Author Archives: Henry Chard

About Henry Chard

Digital Media Manager at Ipswich Speedway

2022 FIXTURES RELEASED

By Henry Chard

The fixtures for the 2022 Premiership season have been released, and the Witches start the year with a League Cup fixture at home to local rivals King’s Lynn at Foxhall in March.

The campaign begins with the return of the League Cup as the Witches face the Stars and Peterborough home and away in Group B with the group winner progressing to the final to meet the winner of Group A over two legs.

Attentions then turn to the league, as Ipswich face the other five teams in the division four times over the course of the season, twice at home and twice away with the top four at the end of the season qualifying for the play-offs.

The British Final will take place on 1st August at The National Speedway Stadium.

A new addition to the calendar is the Premiership Pairs which involves the top two riders from each club competing over the season with each round of the competition taking place at each Premiership track throughout the year.

All fixtures are subject to change and fixtures that are live on Eurosport will be released in the near future. 

Our full fixture list for the 2022 season can be found here.

TRU MIX TO SPONSOR IPSWICH IN 2022

By Henry Chard

The 2022 side will be known as the Ipswich ‘Tru Mix’ Witches after Guy Nicholls and the Tru7 Group renewed their title sponsorship with the club for the new season.

The Tru7 Group have been title sponsors since 2016, with the Witches showcasing the Tru Plant branch of the business since the start of the 2018 season but it is all change for 2022 with the club promoting the new arm of the business, Tru Mix.

Owner of the group Guy Nicholls explained more about the business and believes having the name associated with the Witches will help raise awareness of it.

“It is a new business that we really got going February time last year,” said Nicholls. “It is a Ready Mix Concrete supplier and also offers on-site mixing with what they call volumetric mixers where they turn up with the truck and mix how much you want at your job. We have invested quite a few million in it so far on new plants, new mixer trucks and we have got three outlets at the moment, one either side of Ipswich and one at Wetherden. The plan is to have more outlets moving forward and like the rest of the business we want to try and provide a better service and better value than our competitors.

“It’s a new name and we did this when Tru Plant came along three and a bit years ago, that was the new name to promote and get people more aware of it. With this, it fits in with the other business we do, with aggregates, plant hire and we have got an earthworks division now where we carry out earth-moving, getting sites ready for people, so it all fits together quite nicely.”

Like most businesses in the world, the global pandemic has presented challenges to the Tru7 Group but that hasn’t stopped the company from setting new targets as it continues to grow.

“We have doubled in size as a group in the last two years and what we are anticipating is doing the same again the next two years. It is a £65m a year business now and we want to get it to £125m and moving forward a £150m a year business. When Covid-19 first came along it was a very bad time for us and a scary time for everybody. I along with a lot of friends who own their own business thought we were going to lose everything, and we closed for nearly a month.

“We didn’t want to be responsible for the demise of anybody at home, it wouldn’t have been right, so we did what I think was the right thing. It cost us a load of money to do but I still think we did the right thing, you have to look beyond money sometimes, we are all human beings with families.

“By the time the government decided that construction is a job that can carry on, the problem everybody had then was they couldn’t decide whether builders were a supplier to the construction industry or retailers, so they remained shut and nobody could build anything! Then once they sorted that one out it has got busier and busier ever since, it is incredible how much work there is out there to be done and it doesn’t look like it will start easing up either.”

The Ipswich born businessman is a loyal supporter of the club and is hoping that 2022 is a successful one for promoter Chris Louis.

“I have been going to Ipswich Speedway since I was 10 years old and I’m 58 now and I still love it just as much, but we need a winning team in Ipswich. Chris must be the unluckiest promoter in the country and I genuinely mean that. Every year he assembles on paper what should be a championship winning team and every year the wheels come off!

“I’m very pleased that he has bitten the bullet, and we have spoken about this the last couple years and I imagine he has spoken with others about it too, about having an out and out top-notch number one who can drag you out of the mire on those bad nights who will hit double figures everywhere you go.

“I think it is our turn to win something. Dare I say it, but it is important to me personally as I’ve been going for years but as a business we don’t come second, we dominate every market we are in. I’m not putting down the effort put into it, but I think Chris must bang his head against a brick wall and think what have I got to do to win this league?! He deserves to win the league for the effort he has put in.”

The Tru7 Group frontman says that Louis needs no further education on the sport and is hoping that the town can recapture that winning feeling.

“I leave him alone during the season, he has got his job do and I have got mine to do. He doesn’t need any education in speedway, he has been there, and his father was the top man, a top speedway rider when riders were on big money, Tiger (John Louis) was a top man in that era when I started going. Chris doesn’t need any education about speedway. He has been a top-level rider himself and should have won a world championship, he came close to doing that, he was good enough to do it and should have but didn’t and you can’t change history.

