Ipswich Witches get back on track in the Foxhall sunshine

Ipswich Witches 2022: From the left, team manager Ritchie Hawkins, Troy Batchelor, Jason Doyle, capt

Ipswich Witches 2022: From the left, team manager Ritchie Hawkins, Troy Batchelor, Jason Doyle, captain Danny King, Anders Rowe, Erik Riss, promoter Chris Louis. Kneeling, Cameron Helps and Danyon Hume. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Witches took to the track for the first time in 2022 today at the club's press and practice day.

In beautiful sunshine, the team met the press before going through their paces on the Foxhall circuit.

And there was a confidence in the air, as there so often is at this time of the year, with former world champion Jason Doyle in attendance and leading the side.

Doyle will be taking over the No.1 race jacket this season, the 2017 world No.1 a huge addition to the Ipswich side.

"It's been a few years in the making, joining Ipswich," he said.

"I've had a few conversations with Chris Louis over the years about joining the club and now it's happening, so I'm looking forward to it."

Doyle admits he is glad to be back in British Speedway after missing out in 2021.

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"Yes, it's nice to be back in British Speedway and with a new club, so I'm looking forward to it. 

Jason Doyle in action at the Witches press and practice day.

Jason Doyle in action at the Witches press and practice day. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

"I missed Britain, I've been doing it for so many years, it's like second nature to me and I like to ride two or three times a week.

"Hopefully I can do my job at Ipswich, they are a good bunch of guys and would be nice to get some silverware if we can.

"I've had some good meetings around Foxhall and I'm looking forward to that. It's a very professional club, as you can see by today's press day."

While Doyle leads the team in 2022, one of the other new Witches is Doyle's fellow Australian, Troy Batchelor.

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Ipswich Witches skipper Danny King, left and new signing Erik Riss at the Witches press and practice day. - Credit: Archant

Batchelor and Doyle used to ride together at Swindon, both bringing the very best out of each other.

Batchelor didn't enjoy a very good 2021, but he's raring to go now for the Witches this year.

"The team looks good and is shaping up to be a good year," he said.

"It's nice to be linking up with Jason again. He's a great rider and we have healthy competition between each other, so hopefully we will spur each other on.

"I like Ipswich, I find it a good gating track and that's something I'm good at, so again, hope that all plays well for me."

The Witches season begins on March 31, when they entertain King's Lynn in a League Cup clash.

They will want to get off to a good start.

Ready for the off: Troy Batchelor at the Witches press day.

Ready for the off: Troy Batchelor at the Witches press day. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Team boss Ritchie Hawkins is looking forward to the summer ahead.

"Overall, I think we have improved the most on last year with the amount of changes we have made," Hawkins said of the Witches septet.

"I'm excited. We have seven riders who I'm happy to be working with and who I know will be putting everything into Ipswich.

"We certainly have a team capable of challenging, but until you start racing you don't know how everyone is going."

Paul Starke was missing from practice, as he has Covid.
 

Cameron Heeps in Action at the Witches press day

Cameron Heeps in Action at the Witches press day - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com