Hammer blow for Ipswich Witches as fans barred from British Final

Richard Lawson and Danny King get the better of Scott Nicholls in heat one. Picture: Steve Waller

Richard Lawson and Danny King get the better of Scott Nicholls in heat one. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

This Saturday’s British Final at Ipswich will go ahead – but very sadly without fans in attendance.

The meeting will now be a solely behind closed doors, live-streamed event, as a consequence of the Prime Minister’s update imposing significant new Covid-19 restrictions on the country.

The information is that the remaining pilot schemes to bring fans back into stadiums for Elite sport in restricted numbers have been suspended, as have plans for a more general return in bigger numbers next month.

We recognise the disappointment this will cause to those supporters who purchased tickets for the event, but the situation is totally out of the control of the British Speedway Promoters Ltd, along with Ipswich promoter Chris Louis who has done everything possible to get this event to take place as planned.

Chairman Rob Godfrey said: “It’s a hammer blow for the sport, and I particularly feel for Chris and his staff at Foxhall.

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“He’s been burning the midnight oil to plan everything starting with 2,200 supporters, then down to 1,000, and now it’s zero through something not of our doing – and now he will be contacting people to arrange refunds.

“However, we’ve been determined to provide the British Final to our public, so the meeting will go ahead, and what we can still achieve is for us to use it as our own test case in terms of the demand for live streaming for speedway events going forward.

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“All supporters who were due to attend will be contacted in the coming days regarding a refund of their £20, and I would urge them wherever possible to re-invest £12.95 of that to purchase the live stream.

“We must stress that this will be a high-quality stream with professional camera operators, graphics and commentary, and we have brought in people who have great experience in the field of live-streaming ice hockey matches.

“I’d also remind everyone that the official programme is still being produced and will be sent out in advance of the event. I’ve seen a proof and it is a fantastic read with several human interest features, plus the racecard of course.

“It will be a real collector’s item especially in such an unusual year, so again I would urge people to order a copy.

“I can’t over-emphasise how much of a financial gamble we are taking by going ahead with this, and now we do need people to support it in as many numbers as possible.

“The riders are all keen to go ahead with the meeting, they have all been making their preparations, and this now requires a united effort from everyone who loves the sport to make it a success.”

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