Hold onto your hats, Gino Manzares is coming to Foxhall and the new Witches American star is looking forward to entertaining you, including smiles, wheelies and fist pumps.
Californian speedway star Gino Manzares is an exciting capture for Ipswich Witches in 2014.
It will be the young American’s first full year in Britain and he can’t wait to get going. MIKE BACON caught up with him
I remember Dennis Sigalos and John Cook, Siggy still remains my favourite-ever Witch.
And I’m sure I’m not alone remembering the two brilliant American riders who graced the Witches in the ‘80s.
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But it’s been a long time since the Foxhall side have had an American in Witches colours. However, that is all about to change.
Gino Manzares, 20, who rode in the Star of Anglia at Foxhall last May, impressed Witches’ promoter Chris Louis so much, he had his sights set on bringing him to Foxhall from that moment on.
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Gino couldn’t say ‘yes’ to the Witches quick enough and next month he flies into England hoping to give Witches fans the ride of their life.
I caught up with Gino to fire him a few questions – he’s as keen as mustard I’ll warn you!
Hold onto your hats!
1: On a scale of 1-10 how excited are you at the prospect of riding for the Ipswich Witches?
GINO: It’s a 10/10 because I’m so stoked to be given my first chance in the UK with such a well-respected club.
2: What have you heard about the Witches and the Foxhall track?
GINO: I’ve heard Ipswich have great fans, with a great management in place and the track is quite fun too in my opinion. I have of course already ridden it and felt I did okay bearing in mind I wasn’t on my own bike.
3: Did you have other clubs interested in your signature and if so why did you choose Ipswich?
GINO: Yes a few clubs were interested, but I’ve really wanted to race for Ipswich after my first night there at the Star of Anglia. I felt like I could adapt quick and I really like how cool Chris Louis is!!
4: Suffolk has long been close to America with American air bases in the county. Did this help with your decision to come to Ipswich?
GINO: Yes, I did know about the history with Ipswich and Suffolk with American speedway legends like Dennis Sigalos and John Cook who used to ride there. I thought that might be a good sign.
5: What should Witches fans expect from you in 2014?
GINO: Expect me to race hard every single race with pride, I’m honoured to be given a chance to ride for the Witches and I won’t let you guys down! Plus, I bring smiles, wheelies and fist pumps!
6: You spent some time in Australia at the end of 2013 and you had some good meetings. Tell us about the experience.
GINO: I was in Australia for two weeks at the end of last year. The first day of practice for the Rob Woffinden Classic I put in some quick laps and the nerves kicked in a little bit the next morning because I felt deep down that I could win it. I went in there thinking positive and it ended up being a great night! I finished one and two with Rohan Tungate, my new Ipswich team-mate, and that felt pretty awesome!
7: Dennis Sigalos and John Cook were both Americans who rode for the Witches in the early 1980s. They were top riders. I imagine you would like to achieve what they did? Have you heard much about them?
GINO: Siggy and Cookie were both great racers and great showman, yes I’ve heard of them. But I plan on going above and beyond what they reached. I’m confident I have what it takes. I really want to follow in the footsteps of Greg Hancock.
8: Do you think American speedway is on the rise again after a few quiet years?
GINO: American speedway is on a road back to the top and Billy Hamill is the man to thank. His dedication to youth speedway is awesome. I started with Billy in 2004 and he’s never stopped helping. I can’t thank him enough for everything.
9: Many of the tracks in the US are small, how do you think you will cope with the likes of Workington, Peterborough and Sheffield, all big, very fast circuits?
GINO: I’m in love with big tracks! I can’t wait, I’m excited. Small tracks are easy – big tracks is where the fun’s at. The biggest track I’ve raced was the 1000m track in Pomona in California.
10: How would you describe yourself?
GINO: I have a big heart with bigger dreams, I’m loyal, honest and I’ll never quit. And I’ll always have a great attitude and always grinning.