Witches boss Ritchie Hawkins looking to retain the Foxhall feel-good factor

The 2018 Ipswich Witches pictured at a Studio Shoot, held at Ipswich Sports Club on 14-March-2018.

The 2018 Ipswich Witches pictured at a Studio Shoot, held at Ipswich Sports Club on 14-March-2018. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Stephen Waller

Ipswich Witches team boss Ritchie Hawkins is looking forward to the new season and hopes the Foxhall feel-good factor from last year remains.

Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins pictured during the Sheffield v Ipswich play-off final fist leg

Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins pictured during the Sheffield v Ipswich play-off final fist leg. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

The Suffolk side begin their 2018 campaign at home to Lakeside Hammers tomorrow afternoon (2.15pm), in a Championship Shield clash, before travelling to Essex for the return leg tomorrow night (8pm).

It’s a hectic double header start and in a group of just three clubs, Peterborough being the other, the Witches will want to hit the ground running.

Hawkins is hoping the fans will again come out in their numbers as they did last year, to help give his side just the start they will be looking for.

“I’m hoping the crowd will be brilliant on Good Friday and coming off the back of big crowds last year and the atmosphere around the club, everyone seems to be excited about the team,” Hawkins said.


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“It helps having good support, as the boys love riding in front of the massive crowds. The fans can really play their part. It was a big feel-good factor last year at Foxhall Stadium, even though we didn’t win any silverware – we are all looking forward to this season.

“We need to make a good start and get through our Shield group.

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“With there only being three teams and four meetings, you can’t afford any mistakes.”

MORE: Here Danny King, Rory Schlein, Cam Heeps, Michael Haertel, Danyon Hume and Chris Louis on The Speedway Podcast

It’s a later start than usual to the speedway season at Foxhall and Lakeside already have one Shield clash under their belts, after they lost 46-44 at Peterborough on Sunday.

Indeed, with a new look Foxhall circuit, it has been frustrating for riders and management that the weather has meant the Witches have had no practice on the Heath.

“They boys have struggled a bit to get out on track ahead of Friday but most of them have been out at Scunthorpe to practice the other day and have been on track this week,” Hawkins said.

“Half the boys will have hopefully have raced some competitive meetings this week.

“It is not a huge concern but the first meeting of the season always has the potential to be a banana skin.

“We need to go out and do a professional job.”

After tomorrow’s double header date, the Witches travel to Peterborough on Easter Sunday (7pm) for another Shield clash.

The teams

Ipswich: 1. Danny King 8.87 © 2. Michael Haertel 5.20 3. Rory Schlein 8.58 4. Cameron Heeps 6.93 5. Nico Covatti 7.49 6. Connor Mountain 3.33 7. Danyon Hume 2.00. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins

Lakeside: 1. Nick Morris 8.72 2. Ben Morley 4.28 3. Adam Ellis 7.23 4. Kyle Newman 6.10 5. Richard Lawson 8.65 © 6. Zach Wajtknecht 4.17 7. Alfie Bowtell 2.19. Team Manager: Will Potinger

MORE: Witches star feared for his future

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