Why do Witches miss out on star names?
WHY is it that Ipswich Evening Star Witches find it difficult to attract top speedway riders to Foxhall Stadium?The Suffolk-based club has again missed out on a number of star names, and still wait to complete their 2008 side.
By Elvin King
WHY is it that Ipswich Evening Star Witches find it difficult to attract top speedway riders to Foxhall Stadium?
The Suffolk-based club has again missed out on a number of star names, and still wait to complete their 2008 side.
And Witches supporters, fed on a diet of disappointing displays over the last few years, are getting increasingly concerned that, despite promises to the contrary, the situation will not improve this time around.
Simon Stead and David Howe are two proven English riders who have opted for other clubs with Stead joining Coventry on loan from Belle Vue and Howe finally agreeing a deal to stay with Wolverhampton.
This follows the departure of Grand Prix riders Scott Nicholls and Hans Andersen from Foxhall over the last three years.
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And with Mark Loram unlikely to race for at least 15 months after breaking his thigh last March, some fans fear Ipswich will again struggle to put out a competitive side.
Ipswich are one of the most prompt payers in the Sky Sports Elite League and their books regularly balance.
But Stead, who is a proven performer around Foxhall and would, on paper at any rate, have made Ipswich into a title-chasing side, was not able to be tempted to Suffolk.
Witches promoter John Louis admits that team building had to be put on hold when Stead said no to Ipswich's overtures.
“Simon was a rider we put a lot of thought into,” said Louis. “And when we lost out it brought our plans to a bit of a halt.
“He would have been perfect for us I am sure. But you cannot force people to ride for you.
“At the end of the day Simon signed for Coventry, which is nearer his Sheffield home.
“I agree we need to have a strong top end to improve our record over the last couple of years, and we are still working to this end.”
Ipswich have 13.90 points to play with after completing the signings of Jarek Hampel, Chris Louis, Robert Miskowiak and Tobi Kroner, and Louis confirmed that there were a couple of Polish assets who could be brought into play.
Mariusz Puszakowski rode for the Witches at the end of the 2005 campaign and built up a great rapport with Foxhall fans. He could be in line for a recall.