By Henry Chard

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches have been forced into a late team change days before the start of the season with Jake Allen replacing Nicolai Klindt in the 2021 line-up.

Klindt’s commitments riding in Poland and Denmark have made it difficult to ride in Britain at the moment due to the ongoing travel restrictions in Europe caused by coronavirus meaning he would not be available for a number of Ipswich fixtures.

Allen was named in the 2020 line-up before the season was cancelled but communicated he would not be racing in Britain in 2021 back in January due to the uncertainty surrounding the new campaign. However, with racing set to start the Australian changed his mind and travelled to Britain to sign with Redcar in the Championship earlier this month.

With the 25-year-old now available to ride in Britain, the management took the decision to bring him in as a replacement for Klindt and promoter Chris Louis explained the reasons behind the decision.

“We’ve obviously made a late call with Nicolai’s position in the team because Nicolai wanted to be in it and we wanted him to be in it but with the European travel situation things just haven’t moved quick enough to allow him to be in the team consistently,” said Louis. “In fact, at the moment he would miss more meetings than he would be able to make with his Danish and Polish commitments.

“The crux of the matter is not just riding in Poland but in Denmark as well, that’s the biggest issue, so we will not be able to travel him around. From my point of view, I would like to see a settled 1-7 and I know the gaffer wants a settled 1-7 and wants to work with the same guys for every meeting week in week out.

“As soon as Jake made the decision to come back to the UK, we started to look at our options and Jake is our best option. Jake was part of the team last season and had his best meetings at the end of the season and if he continues that form, he will do a good job in that role. All in all, it is the right thing to do for the club and the team.

“Jake was making improvements and he’s shown that in the meetings he’s done in Australia, he’s been very good. We’re confident that he is continuing his progress at the right time to come in and do a good job for us.”

The Queenslander will not be able to take his place in the side for the season opener with King’s Lynn on Monday due to administration issues, with rider replacement in operation for the outgoing Klindt on the night, but there is hope that Allen will be available for the first home meeting of the season against Belle Vue on May 20.

“It’s unfortunate that due to the timing of it and all the paperwork involved and everything being so slow because of Covid and many more visas being required by Europeans and things that we haven’t been able to include him in the team for the first meeting at King’s Lynn. Everything is now in place and it’s almost 100% certain that he’ll be able to ride at Foxhall against Belle Vue.”

Similarly to Allen, compatriot Jordan Stewart will be unable to make his debut as a Witch in the East Anglian derby opener on Monday due to delays surrounding his visa with a guest booked in his place. However, once again, there is hope he will make his bow at Foxhall against the Aces.

“Due to a situation that was brought about by Covid, Jordan’s visa application for his primary visa which will be held by Redcar has been delayed. It wasn’t accepted until this Tuesday so we are only now able to set the wheels in motion and again, very unfortunately it means he will miss our first meeting at King’s Lynn but he will almost certainly be in the side for our first home meeting.”