louis. "We had our air fence system designed by Mr Patman and have gone along with everything he said.

"We have covers being made to cover the metal posts – but why should riders be put at risk with static posts anyway? They were removed from Foxhall years ago. Hopefully a modified system will stop the posts coming into play."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter