Shock for Ipswich Witches as star rider decides to sit out 2021
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Witches rider Jake Allen will not race in British speedway in 2021 due to the ongoing global pandemic.
The Australian was a key part of the 2019 Witches side and was named in the line-up for the 2020 season that never got started. The 25-year-old made the announcement that he would not be competing in Britain in 2021 on his Facebook page with the following statement.
To all involved in British Speedway.
As you may have read by now through club statements it is with deep regret that I have had to pull out of competing in British Speedway in 2021. Due to the current situation with regards to Covid-19, there can be no guarantees regarding the number of meetings that will take place and unfortunately this has cost me my place in British Speedway for 2021.
It is a simple case of not being in a position to afford to race professionally after the financial losses of 2020. As an Aussie I am unable to support myself financially in the UK as visa restrictions do not allow me to work other than race Speedway, and therefore if the season of 2021 is cancelled then I cannot guarantee that I would be in a position to return home. Plus, even if I managed to get home there is a compulsory quarantine at a cost of around $3500.
It is extremely disappointing that I will miss the 2021 season, I believe I have improved as a rider over the past few seasons and still believe that I have the ability to play a key role in British Speedway. I genuinely enjoy all aspects of being able to compete in British Speedway and I will be spending all my time throughout the remainder of this year to come back in 2022.
Please understand that having to take a year out of racing is not what any rider wants to do but I want everyone involved in British Speedway to understand that I am 100% committed to British racing when circumstances allow.
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I still have a long journey ahead in this sport and racing in the UK is a key aspect of this journey.
I want to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable season in 2021, and I will see everyone soon.
Promoter Chris Louis admitted it is a blow to lose Allen for the season but said he will be welcomed back to Foxhall in 2022. Louis also confirmed that team news for the upcoming season will be released soon.
“It was obviously a huge blow to hear the news that Jake wouldn’t be returning in 2021,” said Louis.
“Unfortunately for Jake he’s paying the price for his loyalty staying in the country last season in anticipation of a late start. We totally respect his decision to stay in Australia and rebuild in preparation for 2022 when there will be a Witches race suit hanging in the changing room for him. We will welcome him back with open arms and we are looking forward to seeing him again in 2022.
“Team news will be coming next week along with season ticket information, so look out for that.”
Meanwhile, Sheffield boss Simon Stead admits the club are “massively disappointed” to see their dream move for triple World Champion Nicki Pedersen scrapped.
Pedersen joined in November 2019 but with last season cancelled he never got to make his debut and must now miss out as his place in the Polish Ekstraliga with Grudziadz limits him to one other European league, which will be in his home nation Denmark.