British Speedway clubs have agreed a start date of early May for the 2021 season with fixtures to be published next week for both the Premiership and Championship.
Plans are in place for a new concept in both leagues with more details to follow. The plans have been made to adapt to the current situation regarding Polish restrictions on the amount of leagues riders can race in, plus the ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic.
There is a clear pathway for the development of British Speedway and young British riders, not just in 2021 but in the years ahead.
In addition, whilst there is disappointing news about losing Swindon and Somerset for 2021, these decisions have been made by these clubs to protect their futures from 2022 onwards. They will be welcomed back into the sport next year.
Another club has expressed an interest in joining the Championship and this will be explored in due course.
More details regarding the 2021 season will be revealed alongside our broadcast partners Eurosport in the coming days.
We will bring you club reaction next week from promoter Chris Louis once more details have been released.
These new productions include the very best races, the most spectacular crashes and the funniest moments that ReRun Productions have filmed over the last 30 years.
And they have had their little elves working all hours to have them ready for speedway-starved customers this Christmas.
And the best news of all is that they have a very special Christmas offer. The boxset is normally priced at £120 but with this Christmas offer you can buy yours for £80, a fantastic 33% saving for loyal customers.
The biggest and best collection of spectacular speedway action is now available at your fingertips.
ReRun Productions have used the latest technology to upload their entire catalogue to Vimeo and you can now view over 5,000 productions on any device of your choice and the best news is that all of these productions are just 50% of the DVD price!
They have filmed many memorable events over the years including the last ever one-off World Final at Vojens in 1994, the epic Grand Prix Challenges, the British Grand Prix from the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff from 2001 until 2006 and many other brilliant domestic meetings.
Take a look back in time to see some of the greats of British Speedway such as Tony Rickardsson, Hans Nielsen, Tai Woffinden, Nicki Pedersen, Erik Gundersen, Mark Loram, Sam Ermolenko, Greg Hancock, Darcy Ward, Ivan Mauger, Barry Briggs, Leigh Adams, Tomasz Gollob and many others!
If you are stuck for an idea of what to buy your loved ones for Christmas, birthdays, or any special occasion, ReRun can help as they now offer gift vouchers.
They have gift vouchers to the value of £5, £10, £20, £50 and £100 which may be purchased through Paypal or alternatively you can call them on 01227 452420 and they will send out the Gift Voucher immediately.
If you’re looking for Christmas gift ideas, take a look at the Ipswich Witches merchandise range online here. With teamwear, face masks, hats, scarves and more, there’s plenty to choose from to fill those Christmas stockings!
The Supporters Club are launching their first ever Witches Legends calendar for 2021, kindly sponsored by Premier Logos and Firepower. Featuring (amongst others) John Louis, Chris Louis, Tony Davey, Billy Sanders, Danny King & Ron Bagley, this calendar is a must for all Witches fans.
The cost per calendar is £7.50 inclusive of post and packaging. Cheques should be payable to ‘Save Our Speedway’. We can confirm that 100% of the profit is for the benefit of the Save Our Speedway Fund only. They can be purchased online here or obtained from ISSC, 7 Penshurst Road, Ipswich, IP3 8QZ. Calendars will be posted once we receive them from the printers.
Kris Page Photography has launched a set of Witches artwork prints and is donating £5.00 to the ‘Save Our Speedway’ fund for each print sold. To date, Kris has raised £55.00 which is very much appreciated. Full details of the prints can be found here.
1st Rory Schlein 2nd Richard Lawson 3rd Jason Crump
Qualifying scores: Rory Schlein 12, Richard Lawson 11, Richie Worrall 11, Jason Crump 11, Chris Harris 10, Steve Worrall 10, Drew Kemp 8, Danny King 8, Ben Barker 8, Lewis Kerr 7, Paul Starke 7, Josh Auty 5, Tom Brennan 5, Dan Thompson 3, Josh Bates 2, Joe Thompson 2, Ben Woodhull (res) 0.
Semi-final: Crump, S. Worrall, Harris, R. Worrall
Final: Schlein, Lawson, Crump, S. Worrall
REFEREE: Graham Flint
VENUE: National Speedway Stadium
Ipswich ‘Tru Plant’ Witches rider Jason Crump finished third in the 2020 British Final at the National Speedway Stadium on Monday.
Crump finished on 11 points after 20 qualifying heats but progressed to the final after winning the semi-final. However, he couldn’t stop fellow Australian Rory Schlein from becoming the first overseas winner of the event since Ivan Mauger in 1972. Witches duo Drew Kemp and Danny King both scored eight points in qualifying just missing out on the semi-final.
Former Witches man Chris Harris suffered machinery problems before heat one even started with two bikes letting him down and he missed the two-minute time allowance before being replaced by reserve Ben Woodhull. Lewis Kerr won from the gate in the wet conditions with Witches skipper King tucked in behind for second and Kemp picking up a point in third. Crump was out in heat three as the drizzle continued to fall in Manchester and he picked up two points after finishing behind race winner Richard Lawson.
