Ritchie Hawkins: We will always do the right thing for the Ipswich Witches
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Team manager Ritchie Hawkins is impressed with the new-look Ipswich Witches, but admits the selection process was not an easy one.
Only captain Danny King and Nico Covatti remain from the seven that finished with such momentum in the Premier League last season.
Five new faces have been brought in to join that duo – the quintet considered to have all the ingredients needed to make a serious promotion charge from the newly-formed Championship this season.
“We have spent a lot of time building the team and got the riders in we wanted really,” said Hawkins, whose team were two-and-a-half points over the points limit at the end of last season.
“We let a couple go that we would have liked to have kept, but that was to bring in good boys also.
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“We are really happy with the team, everyone is professional, with a good attitude in races, and these were the sorts of things we wanted.”
The likes of Ben Barker, Joe Jacobs and James Sarjeant, missed out, despite stating strong cases for their inclusions at times during last season.
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“I have built up a lot of relationships throughout my career, as a rider, with team-mates and last season we had to let Lewi (Lewis Kerr) go, who I have always been good mates with, Paco (Castagna)... but we will always do the same and do what is best for Ipswich speedway,” Hawkins added,
“I think it was obvious early on that we could not get Ben (Barker) back, and it was hard on Sarj (Sarjeant) not to get him back – really harsh – but the boys we have brought in are good guys as well, so we are very happy.”
The selection process was all part of Hawkins’ remit, ahead of his second full season in the job, along with director of speedway, Chris Louis.
“You can only get experience with time and doing the job and I will keep learning,” explained Hawkins.
“You try and learn all the time but hopefully the boys will make it a bit easier for me.
“We turned a big corner halfway through last year, after a year-and-a-half struggling and this year we need to carry on from that.”