“I desperately want to see us win for him more than anything else and for the Ipswich public. When I was young and started going, they were winning things and then in 1998 when we had Tony Rickardsson and Tomasz Gollob, the Ipswich public are used to us winning in speedway. Unfortunately, through no fault of anyone, it hasn’t happened. The football team has had a tough time in recent years, so it would be nice for someone in Ipswich to win something and put us back on the map.

“It does the town good when we are winning, most people are a football fan or a speedway fan in general, but the town needs a winning feeling, it puts us on the map. You look at Cambridge United beating Newcastle United in the FA Cup recently, it has put them on the map, and everyone was talking about them and it is a good thing for their city. It is the same for Ipswich, it would be brilliant if our speedway club could win something.”

Nicholls is delighted to have former world champion Jason Doyle in the side for the new campaign and believes Cameron Heeps has a key role to play.  

“There are some lovely people riding for Ipswich and I am a big fan of Danny King, he is just a lovely bloke. They have all been nice, you get the odd one who isn’t but that is life everywhere you go. I love Doyley, our out and out number one because he is hard as nails. If someone has got to stick the boot in, he’ll do it. Sometimes in life you have got to have your elbows out. As a business we are very aggressive, we will fight with anybody, I’ll fight with the biggest company in the country because that is the way you win.

“I think we have got the best number one in the country and he is a nice bloke, even though he won the world championship, he is not a big head or arrogant he is just a sound, grounded guy. He has worked hard and had some horrendous injuries to come back from, he is as tough as teak and that is what we need. There are some good people in that team, and I think a lot will depend on Cam this year. He proved in 2019 when he trained hard with Steve Potter that he was bloody good, and the boy can ride when he is on it and is very capable.”

The Tru7 Group have been loyal title sponsors of the club for six years and Nicholls sees no reason why their backing will stop in the near future.

“You have got to sponsor the things you like or people you are interested or whatever it may be. It is a good vehicle for getting customers and staff together to have a nice light-hearted night out and in the summer, there is nothing better to do in the evening. You can break down barriers with your customers and staff and it is great. We are pleased to be on board again and I see no reason to stop, we will keep going and it would be nice to win!”

COMPETITION DETAILS REVEALED

British Speedway is delighted to announce details of an expanded competition structure at senior level for the 2022 season.

The Premiership will stage additional events along with the regular league campaign. The Premiership will introduce the League Cup competition, with teams split into two groups of three on a regional basis.

Teams will meet once home and once away with the group winners meeting over two legs in the Final.

GROUP A: Belle Vue, Sheffield, Wolverhampton.
GROUP B: Ipswich, King’s Lynn, Peterborough.

And another addition to the calendar for the top-flight clubs is the Premiership Pairs – which, rather than taking place as a traditional one-off event, will see all clubs competing with a round staged at every track.

With the top two riders from each club involved, the new competition promises a series of high-profile clashes equivalent to Heats 13 and 15 in conventional league matches.

The British Final will once again take place at Belle Vue, with a date for that meeting to be confirmed.

British Speedway chairman Rob Godfrey said: “With the 2022 season getting underway at a much more traditional time, there was a general feeling that we do need to be staging more meetings than we did this year when we had the late start due to the pandemic.

“Both leagues have therefore added more meaningful events to their schedules with some interesting new formats and more local clashes, and I’m sure they will prove to be well supported.

“It’s also good to have more of the shared events making their return – these have always proved popular, and fingers crossed it should all add up to a far more normal year for us all!”

BRITISH SPEEDWAY 2022 UPDATE

British Speedway can now offer an update on how the 2022 season is taking shape.

The Premiership will once again consist of six teams with the top four heading into the play-offs.

There will once again be regular coverage throughout the season with broadcast partners Discovery (Eurosport).

As previously revealed, the points limit is 39 for six riders plus a Rising Star to complete each team. Each club will also track a young number eight rider.

Each team will race 20 fixtures to determine the final league positions.

There will also be an extra competition featuring every Premiership team which consequently provides more competitive fixtures for each club.

A new Premiership Pairs competition is also lined up with a round to be staged at every track.

The British Speedway Promoters Ltd Board of Directors is made up as follows: Rob Godfrey (Chairman), Damien Bates (Vice-Chairman), Chris Louis and Danny Ford.

Rob Godfrey said: “British Speedway has battled through some huge challenges over the last two years and as a group we are all very much looking forward to next year and beyond.

“Despite everything thrown at the sport, there are some extremely positive aspects of it.

“The Premiership has extremely stable clubs run by astute promoters and owners and the Championship product is enhanced by the presence of Birmingham and, of course, the return of Oxford which we are delighted about.

“The new competitions in both leagues give everyone more speedway to enjoy and we hope they will be well supported.

“Once again we would like to thank everyone who has remained so loyal to British Speedway through some particularly difficult times and we look forward to taking the sport forward in the coming years.”

BRITISH SPEEDWAY 2022 PREMIERSHIP: Belle Vue, Ipswich, King’s Lynn, Peterborough, Sheffield, Wolverhampton.

