Ipswich Witches

Ipswich Witches
Club information
Track address Foxhall Stadium
Country England
Founded 1950
Team manager Ritchie Hawkins
Team captain Danny King
League Premier League
Website www.ipswichwitches.co
Club facts
Colours Blue, White and Black
Track size 285 metres (312 yd)
Track record time 55.8seconds
Track record date 15 October 2016
Track record holder Danny King
Current team
Rider CMA
England Danny King 9.54
Italy Nicolás Covatti 7.55
Denmark Morten Risager 6.86
England Lewis Kerr 6.85
England James Sarjeant 4.88
Italy Paco Castagna 3.33
England Darryl Ritchings 3.00
Total 42.01
Major team honours
British League Champions1975, 1976, 1984
Elite League Champions1998
British League Pairs Champions1976, 1977
Craven Shield Winners1998
British League KO Cup1976, 1978, 1981, 1984
Elite League KO Cup1998
British League Div 2 KO Cup1970, 1971
Spring Gold Cup1976
Inter-League KO Cup1977
Premier League Four-Team Champions2011
Premier League Pairs Champions2015

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 (first race 7.45pm).

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


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 Premier League Four-Team Championship (the Final was staged at Leicester).

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 Premier League 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. An early exit from the KO Cup at the hands of the Workington Comets was tempered by qualification for the League Cup semi-finals, and the Final itself was reached with an aggregate victory against the Edinburgh Monarchs. Although Barker didn't show the hoped-for dominance, the overall team had strength in depth - reflected by their best eve PL position as runners-up to the Somerset rebels. However, after defeating Newcastle in the first leg of the League Cup Final at Foxhall, the season ended miserably with five consecutive defeats - a 27-65 thrashing at Newcastle surrendered the League Cup, and no results against either Scunthorpe Scorpions or Edinburgh Monarchs in the play-off mini-group.

2014 produced a similar story, Richie Worrall joined as the new #1, and highly rated American prospect Gino Manzares was the other new face. Once again the Witches were a solid septet, finishing 3rd in the PL table and reaching the KO Cup Final. The mini play-off group with Scunthorpe & Somerset ended with two home wins, but no points from away fixtures. The KO Cup Final was another runners-up medal, as the Witches were dominated both home & away by the Edinburgh Monarchs.

On to 2015 - to be continued ...

2015 Team


2014 Team

2013 Team


2012 Team


2011 Team

Also rode:

2010 Team

Also rode:

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

2009 Team

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

Also Rode:

2008 Team

Also Rode:

Notable Ipswich riders



External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/15/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.