Leigh Lanham feels Ipswich Witches can cook up a storm in 2017

Leigh Lanham, in Hot Stuff, the fish and chip shop he runs with brother Nikki. Photo: STEVE WALLER

Leigh Lanham, in Hot Stuff, the fish and chip shop he runs with brother Nikki. Photo: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Stephen Waller

Leigh Lanham is confident Ipswich Witches can cook up a storm in the Championship this year.

The 39-year-old former Witch, who retired at the end of last season after 23 years of racing, is tipping his home-town club for success in 2017.

Having taken over the family fish and chip business from dad Mike – a former rider with Ipswich himself, Lanham, and brother Nikki (who acted as Lanham’s mechanic during his speedway career), are now busy frying fish and cooking sausages, rather than preparing for another speedway campaign.

“I’m not just saying this because I come from Ipswich, but they really do have a great-looking team this season,” Lanham said.

“Their top five is very strong, with Danny King leading the way.

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“I think Cameron Heeps will come back to Foxhall stronger after a year at Rye House, that will have done him good to go to another club.

“And in Kyle Newman I think they have one of the best signings of the winter. He is an excellent rider but I think it was tough for him at Plymouth last year as they had a few problems. He will enjoy Ipswich.

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“With all due respect to the Premier League Fours which Ipswich won in 2011, they haven’t won anything meaningful for years. This could be their year though.”

Lanham is enjoying retirement from the shale.

He had a fine career and was a hugely professional rider, lauded by everyone in the sport.

Although he didn’t ride for Ipswich for many seasons, he has always been close to the club and a long-time club asset.

“I really enjoyed my speedway and I feel I have got out at the right time,” he said.

“I have a wonderful wife, Lucy, and two beautiful girls, Holly and Ellie. I will still look to come up to Foxhall when I’m not working, but I must admit I’m doing quite a few hours at the moment!”

The Lanham’s shop is in Reynolds Road, Ipswich. It’s called Hot Stuff and, with it being just a few miles from Foxhall, it means talk of speedway is never far away.

“Many of the regulars are fans and they enjoy their speedway, it is often spoken about,” Lanham added.

The Witches start their season tomorrow night when Sheffield Tigers come to town.

Children go free tomorrow night and Lanham is yet to decide whether it’s a case of serving sausage and chips twice, or a trip to Foxhall!

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