Ipswich Witches complete their 2022 line-up as former GP star returns
- Credit: Taylor Lanning
Ipswich Witches have completed their 2022 line-up, with Aussie Troy Batchelor and German Erik Riss, the two riders to make up the septet.
The pair join Jason Doyle, Danny King, Cameron Heeps, Paul Starke and Anders Rowe to make up a side that will hope to bring silverware back to Foxhall for the first time in a long time.
Batchelor, 34, a former Grand Prix rider, had a spell at the club in 2009 and admitted being based closer to home and linking up again with Doyle, were two big pulling factors in joining Ipswich.
“Being close to home is nice and to be paired up with Jason (Doyle) again will be nice and I pretty much know everyone in the team," he said.
"It’ll be a good team and we will be able to achieve something together. I rode for Ipswich back in 2009 so I have been a Witch before so I’m coming back again, I guess!”
Batchelor formed a formidable partnership with Doyle as Swindon won the Premiership title in 2019 and is hoping for another successful year with the Witches in 2022.
“We don’t promise to win before the season starts but we will do our best," Batchelor continued.
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"It would be nice to repeat that, but we will see how things go as we have got a few months before the season starts. It’s not about just having a good team line-up that wins, you have got to have a bit of luck and get on a winning roll. It is looking good, but we will see how things go.”
Meanwhile Riss admits his love of the Foxhall circuit was a key reason he wanted to come to Ipswich.
Riss is the son of Gerd Riss, who had a spell with the Witches back in 1988. Erik has spent the last few seasons with East Anglian rivals King’s Lynn but has made the move across the border in search of a new challenge in Suffolk.
“At the end of the season both myself and King's Lynn, where I'm an asset, agreed it would be good for me to go elsewhere and have a new challenge," he said.
"I had other offers, but Ipswich was my first choice as I really like the track and have always scored well there. It will be important for me to ride a track I enjoy as when I enjoy my riding I do well.”
The German rider has had many fruitful visits to Foxhall as a visiting rider and is eager to come back stronger after a difficult 2021.
“Every time I have been to Ipswich as a visiting rider, I don’t think I have ever scored any lower than eight," he said.
"I have always done well there and enjoy riding it, it is always well prepared, and it is a nice racetrack."
The 26-year-old is solely focused on winning races next year and does not mind what position he is riding at in the team.
“I do have goals; everyone would like to be number one in the team but personally I just go into every meeting wanting to win every time I go on track," he said.
"I focus on that and what’s in front of me and don’t think about being number one, although that is always in the back of my mind, I want to be the best that I can.
Currently back in his homeland for the winter, Riss is beginning to start training again after an operation.
“I had surgery three weeks ago on my groin as I had a problem there, so I am still recovering from that but am slowly taking up training again," Riss added. "I will spend my winter in Germany, I might be working a bit for my dad who has a carpentry business, so I will probably help him out."
Ipswich Witches 2022: Jason Doyle, Cameron Heeps, Erik Riss, Troy Batchelor, Danny King, Paul Starke, Anders Rowe.