Johnston named as Witches' skipper

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches have named experienced Australian Steve Johnston as their skipper for tonight's Elite League speedway meeting at Lakeside (start 8pm).

Elvin King

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches have named experienced Australian Steve Johnston as their skipper for tonight's Elite League speedway meeting at Lakeside (start 8pm).

The 36-year-old takes over from Chris Louis who will be out for some while after breaking his upper right arm in Ipswich's last meeting.

And the Witches have switched out-of-touch Robert Miskowiak in their riding order. The Pole will ride at number three at Purfleet with Eastbourne's Edward Kennett coming in as a guest for Louis and riding at number one.


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“We considered Jarek Hampel to replace Chris as skipper, but went for Steve as he gets around the pits and there will be no possible language barrier with him,” said Witches team manager Pete Simmons.

“I saw Chris yesterday and he had just gone back to see his specialist as his hand has swollen.

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“He will be missed, and we will not know for how long for a month or so. Then the injury should have settled down.

“We have around a month's grace before Chris ceases to be our number one, and have time to assess whether to re-declare our one-to-seven.

“Until then we can use either a guest or rider replacement, and we plan to use the latter at home to Peterborough on Monday when Piotr Swiderski and Steve Johnston will switch back to two and four in the order again.

“This will allow us to use Jarek in heat one and Piotr in heat 13. And with another home meeting against Wolverhampton next Thursday we will be looking to move up the table next week.

“And a win tonight would be great, but I don't expect track conditions to help us as much as they did when we won at Lakeside in the Craven Shield.

“But it was a very pleasing win against Swindon in our last meeting, and hopefully we can build on that.”

Riders like Adam Shields have moved above the limit Ipswich have to replace Louis, while Simmons confirmed that they are unlikely to go for any Swindon riders like Troy Batchelor because of the animosity caused when the Robins used who Ipswich consider to be at ineligible guest in Joel Parsons at Foxhall last month.

“We want someone who will be neutral,” said Simmons.

The Hammers, who are second in the table behind Swindon, alter their team placing with new averages kicking in. Former Witch Joonas Kylmakorpi moves down to reserve with Lubos Tomicek going into the top five.

Louis, an acknowledged expert around Lakeside, will be missed tonight when the home club plan to stage a six-heat, four-a-side, junior challenge between Lakeside and Arena Essex starting at 6.45pm.

Likely line-ups

Lakeside: A Jonsson, L Lanham, A Shields, L Tomicek, J Davidsson, R Kling, J Kylmakorpi.

Ipswich: E Kennett, S Johnston, R Miskowiak, P Swiderski, J Hampel, T Kroner, C Schramm.

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