For the first time in a long time – it has to be the Witches

Nico Covatti and Danny King embrace after a last-heat 5-1 for Ipswich last season. Will the pair be

Nico Covatti and Danny King embrace after a last-heat 5-1 for Ipswich last season. Will the pair be celebrating this year with the Witches? Photo: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

If you’re a speedway fan then you cannot wait for the league season to start.

Those long winter months are behind us and we are ready for bikes on shale, Here I take a look at the 2017 Championship - the second tier of the sport – and I can only see one winner... I’m not bias (well, not that much!).

My crystal ball maybe a tad cloudier than it was in the halcyon days of Louis, Sanders and Davey in the ‘70s at Foxhall when the Witches were THE team to beat. But even I know an outright favourite when I see one... and the favourite for this season’s Championship are... the Witches.

Why? Read on. You won’t agree. But boomsong! That’s speedway!

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Lewis Bridger, Liam Carr, Dimitri Berge, Claus Vissing, Kevin Doolan, Dany Gappmaier, Ryan Blacklock.

Good top man in Bridger and Doolan had a decent 2016. Vissing can be a bit hit and miss and although they will win enough at home, I don’t think they will do enough on the road... 9th (out of 10).

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EDINBURGH MONARCHS

Erik Riss, Ricky Wells, Mark Riss, Sam Masters, Max Clegg, Mitchell Davey, Josh Pickering.

Much depends on the Riss boys with this team. If they fire, so will the Monarchs. In Masters they have a solid No.1 and Wells will back him up well,. especially away from Armadale... 3rd.

GLASGOW TIGERS

Aaron Summers, Dan Bewley, Richard Lawson, Richie Worrall, Nike Lunna, Tom Perry, Jack Smith.

Strong top end, probably the strongest in the Championship and if teenager Bewley flies, then my predicted finishing place could be way off the mark and I’ll be eating humble haggis... 6th.

IPSWICH WITCHES

Danny King, Rory Schlein, Nico Covatti, Kyle Newman, Cameron Heeps, Connor Mountain, Danyon Hume.

If young reserves Mountain and Hume up their averages, then it is going to take some team to stop the Witches. I haven’t predicted them as champions since they dropped into the Premier League, so here goes... CHAMPIONS.

NEWCASTLE DIAMONDS

Robert Lambert, Connor Coles, Danny Phillips, Ashley Morris, Steve Worrall, Ludvig Lindgren, Lewis Rose.

I’m not sure about the Diamonds this year. Clearly have one of the best No.1’s in the league, but it’s a tail that could wag very well or wag very long. For that reason, too much unpredictably with the Toon... 5th.

PETERBOROUGH PANTHERS

Jack Holder, Bradley Wilson-Dean, Tom Bacon, Kenneth Hansen, Ulrich Ostergaard, Paul Starke, Simon Lambert.

Wow! Some big racers here to fly round the East of England Showground. Their home form was so patchy last season, can’t see it being as bad this year. Could be the dark horses and they’ll be up there... 4th.

REDCAR BEARS

Jason Garrity, Ben Barker, Jonas Andersen, Charles Wright, Tobias Busch, Richard Hall, Ellis Perks.

If you want entertainment, then South Tees Motorsports Park is likely to be the place to go this year. The most exciting team Redcar have put together for donkey’s years. However, away form will be a huge Achilles’ heel for them... 8th.

SCUNTHORPE SCORPIONS

Ryan Douglas, Josh Auty, Michael Palm-Toft, Carl Wilkinson, Lewis Kerr, Franz Wallner, Josh Bailey.

Same seven as last season that ended the year well for Scunny. But I’m not convinced. Lots of potential but no big No.1 and not a good record on their travels... 10th.

SHEFFIELD TIGERS

Josh Grajczonek, Kyle Howarth, Josh Bates, Lasse Bjerre, Robert Branford, Todd Kurtz, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn.

Big hopes for 2017 at Owlerton and why not? Grajczonek is a serious No.1 and if Bjerre ups his game then the Tigers will be tough to beat at home and have the know-how to pick points up on their travels... 2nd.

WORKINGTON COMETS

Craig Cook, Mason Campton, Ty Proctor, Thomas Jorgensen, Matt Williamson, Robert Shuttleworth, Adam Roynon.

Cook is sure to fly around Derwent Park but it’s away from home the Comets need to improve so much. And to that extent, I don’t see this team doing it... 7th.

SO HERE YOU GO

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

GO ON... GIVE ME BOTH BARRELS!!

1 Ipswich Witches

2 Sheffield Tigers

3 Edinburgh Monarchs

4 Peterborough Panthers

5 Newcastle Diamonds

6 Glasgow Tigers

7 Workington Comets

8 Redcar Bears

9 Berwick Bandits

10 Scunthorpe Scorpions

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