Premier League spot with Ipswich Witches is exactly what Darryl Ritchings needs

Darryl Ritchings, who will ride for the Witches this season, watches from the pits.

Darryl Ritchings, who will ride for the Witches this season, watches from the pits. - Credit: Archant

Great Britain boss Alun Rossiter believes a shot at the Premier League is exactly what the likes of Darryl Ritchings need, in order to get their big break in the sport.

Two years after the Elite Riders Draft, which guaranteed young British riders spots at reserve in the Elite League, was introduced, the Premier League has now adopted a similar approach, with each team having a National League graduate at number seven.

Ritchings fills that spot for the Ipswich Witches, with Swindon Robins boss Rossiter, who knows the youngster well from his ties with the Wiltshire club, hoping he can make the most of his big chance.

“It’s a great opportunity for Darryl and giving riders like him a chance in the Premier League is exactly the kind of thing we should be doing,” Rossiter said.

“You’ve seen how it has worked for the likes of Jason Garrity (Coventry), Kyle Newman (Poole) and Steve Worrall (Belle Vue), on the fast track in the Elite League, and it’s been brilliant for them. Charles Wright was scrapping around in the Premier League for years but now, after the fast track, has turned into a rider who can more than hold his own in the Elite League with Swindon.


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“It’s great that the Premier League have taken something similar on and I really hope the same can work out for Darryl.

“He has to be really focussed now and make sure he takes his chance, because this year is going to be massive for him.

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“I won’t say make or break, but he knows he has to make it happen this year.”

Nearly two years ago, a track crash left Ritchings in an induced coma following his first race of his home debut for Rossiter’s Swindon side, with the GB boss impressed with the way he’s recovered.

“Darryl’s a great lad and to see him come back from what was a really serious injury has been brilliant,” he said.

“He’s big on his fitness which is really important because the sport’s moved on, because if you’re not dedicated to it these days you can easily get left behind.

“When I used to race there was the odd rider who used to be really dedicated to their fitness and things like that, but it’s everywhere now and if you aren’t then you won’t survive.”

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