‘Mum Witch’ enchants Barry Briggs

NOTE: Picture of Ruby Woods taken with Briggs in Ipswich last month

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SPEEDWAY: Four-time world champion Barry Briggs was not beaten very often in his distinguished riding career.

But the 75-year-old New Zealander was lost for words when he paid a visit to Ipswich last month and came up against a formidable women.

Ruby Woods has been an Ipswich Witches fan for nearly 60 years and despite being in her eighties is still a regular at Foxhall Stadium on Thursday nights.


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Known as ‘Mum Witch’ Ruby went up to Briggs and presented him with �100.

“What a marvellous gesture,” said the two-time runner-up in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

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“She told me that it was money taken out of the fund she has put aside for her funeral expenses.

“Ruby is a lovely person and shows speedway in its true light.”

Briggs’ visit to Suffolk was one leg of his journey to visit every speedway track in Great Britain to raise money for BBC’s Sport Relief with the money he has raised going to speedway riders who have ended up in wheelchairs.

Briggs, who was awarded the MBE in 1976 for his services to the shale sport, was delighted with the number of people who came to see him at Orwell Motor Cycles in Ranelagh Road, Ipswich.

“Ipswich Witches were supportive of my cause but did not want me to visit Foxhall Stadium,” said Briggs.

“But thanks to Ray Walters of Orwell Motor Cycles and an old pal Dave Bickers I was still able to take a trip to the town.

“It was nice to see Witches promoter John Louis, and in total I collected �902, which was great.”

Lawrence Hare and John Simmons are two former Ipswich riders who will benefit from Briggs’ efforts, and they were also in attendance to see Briggs.

The New Zealander was unable to include every rider paralysed through speedway in his list of 12 benefactors and popular ex-Witch Kim Jansson was not included leading to Ipswich informing Briggs it would be best if he stayed away from a home meeting.

“I don’t want to get embroiled in any aggro,” added Briggs.

“I had a great time in Ipswich - and my day was made by Ruby.”.

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