Teen star Kemp to sign for Witches.... Chris Louis’ thoughts
PUBLISHED: 10:30 17 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:31 17 July 2018
Hot-shot teen star Drew Kemp has been snapped up by Ipswich Witches.
The 15-year-old will turn 16 next month and step straight into the Foxhall Heath Championship septet as Chris Louis rings the changes to his injury-hit side. Kemp will continue to also ride for Mildenhall in the National League.
Out have gone reserves Connor Mountain and Danyon Hume, while new signing Jonas Jeppesen has also left.
In on a permanent deal have come former Edinburgh man Mark Riss, Coty Garcia, while David Wallinger will ride at reserve until Kemp’s introduction next month.
“Obviously it is great to have Drew Kemp wanting to ride for his home-town club. We certainly want him,” Witches boss Chris Louis said.
“It’s been a long time since a real local talent has come through at such a young age, perhaps Scottie Nicholls was the last one. Drew would have had plenty of clubs chasing him, but he wanted to ride for Ipswich, which is great.”
However, while Kemp is set to join the Witches, three riders have left. Something that Louis is sad about.
“The hardest part of speedway is having to make calls to riders like Connor (Mountain), to tell them the news we are dropping them, when they have done nothing wrong,” Louis said.
“But we need to make changes. It’s a numbers game, everyone knows that. We can still push for a play-off spot and I’m hoping Cody Garcia can give us something at reserve, especially at home. It’s a bit of a gamble, but he is confident he can do it.
“I feel especially sorry for Connor.
“It’s so frustrating for us all because he is not getting on well with the Foxhall track. Yet when me and Ritchie watch him at away tracks – tracks we consider far harder to ride – he looks so good. Jonas is another who only had two meetings, but did well in both and I think the fans would have really taken to him.”
Both Hume and Jeppesen were injured in Thursday’s defeat to Workington at Foxhall – a defeat which has damaged the Witches hopes of a play-off place, while skipper Danny King continues to have treatment on his injured arm and his return is still far from known.
It leaves the Witches still missing a top end rider despite both Louis and team boss Ritchie Hawkins burning the midnight oil to try and get someone in for the short-term at least.
“It has been a difficult time and we know we need some fresh fit riders in the team,” Hawkins said.
“We need to get a win at home on Thursday (at home to Redcar) and have that all sorted.
“Then hopefully next week we will go to Redcar with a full one to seven and that will give everyone a big boost to have a full team. We need to look at winning some meetings and actually enjoying ourselves.
“I have heard that our season is over every year in April from some sections of the crowd, it’s a load of rubbish.
“You lose one meeting and it’s over, that’s rubbish. Every year I have been managing we have turned it around and made the play-offs. Unless it’s mathematically impossible I won’t give up.”
The Witches entertain Redcar on Thursday at Foxhall.
Ipswich: 1. Rory Schlein 9.58 © 2. Cameron Heeps 6.46 3. Nico Covatti 6.64 4. Mark Riss 4.86 5. R/R for Danny King 8.89 6. David Wallinger 2.00 7. Coty Garcia 4.00. Team Manager: Ritchie Hawkins
Redcar: 1. Ben Barker 7.74 © 2. Tobias Busch 5.14 3. Dimitri Berge 5.08 4. Jonas B Andersen 5.64 5. Thomas Jorgensen 7.31 6. Mikkel B Andersen 4.66 7. Jordan Stewart 4.00 Team Manager: Jade Mudgway