Witches to track hot-shot teenagers

IPSWICH Witches today announced their 2011 Premier League team - a line-up that includes three of the sport’s hot-shot teenagers.

The 2011 Witches team has an average of just 22 and is made up of two Australians, two Danes and three English riders, but no Polish riders, for the first time in many seasons.

“A team of racers, who will want to wear the Ipswich Witches bodycolour with pride,” is how director of speedway Chris Louis described his new-look team.

It is a new era for the Suffolk side with the responsibility of the No.1 race jacket given to popular Australian Kevin Doolan, the 30-year-old from Victoria moving across from Witches rivals King’s Lynn.

But it is likely to be the three teenagers, Danish World U-21 Team winner Lasse Bjerre (17), Australian, Taylor Poole (18) and Ipswich-born Jerran Hart (19) who are sure to get the pulses racing at Foxhall.

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The other three places in the team are taken by the popular Essex duo Chris Schramm and Chris Mills, while Danish star Morten Risager, a rider with a huge amount of Elite League experience, could prove a master signing.

There is little hiding Louis’ excitement as the club face a new challenge in the Premier League in 2011, after dropping out of the Elite League.

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He is confident his new-look side will not only gain success on the track, but also, most importantly, entertain the Foxhall faithful.

“I’m thrilled about the make-up of the team,” Louis said.

“It might look like we just have one main heat leader in Kevin Doolan, but anyone who knows their speedway knows what exciting talents Lasse Bjerre and Taylor Poole are.

“Put those two in with Morten Risager and Chris Schramm, and I wouldn’t like to say which of our top five will be heat leaders come the end of the season. There is improvement in all our team members.

“There are real racers throughout the team.

“I haven’t looked forward to the start of the season so much as I am looking forward to March.

“But we must not get carried away. All the riders have little experience of the Foxhall track and they will take a little while to adapt to it.

“But I do know all of them will wear the Witches body jacket with pride. And that’s very important to me.”

The start of the season can’t come quick enough in the Hart household, as Ipswich-born Jerran Hart becomes another in a long list of local Ipswich-born boys made good and turning out for their local side.

Hart is a Lakeside asset, but the Ipswich teenager, makes the switch from Scunthorpe in a move that is sure to please the Suffolk public who love having a local boy to support.

“We are really pleased to have Jerran on board,” Louis added.

“We perhaps missed the boat with him in the first instance, but he’s with us now and I’m very pleased to have him on board.”

Hart is one of three hot-shot teens in the Witches squad, with Lasse Bjerre, brother of Grand Prix star Kenneth and Taylor Poole, son of former Peterborough star Mick, the other two.

Bjerre in particular has been widely tipped as a future star, while Poole enjoyed an excellent season in 2010 with Stoke Potters. Like Hart, both are exciting riders.

The popular Chris Schramm notched double figures, guesting for Belle Vue in the Elite League at the end of the 2010 campaign, and was always odds-on to take one of the team places, while Chris Mills, like Schramm, is another Essex racer who has enjoyed plenty of success with King’s Lynn, as well as some decent performances with Lakeside in the Elite League.

It’s Morten Risager though who is likely to make most Foxhall fans sit up and take note.

The young Dane is vastly experienced and on his day is capable of mixing it with the best in the Elite League, let alone the Premier League. He won the Elite League title with Coventry in 2005 and 2007. Only 23, he has the potential to be a big scorer for the Witches, something Louis acknowledges.

“Morten can do a great job for us, I’m sure,” he said.

“He is someone I have always had a great deal of time for and I just feel with the right people around him and the confidence he will gain from winning races, he could be the Premier League’s biggest improver this season.

Season tickets go on sale this Saturday at Foxhall Stadium, from 10am-1pm, or download an application form from the official Ipswich Witches website.

A captain has yet to be agreed upon, with Louis saying that rider will be announced shortly.

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