'Unfinished business' high on agenda

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches team manager Pete Simmons says he has some unfinished business to attend to in 2009.In his first season in charge of team affairs at Foxhall Stadium, Simmons led the Witches to fourth place in the Elite League.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches team manager Pete Simmons says he has some unfinished business to attend to in 2009.

In his first season in charge of team affairs at Foxhall Stadium, Simmons led the Witches to fourth place in the Elite League.

And he wants to go better next term with a much-changed team that it is believed will include as many home- grown riders as possible.


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Former Grand Prix rider Lee Richardson and Norfolk-based Ollie Allen are two Brits the Witches are believed to be looking at to add to the signing of Daniel King and the expected 'doubling up' signing of Chris Schramm.

Chris Louis and Mark Loram are not believed to be in the Witches equations, although the latter could be included mid-season if he returns to the track.

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Piotr Swiderski is one foreigner who will ride for the Witches after the Polish sensation of 2008 signed a new Ipswich contract earlier this week.

“If the 2009 rules had operated this year it would have helped us a great deal in the play-offs,” said Simmons, who feels he will be fully employed during meetings next term.

“I am happy enough with the changes for next year, although they might take some getting used to.

“Team managers will have to remain on their toes to heat 15 with so many different options to claim points.

“And I feel for the reserves, as they are likely to have just their first three rides each meeting unless they are going really well.

“This is perhaps why a 'doubling up' situation has been brought back in.

“The changes will be good for the public, with interest maintained in the majority of meetings right down to the wire.

“And without some of the top riders, a more even spread of talent should see the public gain from a racing spectacle as well.”

Ipswich had a meeting last weekend between John and Chris Louis, Simmons and general manager Mike Smillie when a number of team options were discussed, with the intention to reduce the number of costly foreign riders at Foxhall with the Witches having three Poles, a German and an Australian as season-long members of their 2008 side.

Australian Rory Schlein, who rode for Ipswich in the latter weeks of last season taking the place of the injured Chris Louis, is to return to Coventry.

He is the first rider to be confirmed by the Brandon club, with promoter Colin Pratt saying: “Next year should be a season in which Rory can make a big improvement on his average.”

The Witches are selling 2009 season tickets at Foxhall Stadium on Saturday from 10am until 1pm.

IPSWICH Speedway has issued a statement regarding allegations from Peterborough that the Witches jumped the gun in announcing Piotr Swiderski's signature despite the Panthers having not given Ipswich permission to agree terms with the Pole.

The Ipswich statement read: “We would like to let our fans and sponsors know that we have always followed the correct procedures and were indeed given permission to talk to Piotr shortly after the conclusion of the season.

“It is uncomprehendable to think that we, or any other club, would consider publicly announcing a rider's signing without having first acquired permission to talk to him.”

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