Sarjeant is back at Foxhall as the Sheffield flyer replaces injury-hit Newman - starting this Thursday

Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins with James Sarjeant last season. Sarjeant is back in Witches co

Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins with James Sarjeant last season. Sarjeant is back in Witches colours this Thursday - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Witches have swooped to sign James Sarjeant to replace injury victim Kyle Newman

Sarjeant, who rode for the Witches last season and did a good job into the bargain, could not be fitted into the Witches side.

He comes in initially as an injury replacement for Newman, who will return to the team when fit.

Sarjeant was left without a club in 2017 after it was confirmed Premiership outfit Coventry would not race this season but the injury to Newman has given Sarjeant an opportunity to return to Foxhall in the Championship.

The 23-year-old was a hit with the Foxhall faithful in 2016 as he went from strength to strength as the year went on. The Witches management wanted to keep the Sheffield-born rider in 2017 but couldn’t fit him in the side due to his average.

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Sarjeant will ride as an injury replacement for Newman until the latter becomes fit again. It is unknown at present how long Newman will be out for.

Promoter Chris Louis says that he feels for the injured Newman and that it was the obvious choice to bring back Sarjeant.

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“It’s really disappointing for Kyle,” said Louis. “He has worked so hard over the winter to get fit and we plan to bring him back into side when he is fully recovered, we don’t know when that will be yet.

“It was the obvious choice to bring Sarj (James Sarjeant) back into the team in the meantime, he did well for us last year, he knows the place and can’t wait to get back racing.”

Sarjeant will be in the Witches side to face Berwick on Thursday evening in the Knockout Cup at Foxhall.

Meanwhile Newman, who also rides for Poole in the Premiership, crashed at Poole in the Darcy Ward Invitational on Friday night and pulled out of the meeting with a shoulder injury.

It was hoped a few days rest would be the cure, but it appears more severe than that.

Newman attended hospital this morning for an x-ray where it was shown he had a fractured scapula (shoulder blade).

He is now awaiting an MRI scan to find out the extent of the damage to his rotator cuff. This may require surgery, but coupled with the fractured shoulder blade, he faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

“I’m not sure how long this will take to recover from. This one has hit me as hard but as ever I will pick myself back up and try and get myself fit again,” Newman said.

“I’m praying I don’t need surgery on my rotator cuff, that would be a complete disaster.

“I’m devastated that this has happened in my first race of the season and it has set me back.

“It’s hard to remain positive at this moment in time, all I want to do is go out and race my bike. I’ve worked so hard over the winter to make sure I’m in a good position to have a good season but I’ll now need to play catch up.

“Hopefully I’ll have some more news later this week.”

The Witches coped without Newman on Saturday night as they beat Sheffield in their opening Championship clash.

But there is little doubt he was missed and he is sure to be missed going forward, starting this Thursday as the Witches host Berwick in the KO Cup. The second leg is at Berwick on Saturday night.

At the moment reserves Danyon Hume and Connor Mountain, Cameron Heeps and Rory Schlein can take Newman’s rides and while that may be satisfactory at Foxhall, it will prove much tougher on their travels.

Newman has always been seen as the key man for Ipswich, with his six-point average suggested by many to be a snip.

What the Witches do now however is up to the management duo of Chris Louis and Ritchie Hawkins.

They could opt for rider replacement for a few weeks, but if it appears Newman will be out for much longer, then they may decide to look for a replacement rider until the Dorset-based man returns.

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