Crump produced a majestic ride to win heat five as he was the first man to venture out into the wetter outside line and it worked a treat for the Australian as he gathered the pace to pass Ben Barker on the second lap and win in convincing fashion. Kemp followed Crump’s lead in heat six as he built up speed on the back straight of the opening lap to round Dan Thompson on the fourth turn and he went on and won by some distance. King was out in heat seven and he picked up another two points behind Lawson who continued his perfect start.
A smart move from Kemp in the first turn enabled him to pick up a point in heat 10 as he nipped up the inside of Tom Brennan to take third as Steve Worrall won ahead of Paul Starke. Crump produced another fantastic ride to win heat 11 as he worked his way past Josh Bates and Dan Thompson on the opening lap having been pushed out wide in the opening turn with King finishing at the back.
Kemp continued his impressive night with a race win in heat 14 as he flew from the gate one to beat Barker, Lawson and Bates, becoming the first man to beat Lawson in the process. King finished third in heat 15 behind Steve Worrall and Schlein, which all but ended his chances of lifting the trophy for the second time in his career. Crump made the gate in heat 16 but was passed by both Harris and Josh Auty, meaning he had to settle for a point.
Schlein got the better of Crump on the opening lap of heat 18 to win and seal his place in the final, with Kemp at the back, meaning the youngster would just miss out on a place in the semi-final. King won heat 19 with ease from the gate but it wasn’t enough to secure himself a place in the semi-final either.
Crump booked his place in the final as he won the semi-final comfortably from the gate but there was drama behind him as Richie Worrall fell on the final turn whilst in second, allowing his brother Steve through to join Crump in the final.
Schlein won the final with relative ease ahead of Lawson as Crump claimed a spot on the rostrum.
Speedway bosses have taken the decision to move the British Final to Monday 28th September and it will now take place at the National Speedway Stadium in Manchester.
The event was due to take place at Foxhall Stadium on Saturday 26th September, but Ipswich ‘Tru Plant’ Witches promoter Chris Louis has revealed how he cannot guarantee the Foxhall track will be ready after rain for the last three days and more forecast throughout Saturday.
And following the huge success of Belle Vue’s streamed event on Thursday night, the Aces have stepped forward to host the showpiece meeting on Monday night.
British Speedway Promoters Ltd vice chairman Damien Bates said: “It’s extremely disappointing for Chris and Ipswich as a club to miss out on the meeting, it’s been a stressful and time-consuming exercise for him to put this on.
“As a board we are all agreed on putting this event on. Everything that has been against us will be overcome. We are taking a financial risk with no fans and we wanted to give the meeting the very best chance to go ahead. We thank Belle Vue for their co-operation and support.”
Chris Louis added: “Everything has been against us and the weather was the final nail. It’s a showpiece event with an online audience and we want it to be spot on.
“By moving to Belle Vue on Monday with a good weather forecast this gives us that opportunity. It’s a great disappointment for Ipswich Speedway but we are right behind the event and want it to be a big success in these testing times.”
The 2020 British Final takes place behind closed doors at the National Speedway Stadium on Monday 28th September, starting at 7.30pm, available to watch live via Sport Central. Stream tickets are priced at £12.95 with registration and email verification required before purchase.
1. Lewis Kerr 2.Drew Kemp 3. Danny King 4. Chris Harris 5. Steve Worrall 6. Josh Auty 7. Richie Worrall 8. Josh Bates 9. Jason Crump 10. Joe Thompson 11. Richard Lawson 12. Tom Brennan 13. Ben Barker 14. Dan Thompson 15. Paul Starke 16. Rory Schlein.
REFEREE: Graham Flint
VENUE: National Speedway Stadium
Due to the government’s latest announcement on Tuesday, this event will take place behind closed doors. No supporters will be allowed to enter the stadium. Those supporters who purchased tickets will be issued refunds automatically. Official programmes are priced at £5 and can still be purchased here.
WHAT’S THE STORY?
The Ipswich ‘Tru Plant’ Witches are represented at Monday’s British Final by club captain Danny King, Jason Crump and Drew Kemp. The government announced that it would be used as one of the sporting events used to pilot the safe return of spectators to elite sport back in early August, with Foxhall originally selected as the venue due to its experience in hosting events with spectators during the pandemic. There have been many bumps in the road in the build-up to the event with the government cutting the spectator numbers to 1,000 after tickets had already gone on sale. Just days before the event, it was announced that plans for fans to return to watch live sports events in England would not go ahead and the pilot programme would be paused, meaning that the 1,000 supporters would no longer be able to attend. Then on Friday 25th September, one day before the event was due to take place, speedway bosses took the decision to move the event to Monday 28th September at the National Speedway Stadium with Witches promoter Chris Louis unable to guarantee the Foxhall track would be ready after heavy rain during the week in Ipswich and more forecast throughout Saturday. Now, after all of that, all eyes turn to the action on the track.
