New Witch Michael Haertel already feeling at home at Foxhall

Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins (left) and promoter Chris Louis welcome Michael Haertel to the

Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins (left) and promoter Chris Louis welcome Michael Haertel to the 2018 team, at the Ipswich Witches studio shoot, held at Ipswich Sports Club, last week. . Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Stephen Waller

Ipswich Witches new signing, Michael Haertel, has admitted to feeling right at home already with the Suffolk club.

The 20-year-old, from Landshut, in Germany, is the only new face in the Witches team that began 2017, but he has been made to feel more than comfortable with his new surroundings.

With the speedway season underway and the Witches set to take to competitive action for the first time this season on Good Friday at Foxhall, Haertel will soon meet the majority of Ipswich fans. He has already met his team-mates.

“The boys are all a good bunch, that’s for sure,” he said.

“It’s more like a big family and that for me is very important because I won’t be staying long in England. I will be flying back every week to Germany to do my long track, so it is important to feel comfortable where I am staying in Ipswich.”

Witches new signing Michael Haertel in flying action. The German has joined the Witches for 2018. Ph

Witches new signing Michael Haertel in flying action. The German has joined the Witches for 2018. Photo: NIKLAS BREU - Credit: Archant

Haertel, who finished runner-up in the 2017 Longtrack World Championship – some achievement – also finished his school education last year and admits joining Ipswich was pretty easy as it is a ‘good club’.

However, riding on the tighter tracks in England compared to the big wide open spaces in German long track will be very new to him.

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Haertel practiced at Foxhall after a meeting last season and says although he likes grippy tracks he knows it won’t be easy in his first season.

“The track is much grippier at Foxhall, like German tracks but they are becoming more and more slick these days so you are always fighting against the engine and pushing the power down,” he said.

Connor Mountain, doubling up with Coventry and the Witches in 2018

Connor Mountain, doubling up with Coventry and the Witches in 2018 - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

“Normally I like grippy tracks but I know that it won’t be easy because the corners are tight not like in Germany where they are wider.”

And he had a message for Witches fans.

“I hope they can expect many points from me,” he said.

“I have experience on big tracks, so I will do my best here at Ipswich.”

Meanwhile, Witches young reserve Connor Mountain has been called into the Coventry team as their new No.1, after Jack Parkinson-Blackburn decided to quit the sport.

The Witches start their season on Good Friday, 2.15pm start, with the visit of Lakeside.

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