Witches ready for first action

THE long winter months are almost behind us and speedway returns to Foxhall Stadium tonight.

Mike Bacon

Ipswich Witches v Lakeside Hammers


Foxhall Stadium, tonight 7.30pm

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THE long winter months are almost behind us and speedway returns to Foxhall Stadium tonight.

For fans of Ipswich Witches, it couldn't come soon enough, as the Witches embark on another Elite League season with hopes high of a successful eight months ahead.

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Play-off semi-finalists in 2008, the Witches will want to go better this season, and they begin their season with a quick-fire challenge double encounter against last season's Elite League runners-up Lakeside Hammers, tonight at Foxhall and tomorrow at Purfleet.

And Witches team boss Pete Simmons is looking for a strong start to meetings - and a strong finish.

"We are very much looking at the partnerships in these two meetings," Simmons said.

"With Jarek at No.1 we want to start strong and with Jarek and Piotr Swiderski in heat 13 and possibly heat 15, we want to finish strong too.

"We have four new guys in the team and it could take time to settle, but we wanted to up the ante this season for our first couple of challenge meetings, as we rode King's Lynn last season. Lakeside will prove much stronger."

The Witches indeed do line-up with Jarek Hampel at No 1, a new ruling this season means the rider with the highest average always rides in that position (although Lakeside are not doing so this evening, as it is a challenge fixture, as Adam Shields is their highest averaged rider, but is riding at No.3).

Hampel with be parternered by new captain Leigh Lanham, while Tobi Kroner takes over the important No.3 berth.

Kozza Smith, who will be doubling up with Carl Wilkinson at reserve, rides tonight and at Purleet tomorrow for the Witches.

With press and practice day now behind both sides, it is now down to business. And although this may just be a challenge fixture, a confident start to the season is something all riders crave.

Tonight's teams

Ipswich: 1 Jarek Hampel, 2 Leigh Lanham, 3 Tobi Kroner, 4 Danny King, 5 Piotr Swiderski, 6 Dawid Stachyra, 7 Kozza Smith.

Lakeside: 1 Lee Richardson, 2 Jonas Kylmakorpi, 3 Adam Shields, 4 Jonas Davidson, 5 Kauko Nieminen, 6 Phil Morris, 7 Stuart Robson.

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