Ipswich Witches

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Ipswich Witches
IpswichWitches.jpg
Club information
Track address Foxhall Stadium
Ipswich
Country England
Founded 1950
Team manager Chris Louis
Team captain Ritchie Hawkins
League Premier League
Website www.ipswichwitches.co
Club facts
Colours Blue, White and Black
Track size 285 metres
Track record time 56.6 seconds
Track record date 20 June 2013
Track record holder Ben Barker
Current team
Rider CMA
England Richie Worrall 8.42
Australia Rohan Tungate 7.05
Denmark Morten Risager 6.90
Australia Cameron Heeps 6.57
United States Gino Manzarez 5.00
England Adam Ellis 4.14
England Ritchie Hawkins 3.96
Total 42.04
Major team honours
British League Champions 1975, 1976, 1984
Elite League Champions 1998
British League Pairs Champions 1976, 1977
Craven Shield Winners 1998
British League KO Cup 1976, 1978, 1981, 1984
Elite League KO Cup 1998
British League Div 2 KO Cup 1970, 1971
Inter-League KO Cup 1977
Premier League Four-Team Champions 2011

The Ipswich Witches are a British speedway club based at Foxhall Stadium near Ipswich, Suffolk. Meetings are staged on most Thursdays from March until October, normally commencing at 7.30pm.

The Witches are currently promoted by former Ipswich rider John Louis, who is the father of former rider and Sky Sports presenter Chris Louis.[1]

History[edit]

Foxhall Stadium was purpose-built for speedway in 1950, and meetings were held there from 1951 to 1965 when the track was resurfaced for stock car racing. Attendances approached 20,000 people and made stars of riders such as Syd Clarke, Junior Bainbridge, Tich Read and Peter Moore.

In 1969 John Berry built a new, smaller track inside the stock car circuit and re-opened the club with a team which would soon include the current promoter John Louis. Speedway has been staged at Foxhall continuously since then.

In 1970 and 1971 the Witches won the British League Division II Knock-Out Cup, before John Berry took the decision to apply for membership of Division I in 1972. The Witches went on to become a dominant force in the top flight of British Speedway, winning the Division I Championship in 1975, 1976 and 1984, plus numerous Knock-Out Cup wins (doing "the double" in '76 and '84).

Following the tragic death of Billy Sanders in 1985 and Berry's subsequent decision to quit, the club struggled and almost closed - before being saved by a consortium, including returning local-hero John Louis. The new Witches began life in the National League (second tier) in 1989 and 1990, before joining the amalgamated British League and then, after a further restructuring of speedway in Britain, the Elite League.

In 1998 Ipswich won the Elite League Championship, the Knock-Out Cup and the end of season Craven Shield tournament. In addition, Ipswich riders won the World Championship (Tony Rickardsson), the British Speedway Championship (Chris Louis) and the British Under-21 Championship (Scott Nicholls). The team also included the Polish star Tomasz Gollob who finished third in the World Championship.[2]

In November 2010, the Witches decided to swap memberships with the Birmingham Brummies, moving to the Premier League[3] (With the Brummies therefore moving to the Elite League).

In 2011, the "Sackers" Witches (sponsored by Sackers Recycling) enjoyed a successful first season in British speedway's second tier, achieving 3rd place in the final Premier League (PL) table and winning the PL Four Team Tournament Championship.

During the winter of 2011/12, Director of Speedway Chris Louis moved to bring in new assets to the club, in the shape of Australians Rohan Tungate (b. 1991) & Cameron Heeps (b. 1996). In the first meeting of the 2012 season, a challenge match with Rye House at Foxhall heath, both Taylor Poole (broken left arm) and Morten Risager (damaged lower vertebrae) were ruled out - and Ipswich asset Leigh Lanham re-joined the club as a replacement for the unfortunate Risager (who had missed two months of the 2011 season after sustaining an injury to his right hand). The season ended in relative disappointment, with failure to reach the PL play-offs, and despite reaching both the League Cup and KO Cup Finals, finishing runner-up in both competitions (to Somerset & Newcastle respectively).

For 2013, a new Number 1 rider, Ben Barker, was signed as the Witches looked for a winning formula.

2013 Team[edit]

Also:

2012 Team[edit]

Also:

2011 Team[edit]

Also rode:

2010 Team[edit]

Also rode:

(DU) = Double-Up - the rider also rode in the Premier League, sharing Elite League duties with another DU rider.

2009 Team[edit]

(DU) Riders doubling-up between Premier and Elite League

Also Rode:

2008 Team[edit]

Also Rode:

Notable Ipswich riders[edit]

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Dave Feakes & Colin Barber (2002). Ipswich Speedway the first 50 years. 

External links[edit]