What’s going wrong with the Witches? MIKE BACON’S thoughts

IPSWICH Witches’ hapless home defeat to Workington on Thursday night does not mean panic stations for the Suffolk side, but does raise concerns.

IPSWICH Witches’ hapless home defeat to Workington on Thursday night does not trigger panic stations for the Suffolk side, but does raise serious concerns.

The ‘Sackers’ Witches are heading towards a mediocre season if they don’t sort themselves out – and soon.

Two home League defeats are sadly already in the can.

And do Witches fans really think their team will overcome Workington over two legs in a League Cup semi-final, still to be raced? Well, not if Thursday night is anything to go by.

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It still leaves the KO Cup – two legs against Berwick – but the final is still a way off, as is victory over the Bandits.

There can be no doubt the opening night disaster against Rye House that saw Morten Risager and Taylor Poole both crash badly – Poole still having not returned – has been a blow the Witches don’t appear to have recovered from, even though the Rockets (who lost No.1 Chris Neath for the season) have done so.

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The signing of Leigh Lanham genuinely appeared to make the Witches stronger – on paper at least.

But Lanham is not producing the goods on his home track, whether it is due to pressure, bad luck or nerves. He is capable of much more and cares more than fans realise.

However the bottom line is, he’s the Witches No.1 – and is set to be so throughout July too – Ipswich badly need him back in the groove and he needs fans’ support.

But the Witches problems are far greater than just Lanham.

Sitting above the start-finish line in my little ‘press area’ at Foxhall, I see first hand, how fast the riders get away from the start when the tapes go up. Their reactions basically.

And I can assure you that most of the Witches – possibly with the exception of Kevin Doolan, Rohan Tungate and Dakota North – are not reacting quickly, especially from the outside grids.

It doesn’t mean they can’t gate – of course they can – but it is this inconsistency that is costing.

Morten Risager, Lanham, even Cameron Heeps are well away from the inside grids, but not so from the outside.

And while Dakota North was furiously tweeting his frustrations after Thursday night, he was guilty of making a complete pig’s ear of a couple of starts, wheeling his way to the first bend in one race against the Comets.

The 2012 Witches are a nice bunch of lads.

In fact, I would suggest they are too nice. Far too nice.

They are being beaten up by sides with far more aggression and only North can seem to physically hold his own in that department out on the track.

All the team are a genuine bunch and all are talented. I know, having spoken to all of them, how much they love the club and the fans.

But Chris Louis took a big risk in dropping Ipswich into the Premier League and they are badly letting him down.

Remember Louis rode for the Witches for 20 years at the very highest level. It must be breaking his heart to witness such performances as last Thursday by a team he assembled - in the second tier of the sport.

While you could ‘sort of’ get away with being poor in the Elite League, the Witches won’t get away with even being just average in the Premier League.

What they need to do is knuckle down and address their issues. Stop talking and start performing.

They need to get themselves far more positively psyched up for the start of meetings than they currently are.

Last season Ipswich battered teams from the off at Foxhall and by the time the opposition had sorted themselves out the meeting was over. Happy Days!


RIDING a speedway bike is something I have never done, so I have nothing but admiration for all speedway riders, especially anyone who races in a Witches body colour.

But sport is about winning, not just taking part. Criticism and praise part of the deal and I know I can criticise the Witches, because nothing gives me more pleasure than to write gleefully when they win.

Many Ipswich fans LOVE the Witches, not just enjoy watching them. The current riders are putting their fans through hell.

Come on Witches boys . . . it’s time to take responsibility, stop moaning or looking for excuses and start winning again.

WHAT do you think?

Comment below, or e-mail Mike at mike.bacon@archant.co.uk

Or tweet Mike @Mike_Bacon

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