‘I did feel sorry for Witches fans’, admits Ipswich Speedway boss Chris Louis

Michael Hartel (left) and team-mate Danny King tumble among their machinery after crashing. King suf

Michael Hartel (left) and team-mate Danny King tumble among their machinery after crashing. King suffered a bad arm injury Hartel broke his arm a few weeks later in a long-track meeting Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Witches boss Chris Louis has spoken out about the lack of fixtures in the Championship in 2018, as well as leagues, bikes, injuries and the likelihood of Ipswich moving back into the Premiership...

Ipswich Witches promoter Chris Louis admits he felt sorry for Foxhall fans after they witnessed just 13 home meetings in 2018.

The Suffolk side were dumped out early in the Championship Shield and lost their first round KO Cup fixture with Lakeside.

It left the Witches with just 10 home league meetings and, after failing to reach the end-of-season play-offs, it meant Ipswich fans were starved of action throughout a sun-drenched summer!

“Each team met just once at home and once away in the league which wasn’t what I wanted,” said Louis.

Chris Louis

Chris Louis - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller


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“It was what we were given this year, but clearly 13 home meetings just isn’t enough.

“It was difficult to get a roll going and get the fans and team gelling. Continuity was lost. For me it has got to be at least 20 meetings a season at home.

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“I did feel sorry for Witches fans. Everything was too sporadic, we would go two or three weeks without a meeting.”

Louis will air his frustrations at the British Speedway Promoters’ Association AGM next month. It will be interesting to see what the sport will do going forwards, with many riders now doubling-up and riding for two clubs – one in the Premiership and one in the Championship.

Rory Schlein and injured skipper Danny King. Schlein also suffered injury late in the season. Pic

Rory Schlein and injured skipper Danny King. Schlein also suffered injury late in the season. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

It’s not great and certainly makes the likelihood of one big league seem improbable.

“One big league is not really possible right now,” said Louis.

“I would like to see us working towards two bigger leagues with no doubling-up. I’d like to get back to local riders in teams and a local hero leading each side, with fans seeing teams just once a season.”

The Witches failure to make the play-offs or make progress in cups was not helped by injuries.

No.1 Danny King suffered a bad crash in May which, although he made a comeback of sorts, curtailed his season early with an arm injury. Michael Hartel broke his arm in a long track crash, while Nico Covatti and Rory Schlein also suffered injuries.

So, are there more injuries in the sport today? Are the bikes too fast?

“There are more injuries today – serious or just niggles,” added Louis.

“Are the bikes too fast? Not necessarily, but the characteristics of the bikes are all wrong. They are so unpredictable. Unless you are riding them flat out they can be problematic and as soon as you back off you’re in whole new territory.”

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