Danny King column: Keep it going Connor! Michael Haertel shows his class and we all love a bouncy castle!
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Witches No.1 Danny King looks ahead to a busy few days for the Suffolk side
I must start my column this week by congratulating Connor Mountain on becoming runner-up in the British U21 final at Berwick on Tuesday night.
What a great effort that was from Connor, especially when you realise the winner was Robert Lambert, a Premiership No.1, and fourth was Dan Bewley who is absolutely flying for the Belle Vue Aces.
But I’m not surprised Connor did so well.
He has a nice riding style and is a fine rider. I know he has struggled at times around Ipswich but I hope realising what he is capable of on the national stage boosts him up a level.
I sometimes think he puts pressure on himself and there is no need to.
Last year he beat Josh Grajczonek at Sheffield and Sam Masters at Edinburgh. You don’t do that because you haven’t got something about you.
He was different class to many of us at Lakeside recently, where he got 10 points.
So, keep calm Connor, take the pressure off... And congratulations mate.
Hearing Connor came second in the British U21 final reminded me of my three attempts to win it.
I was one of the favourites on all three occasions, but never lifted the title.
Three times I reached the final but on two occasions – at Rye House and Eastbourne – I was excluded after what was no more than first bend bunching. Well, that’s what I thought!
The third time I came second after winning all my heats but making a mess of the start in the final and having to come from the back.
So, that title was never mine.
I suppose that has always irked me a bit, but then again after I won the British title a few years back, it doesn’t feel so bad!
Well, we certainly put Newcastle to be last week don’t you think?
That was much more like it from all the boys.
Some people have said to me they didn’t look very good, but we can only race what is in front of us and we did that well.
We’d spoken a bit before the meeting and just told ourselves to relax a bit more.
We knew we hadn’t made a good start to the season and were perhaps putting ourselves under undo pressure and worrying about it too much.
Of course we want to win. It was time to just reset and start again. And we did that.
Isn’t Michael Haertel doing well?
Our new German Witch is a great lad and getting on really well with the rest of the team.
It’s hard for a new rider to come to a different country and just take to it straightaway. But Michael has done well.
Did you see his fine ride against Newcastle last week where he cut back on both Diamonds riders and flew past them down the back straight?
Sadly, I didn’t, as I was in the race. But I got told of it on my return to the pits. Great stuff Michael, keep it going.
Another who did well for us last week was Lewis Kerr.
We all like Lewis at Ipswich and it was such a shame things didn’t work out for him a couple of seasons ago when he was here. He was coming back from a big crash back then and we never saw the best of him. But we did last week. Thanks Lewis for a great performance.
It’s Lakeside tomorrow night at Foxhall in the first round of the knock-out cup, with the return at Lakeside on Friday.
The Hammers have already doubled us and our cause hasn’t been helped by the fact Nico Covatti’s new average for May puts him No.4 in the riding averages.
So, Cameron Heeps, Michael Haertel and our two reserves Connor Mountain and Danyon Hume will have extra rides to cover for him.
It’s going to be tough, but I’m determined for revenge and I know the rest of the boys are.
If we can do what we did last week against Newcastle and hit them hard from the start, then who knows.
Certainly back at Lakeside we can have no excuses.
We rode there only two weeks ago, so we know what to expect. None of us can complain about how tricky the track is... we know that!
On Sunday, we race our second league meeting of the season, with a return to Newcastle.
I used to ride at Newcastle and they were a club who gave me my first chance back in the second tier after Birmingham packed up some years ago.
So, I’m always grateful to the Diamonds for helping me out back then.
But I can’t have any sentiment on Sunday... We need the points.
Finally, happy birthday to my youngest Casey, who is two on Monday. We are having a party at my house on Saturday, bouncy castle and all.
Ritchie Hawkins and his lovely wife Anna are coming, bringing little Stanley over.
Really lovely boy is Stanley, takes after his mum.
Speak soon and see you tomorrow at Foxhall!
AS TOLD TO MIKE BACON