Cook in for Comets and as Ritchie hopes to shine

RETAINED fire-fighter Ritchie Hawkins takes his place in the Ipswich ‘Sackers’ Witches side tonight admitting a break from speedway has done him good.

RETAINED fire-fighter Ritchie Hawkins takes his place in the Ipswich ‘Sackers’ Witches side tonight admitting a break from speedway has done him good.

The 29-year-old Peterborough-based racer has been brought into the Witches team as a replacement for the out-of-form Jari Makinen.

It’s a short-term deal, something Hawkins is quite happy about.

“It will be nice to be back at Ipswich, I like the club and the fans,” he said.


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“It’s a short-term deal, but that’s mainly my wish. I’m a retained fire-fighter in Peterborough and I’m studying to become a full one.

“I’ve got two years studying still to do, so I’ll see how the speedway goes.

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“In saying that I feel good. I’ve enjoyed a bit of a break away from the sport and I’m feeling positive.”

Hawkins has been snapped up by the Witches after Makinen’s personal problems and lack of form meant it left Chris Louis with little choice but to make a change.

And he got to Hawkins just in time.

“It’s funny, I’d had a couple of offers but wasn’t really interested. But Ipswich came along and I thought, yes I’ll do it.

“Next day, I had another club contact me to join them. But I’m glad it’s Ipswich I’m going to be with.”

Hawkins is a bubbly character and is well-known and popular with Witches fans.

His input tonight and for the return leg in Cumbria on Saturday is likely to be crucial as the Witches face a massive test to get through to the next round of the KO Cup.

The Witches will be without Ben Barker tonight, who is riding in the British semi-final at Sheffield.

However the Witches couldn’t have got any better replacement than Jason Doyle – the Somerset No.1 – who, along with Barker, is one of the Premier League’s top riders.

And Doyle will need to be at his best against a Workington side that have made a good start to the season.

Nothing less than victory and a good one at that will put the Witches in with a shout in the second leg in Cumbria at the weekend.

Former Witch Chris Mills won’t be returning to Foxhall however. The Comets’ reserve sustained a wrist injury in a post-match practice session last weekend.

And Richie Lawson was also injured racing for Lakeside last night - Craig Cook takes his place at No.1

Tonight’s teams

Ipswich: J Doyle, R Hawkins, R Tungate, M Risager, L Lanham, A Ellis, C Heeps.

Workington: C Cook, T Aarnio, R Harrison, K Howarth, R Bach, A Morris, S Nielsen.

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