Relief for Smillie as curtain comes down

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches team manager Mike Smillie could be excused for heaving a huge sigh of relief when he woke up this morning.No more long trips to suffer inevitable league defeats and no more trying to juggle an uncompetitive team into a winning one at Foxhall Stadium.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches team manager Mike Smillie could be excused for heaving a huge sigh of relief when he woke up this morning.

No more long trips to suffer inevitable league defeats and no more trying to juggle an uncompetitive team into a winning one at Foxhall Stadium.

He would not publicly admit his relief, but said: “It has not been a good season. We were rock bottom in 2003 and this was not much better.”


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While Smillie will leave the major decisions on Ipswich's - and speedway's - future to promoter John Louis and rider/manager Chris Louis, he will provide the inside knowledge on riders and statistics.

He said: “One thing is for certain - we need top end strength. It comes at a price, but this is what we need.

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“It might not be easy to attract top riders to race in the current Elite League format with the Grand Prix growing and ten Russian League meetings paying as much as a whole English season.

“I suggest a 16-meeting Elite League when the likes of Jarek Hampel and Tomasz Gollob might be tempted back. It would be elite in the true sense of the word.

“The rest of the season would be taken up riding in a league that puts itself somewhere between the Elite and the Premier League.

“We have taken part in a total of 45 meetings this year, which is far too many.”

Having seen lower order riders like Marcin Rempala take time to adapt to British racing, Smillie said: “Why not call in a young British rider from the Conference League and train him up?

“At the moment it is too easy for promoters to get on the phone and bring in Poles. I have nothing against Marcin Rempala and his fellow countrymen, but where is this going to take us?

Smillie would like to see the meeting format changed so world stars do not race against three-point reserves. “It should be like against like to provide fans with the best value, but the bottom line is that Ipswich must be a success in 2008,” he said.

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