WATCH! As Ipswich Witches get back into action. How press day unfolded
- Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.com
Ipswich Witches returned to track action this afternoon, with a behind-closed-doors practice session.
It was also a chance for the 2021 Witches to meet the Press, coming quickly as it has with the news Nikolai Klindt will not be riding for the Suffolk side this season because of travel issues - Jake Allen takes his place.
Australian, Allen wasn't in attendance at Foxhall for the press day, as he was getting his visa sorted, but there were still six Witches on show.
After meeting the Press, the team enjoyed several laps of the Foxhall circuit on an overcast, but dry day.
Leading the Witches this season is three-time world champion, Jason Crump.
Crump was set to make his return to speedway and debut for the Witches in 2020, but because of the pandemic has had to put it on hold for 12 months. But he's raring to go now.
"It's been a while coming, but it's great to be here," he said.
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"I'm looking forward to racing for the Witches. I know there have been a couple of team changes already and it's going to be an interesting year.
But I believe we are in probably a better situation than some clubs because we will have our 1-7 here all summer now. That's a positive."
And any nerves ahead of next week's openers?
"Absolutely, I'm positive of that. But that's not a bad thing," the multi-world champion added.
Meanwhile, fellow Aussie Cameron Heeps says it will be great learning from the master, with Crump in his side of the pits this year.
"It's exciting times now and looking forward to it, think it could be a good year," he said.
"I was a bit gutted coming of 2019 when I had such a good year, I was looking forward to 2020. But that's gone now, so onto this year."
"It's awesome to have Jason with us. I can't wait to pick his brains and annoy the hell out of him. He's been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I hope to get those t-shirts."
It was October 15, 2019, speedway bikes last roared around Foxhall Stadium in a competitive Witches fixture.
That was the first leg of the Premiership final play-off between the Witches and Swindon Robins, which the Robins won on aggregate.
This season the Premiership has just six teams - King's Lynn, Peterborough, Sheffield, Wolverhampton, Belle Vue and Ipswich.
“Now it is all happening," said Witches skipper Danny King.
"I’ve been on the bikes four times already and I’m feeling great, I can’t wait to get going. I think the saying ‘like riding a bike’ is very true. I was a bit nervous as I hadn’t been on a bike for a long time but once you pull your helmet on and get out on track you just go for it."
Ipswich youngster Drew Kemp can't wait to get racing for his home town club. The British Under-19 champion is the Witches 'rising star' in a new programme being put forward by British Speedway - and both he and fellow young reserve Anders Rowe, looked good in practice at Foxhall.
"Last time I rode for Ipswich was 2018," Kemp said. "So I'm really looking forward to it.
"I think its good for the Ipswich crowd to have an Ipswich rider in the team. There's been quite a history of Ipswich riders doing well for the club and doing well for themselves in their career, so if I can do that hopefully I'll have a great season."
The Witches begin their 2021 Premiership season at King's Lynn on Monday night, before the big opening night at Foxhall on Thursday sees Belle Vue in town.
Tickets for the Belle Vue clash and all the Witches fixtures at Foxhall this season can be booked online here