Club captain King will be hoping to lift the title for a second time in his career having become British champion in 2016 at the National Speedway Stadium. The skipper finished second at the same venue last season and will be keen to go one better this time around. Perhaps the biggest news ahead of the event was the announcement that Crump would take his place in the line-up after he was handed a wildcard by the British Speedway Promoters Ltd. Born in Bristol, Crump has represented Australia during his professional career and fans all over the world will be keen to see how the three-time world champion fares in his first official competitive outing in Britain since he announced his retirement in 2012. The third Witch going for the title is youngster Kemp and he goes into the event in high spirits having retained his British Under-19 title at Scunthorpe recently. Kemp has been on the bike more than most in 2020, having ridden for Great Britain Under 21s and in the European Under-19 Championship amongst other events. It will be his first taste of the British Final, but he will be relishing the experience.
There are some notable names missing from this year’s line-up with no Tai Woffinden, Robert Lambert, Craig Cook, Charles Wright, Dan Bewley or Scott Nicholls with Adam Ellis out injured. Amongst the field are former Witches riders Chris Harris, Richard Lawson, Rory Schlein, Lewis Kerr, Ben Barker and Richie Worrall who will all have ambitions of becoming British number one. We wish all three ‘Tru Plant’ Witches the best and hope that the trophy is brought back to Foxhall once again.
FROM THE MANAGER…
‘Tru Plant’ Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins looks ahead to Monday’s event…
“I’m really looking forward to the final. I believe the meeting should be a cracker. The lack of racing the riders have had really evens things up but the boys will get a practice beforehand if they want it. It will be very open which will make it an exciting meeting. Hopefully it will be well worth it for those watching on the stream.
“Danny is a former champion and came second last year’s final after topping the scores in qualifying. This meeting is wide open, and it is all on the day, but he will have high aspirations of getting that title back and he will feel he has a great opportunity to do that.
“Jason is still an unknown, with it being his first competitive meeting back, that is going to be very interesting to see how he gets on and I’m sure he will improve as the meeting goes on. It opens up a different angle to the meeting and it is something for everyone to look forward to as we see how he gets on.
“Drew is one of the few guys that has been racing and he has been abroad getting some meetings in and still making the most of this year where he could. Drew is more than capable of doing very well in the British Final but a lot of it will come down to what sort of pressure he puts on himself with it being his first senior British Final. Realistically he couldn’t have had a better chance to make his debut this year, as it will be the least pressure you could possibly have. Hopefully he sees that as a positive and makes the most of it. There is a chance he could put too much pressure on himself, but it is a great opportunity for Drew, he could potentially do very very well but that will be down to how his mindset is, I guess.
With some of Britain’s biggest names missing and with most of the field having barely turned a wheel in 2020, the competition is wide open. There is no form to judge heading into the event, so it is anyone’s guess who could walk away with the historic trophy. Ipswich captain King finished second in Manchester last year and will fancy his chances again this year. Australians Rory Schlein and Crump will be hoping to be the first overseas winner of the event since Ivan Mauger in 1972. Three-time British champion Chris Harris finished fourth last year in Manchester and Belle Vue rider Steve Worrall will be hard to beat on his home track. Add into the mix Lewis Kerr who scored well at last Thursday’s challenge match at Belle Vue and you will be no nearer to picking a favourite!
NATIONAL SPEEDWAY STADIUM
The National Speedway Stadium track measures at 347 metres with the track record belonging to Dan Bewley who set a time of 58.18 in August of 2019. For more information about the stadium head to Belle Vue’s official website.
Ipswich ‘Tru Plant’ Witches captain Danny King is hoping to win the British Final for the second time in his career at his home track on Saturday 26th September.
The skipper, who like most has not raced competitively since March, managed to get some practice laps in at Foxhall this week as well as Thursday night’s challenge match at Belle Vue ahead of the showpiece event on Saturday.
“Speedway wise, we are ready to go,” said King. “The bikes have been ready since press day and I did have a spin with Poole at Leicester when we were hopeful that the season was going to start in August. Obviously since then nothing has happened, so I have been off the bike 2-3 months I suppose until this week. We’ve been rushing around trying to get some practice in which hasn’t been easy with these local lockdowns but we will be ready and raring to go.”
King won the title in 2016 at the National Speedway Stadium and is hoping that he comes out on top again in the different circumstances.
“It is tricky, everyone is in the same boat. It is not normal circumstances but then it is not normal for anyone. I will go there prepared the best I can be as always and hopefully it will be my night. This is speedway though and anything can happen certainly when you haven’t done much riding.”
The 34-year-old is pleased that the meeting is being held at Foxhall but does not think he will benefit from home track advantage on this occasion.
“It’s brilliant for Ipswich Speedway as a club and even Ipswich as a town, it is great. For me, it is a bit more pressure, people are expecting me to do well. As I say, I am not going to have much advantage because I have not ridden, like everyone else. It is not like I have been doing more laps than anyone else around there, not this year anyway!”
King, like everyone in the world, has had to adapt to the ‘new normal’ that we live in and has been working for one of his sponsors in the absence of a speedway season in Britain.
“It’s been a very tough year for everyone and that includes myself. At the start I was off with the children with my wife being a key worker worked the whole way through. That was difficult but it was fine and now we are at a stage where both boys are back to school which is great and the wife is back to school and that has freed me up to do some work which is nice. I am currently doing some work with one of my sponsors and I am just trying to keep out of trouble and keep my head above water really.”
Live stream available here. (£12.95) Programme available here.(£5)