‘Fans are backing Witches move’ - Simmons

SPEEDWAY: Team manager Pete Simmons has welcomed 2011 saying that it will bring a new era to Ipswich Witches.

He is happy with the reaction of supporters to a move down from the Elite League to the Premier League.

“Our fans who were totally against a move away from the Elite League have since done a U-turn and are now applauding the decision,” said Simmons.

“What we will now have is regular racing and no interference from the Grand Prix series, and it is this continuity that will help restore the Witches to a club that we want to see.”

And Simmons sees the drop down as an ideal route to making the Witches successful again.

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“Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards,” he added.

“When John Louis took over in 1989 he took to the club down for two years to re-group and find itself again.

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“It is a fitting move to do the same again with his son Chris Louis taking over the helm.

“I’m not saying that we’re going into the Premier League with a short term plan and with what is going on this winter we look to have made the best move by far.

Simmons has had to do most of his work in the lower half of the top flight since taking over from Mike Smillie, and Ipswich finished bottom of the table in 2010 with as many home defeats as victories and no success on the road at all.

“We have riders who will be new to Foxhall so it is important that we have two good days practicing,” added Simmons.

“And then it will be our riders who have Elite League experience who need to take the lead and help get us off to a good start.

“The aim will be to remain unbeaten at home and with all clubs starting on level terms we know the importance of seeing off all comers at Foxhall.

“Our young side will prove to be an exciting team to watch – I’m sure about that and the potential is there to have a good year.

“If we can stay injury free we feel we have a great chance of doing well, and we’re already looking forward for the tapes to go up.”

Louis senior took over from Chris Shears bringing Dave Pavitt and Mike Western with him from Hackney as co-promoters and they enjoyed two years in the National League losing out narrowly to Poole both years for the title.

Ipswich then took on Tony Rickardsson and with Chris Louis maturing into an international class rider gradually built a side that also included Tomasz Gollob and Scott Nicholls to win a remarkable top flight treble in 1998.

Crowds held up remarkably well over the last few years when success has eluded the club, but fans started voting with their feet towards the end of last season and when a vacancy occurred thanks to Birmingham’s willingness to move up, Ipswich took the opportunity to drop down to the Premier League with open arms.

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