Witches have 'different feel' says promoter Louis ahead of new season
Ipswich 'Tru Plant' Witches promoter Chris Louis says there is plenty to look forward to in 2019 as the new season draws ever closer, writes Henry Chard.
It’s a new-look side for the Witches as they step back up to the top flight of British speedway after eight years in the Championship and Louis believes they have plenty of experience for the Premiership campaign.
“We have a different look to us than we had in the Championship in the last five or six years where we had a strong spearhead and possibly because of that we have relied on youngsters at the bottom end to make good progress,” said Louis.
“We haven’t got that this time, we have experience at the bottom in Cam (Heeps) and Jake (Allen) and we are solid right through the middle order, so I am pleased. We have a different feel about the team that has come out, but I am confident that it can compete well.”
The promoter believes there are plenty of entertaining riders in the new side that the fans will enjoy watching at Foxhall.
“We have proven entertainers in Danny (King) and Bomber (Chris Harris), everybody knows that, and people pay their money to watch those two. People know what Cam is about at Ipswich, but Jake I feel is due to move on. He has served his apprenticeship now and he is ready to push on.
“Both Krystian (Pieszczek) and David (Bellego) are very exciting to watch and both will have to learn Foxhall very quickly and I am sure they will. There is an awful lot of entertainers in the team and I am looking forward to working with them and watching them.”
The former captain says he does not know how much movement there will be in the team as the season goes on with changing averages but expects there to be a battle to be number one.
“I don’t know because it is a bit unknown,” Louis said.
“Because they are all so similar and we have people like David and Krystian who we don’t know how they will turn their hand to their home track, we could see constant movement as each month goes by or we could see very little movement.
“At the top end you would think that Bomber won’t be alone in that position, I would like Danny and Richard (Lawson) to be at least pushing him in the second or third month of the season.”
The two-time British champion is hoping that the Foxhall faithful can play their part in the new season as they aim for the play-offs.
“You have to be confident that you will make it and I do believe we have got a team of riders that are capable of making it. Of course, they will all have to perform to their potential and ability, but I think they will. The top four is the minimum aim and then we deal with that when we get there.
“A lot will come down to the crowd. I have seen at Portman Road in the last few weeks, they have really struggled but they have a manager there now that is drumming up support for the team.
“He knows they are a young bunch that need noise and encouragement from the terraces and they are playing well. Maybe they are not getting the wins and results they need but you can see with how they are getting late goals that it is making a difference. I feel that this team will be the same, they will draw off the encouragement they get off the home fans.”
Louis explained what difference the winter track work will make to the racing this season as they work on the cambers on the bends of the track.
“We have made a start, we have another machine coming in at the end of February to finish it off,” he said.
“It will then be the finished article and it will definitely make a difference to the racing lines and with that and the better standard and lesser disparity within teams, it will make for an entertaining season.
“By camber we mean the banking that comes from the inside out. At the moment, particularly entering turn three it goes ‘off camber’, so if you go in wide and try to use too much of the track, you lose ground because of it. By taking the camber out, so that it doesn’t go off camber and the banking goes from the kerb to the fence means that you will be able to use all of the track without losing ground. As you are building up momentum and trying to get around people it will make that job a bit easier.”
The former world number three is delighted to have ‘Tru Plant’ back on board for another year an says sponsors are vital to the club.
“In any sport and in particular motorsport, the backing of local companies is hugely important and makes all the difference. To be involved with a company that is so progressive as Tru Plant is fantastic. They are a family business that grows daily, and they do what they do the best.
“To be involved with that rubs off on us as management and riders so it fantastic to have their backing alongside RN Euston who are partner sponsors again. They are another local family run business who have supported the club, so we are very lucky to have them.”
The 1998 treble winner is pleased to have a challenge meeting against Leicester to give the team some competitive track time before the meaningful action gets underway against local rivals King’s Lynn in the Supporters Cup.
“It was vital this year with the move up to the top-flight with a completely new team bar a couple of riders to have some competitive action on the track. At home, it is only one meeting but you learn so much more by racing than you do by practising on your own. To have a couple of practice days followed by a challenge match before we get into the Supporters Cup will make all the difference.
“We can’t afford to slip up straight away at home, so we need to make the most of those practice days and the challenge match and hit the ground running. We want to progress in the cup and they are local rivals so as far as I am concerned, they don’t come any bigger than King’s Lynn. It is fantastic to have that rivalry back and I don’t want to start by losing to them.”
Louis is anticipating an exciting season as the Witches with plenty to look forward to for the fans.
“A lot of people feel we are going back where we belong alongside names such as Wolves, Belle Vue and Poole. They are big names in the sport and we are seeing new faces and we are going to see extremely competitive action and we will see the cameras in town so there is a lot to look forward to.”