Tapes up at Foxhall – as Ipswich Witches reveal the riding order

Danny King at Ipswich practice day on Tuesday. The British Champion leads the Witches again in 2017.

Danny King at Ipswich practice day on Tuesday. The British Champion leads the Witches again in 2017. Photo: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Witches open their 2017 season at Foxhall Stadium on Saturday night hoping to get off to the perfect start.

However, the visit of a strong Sheffield Tigers side (start time 7.30pm), will provide Ritchie Hawkins’ team with a stiff test in the two sides’ first Championship fixture of the season.

The Witches will line-up with Danny King at No.1, while new man Rory Schlein takes up the other main heat leader role at No.5.

Cameron Heeps and Kyle Newman fill the second string roles, while Nico Covatti rides at No.3 – the two young reserves Connor Mountain and Danyon Hume are at six and seven.

Team manager Hawkins knows what his team faces: “Sheffield look a strong side like we do, but the same applies to them as it does to us - it doesn’t matter how you look on paper it is how you do on the track that matters,” he said.

“It’s a really tough test early doors and hopefully we will have a big crowd backing us.

“The boys will have been out and seen the new track a few times before Saturday although I’m not sure they will notice a massive difference. Maybe as the season goes on they’ll learn how to use the extra space.

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“Hopefully it will improve the racing and we have got a team of racers so we should benefit throughout the season.”

Sheffield are leg by Aussie Josh Grajczonek, while former Witch Lasse Bjerre is one who knows his way around Foxhall, as does young Josh Bates.

Ipswich could certainly have been handed an easier start to their Championship campaign and they won’t want to start the season as poorly as they did in 2016.

Children get in free tonight at Foxhall as promoter Chris Louis looks to attract a new generation of fans to the sport.

“We want to carry on the momentum we built up towards the end of last year with bigger crowds coming in and if there is a big crowd on Saturday it will give everyone a boost,” Hawkins added.

Ipswich: D King, C Heeps, N Covatti, K Newman, R Schlein, C Mountain, D Hume.

Sheffield: J Grajczonek, J Bates, L Bjerre, T Kurtz, K Howarth, R Branford, J Parkinson-Blackburn

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