Practice makes perfect in the sun

FOR the first time in three years, Ipswich Witches' press and practice day was blessed with the sun.And that meant the Witches of 2007 were on track yesterday in front of the usual large gathering of eager home fans keen to see their line-up after the winter break.

By Mike Bacon

FOR the first time in three years, Ipswich Witches' press and practice day was blessed with the sun.

And that meant the Witches of 2007 were on track yesterday in front of the usual large gathering of eager home fans keen to see their line-up after the winter break.

With five of last year's septet on show, most eyes were on the Suffolk side's two new young Poles, Marcin Rempala and Zbigniew Suchecki - both of whom looked composed during the first look at their new home at Foxhall.


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Rempala and Suchecki were last out at practice, but adapted to the tight Foxhall track impressively, and although practice is just that, few, if any, were disappointed with their showing.

However, the Witches are under no illusions about the task facing them this season and skipper Chris Louis laid his cards squarely on the table during the press conference.

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“There is a lot of weight on every rider's shoulders this season,” Louis said. “This team was not a last resort. It was decided this would be one of our options and that is the way it has turned out.

“But I'm sure fans will understand we need their patience regarding results. Both Marcin and Zibi (Zbigniew) are going to need time to adapt.”

Quite how much time the two youngsters get, of course, remains to be seen but certainly there was a good ambience surrounding the riders yesterday, with Robert Miskowiak assuming the mantle of 'main Pole', as his two young countryman looked on at the press gathering.

During his two seasons at Foxhall, the likeable Miskowiak has invariably been in the background of Piotr Protasiewicz - a Grand Prix rider and legend in Poland.

But now Miskowiak has been handed the No.5 race jacket and a heat leader position. He knows what is expected.

“My role this year is very important, I know that,” he said. “I will help Marcin and Zibi and pass on what I have learned in my two years in England. One thing I must do is score more points away from home.”

Inexperienced pair Rempala and Suchecki, neither of whom speak much English, will both need the help of riders like Witches No.1 Mark Loram.

Along with Louis, there is clearly much for the pair of them to do, both on and off the track, if it is to be a successful and happy 2007.

“This team is a bit of a gamble,” said Loram. “But we know that, and it is going to be difficult at times. But then again there are plenty of riders capable of upping their average.”

So, with the start of the season tomorrow, with the Witches entertaining Arena Essex, the Foxhall side are up and running - and buoyed by the buzz of some good practice.

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