Hawkins wants Witches to make most of their 'technical' Premiership track
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Witches team boss, Ritchie Hawkins, wants his side to make the most of their home-track advantage this year.
The Suffolk side open their 2019 home season at Foxhall tomorrow night against Leicester Lions in a challenge fixture, 7.30pm.
And with the Witches back in the Premiership – the top tier of the sport – Hawkins wants his team to make Foxhall a fortress.
“We don’t want teams to come to Foxhall and take the points off us,” Hawkins said.
“Ours is a technical track and in the Premiership there aren’t many technical tracks about.
“Only Wolverhampton can be considered technical, with tight bends, the rest of the league’s tracks are pretty well big and fast, so we need to make our home-track advantage count even more so this season.
“It’s a real opportunity for our track to give us a real advantage. Get a bit of dirt on it, we won’t want it too slick.”
The Witches got their 2019 campaign off to a good start at Leicester on Saturday night, as they beat the Championship side by 10 points – Chris Harris racing to a 15-pt maximum.
The Witches will be favourites again tomorrow, although the Lions are boosted with the inclusion of former Witch Rory Schlein in their line-up as a No.8 rider who can have up to four rides.
“There is no pressure on us, it’s a challenge meeting,” Hawkins said.
“But we know a win will boost confidence, and it gets us into a winning habit already.
“Next week we have King’s Lynn at Foxhall in what is a big meeting, so we want to go into that clash in good heart.”
Witches fans will still have to wait another week to see Krystian Pieszczek in team action for Ipswich, the Pole not available for tomorrow night’s clash.
“We knew Krystian would be unavailable for both these challenge meetings, but there is no issue going forward,” Hawkins said.
“We have Drew Kemp as a guest.
“He has a long-term future at Ipswich and he is very much part of Ipswich Speedway and I don’t want that to change.
“I hope we get a good crowd and that everyone is excited to see the new team. I think press day was great and we are in the top-flight and have a professional set-up. I hope everyone backs us – it is the first chance to see this side.”
Meanwhile, ‘Tru Plant’ Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins has become a co-promoter at Ipswich Speedway alongside Chris Louis.
Following the retirement of John Louis, it left the club needing a second promoter and Hawkins explained how Louis persuaded him to get his licence.
“It was a natural time for John to retire and you need to have two promoters,” said Hawkins.
“When Chris first told me, I told him to try and find someone else, but he convinced me that he couldn’t find anyone better and that I should give it a go.
“Chris is running the show and I suppose I have taken on more and more in the last few years in my role and if Chris needs to bounce any ideas off me he knows we work very well together.”