THE SCOTT NICHOLLS STORY DVD

The Scott Nicholls Story DVD is now available to purchase and makes a great stocking filler.

A fitting tribute to one of the most popular riders of his generation, Hot Shot Scottie Nicholls, as he talks in depth with the inimitable Kevin Long about his career including:

  • His 11 British clubs including footage of his four league championship winning triumphs
  • His Grand Prix career
  • His fisticuffs with Emil Sayfutdinov at Cardiff
  • His record-breaking seven British Championship successes
  • His international career with Team GB 
  • His highly successful testimonial meeting
  • His media work and his thoughts on the future of British Speedway

This is a top quality five hour production (but with a 27-year career it had to be a little on the long side) which includes lots of action of Scott racing from a 16-year-old Panther to a member of the Dad’s Army Panthers and all teams in between!

At the unbeatable price of £15 (+ £2 p/p), purchase here.

2022 WITCHES: DANYON HUME

By Henry Chard

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches have confirmed club asset Danyon Hume will return to Foxhall as the club’s number eight rider for the 2022 season.

The number eight rider has been added to squads in the Premiership next year so that young riders can gain more experience at the top level of British speedway. It has not been a common practice in British speedway in recent years, but the rider can be used in varying scenarios such as replacing injured riders or rotating riders based on form should the team manager wish to do so.

Hume last rode for the club in 2017 but has gained plenty of experience elsewhere during his time away and was part of the Championship winning Poole team in 2021.

“It will be nice to go back,” said Hume. “In the time I’ve been away I have been at Poole and have been in the National League with Leicester and I feel I have matured as a rider. Now is the right time to go back home as they say.

“Hopefully I can echo what we did with Poole this year with my new team next year. I just want to hit the ground running at the beginning of next season. A lot of work happens behind the scenes in the off-season, and I am gearing up to do the Premiership and Championship. It’s just one of those things, hopefully I’ll get a ride in the top league.”

The 25-year-old believes he has become a more consistent rider and highlighted the importance of having the right people around you to succeed in the sport.

“I have been on the bike a lot more and my scoring home and away has been more consistent. I have gone past the stage of crashing every five minutes, something just clicks. Riding with better riders every week pulls you along no end. Danny (King) has been there at the start of my career and nearly every year since I have been involved in a team with him and he is always on the end of the phone. To have him in the background is great and if you are having a bit of a bad meeting, he is someone who will be there to help you out.

“It’s about having the right people around you. I have now got a mechanic who I have used all season and it is something less you need to worry about. When you go to a track, you know how everyone is going to work and that plays a small part. I have been really enjoying my racing and it will be nice to be back at Ipswich. I have a sponsor; Lee at Bentley Auto & Tyre Centre and we have developed a really good friendship. He said wherever I go he will always support me. Ipswich is his home track, and he goes every week, it will make it for him! Without him I wouldn’t have the equipment I do.”

The Buckinghamshire-born rider secured a Premiership spot at Sheffield during the 2021 campaign and is keen for more top-flight experience.

“I signed for Sheffield at the back end of last season when they were fighting for the play-offs and I had some really good meetings. It is a track I’d only been to once or twice and it felt like I fitted into that league. You are basically riding against the same riders in the Championship anyway, so when your confidence is high in that league it just continues.

“Away from home, like at Belle Vue, I struggled a bit but since then I have invested in some newer engines which are quicker and since I have got them, I can’t get off them! At the back end of last season, I bought a couple of engines off Bjarne (Pedersen) and you have got to keep with the times, and I did need a new engine and that was a perfect buy for me.”

Hume cannot wait to get started in 2022 and is stocking up the workshop in preparation for a busy year.

“I finished the season and jumped back into work but after Christmas I will be back in the gym every other day and building up the bikes. That takes a lot of preparation, but I am going to gear myself up to do the two leagues just in case that team spot becomes permanent, and I will be ready for it. It is about getting organised and planning for being as busy as you can.

“If I can do that and have some stock in the garage like clutch plates and chains, the bits you use quite a bit. Now is the time to do it as you can financially chip away at the bits you need and when the racing is here it takes a bit of pressure off. It is little things like that, that make a big difference and I am looking forward to racing again, I have only been at work a couple of weeks but roll on March!”

2022 WITCHES: TROY BATCHELOR

By Henry Chard

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches have completed their team for the 2022 season with the signing of Troy Batchelor.

The Australian revealed that he was close to joining another club before an offer from Ipswich promoter Chris Louis changed his mind.

“Chris sent me a message thinking I was already fixed up which I was pretty close to going somewhere else, but it all worked out in the end,” said Batchelor.

The 34-year-old had a spell at Foxhall back in 2009 and admitted that being close to home was a big pulling factor in deciding to join the Suffolk side.  

“Being close to home is nice and to be paired up with Jason (Doyle) again will be nice and I pretty much know everyone in the team. It’ll be a good team and we will be able to achieve something together. I rode for Ipswich back in 2009 so I have been a Witch before so I’m coming back again, I guess!”

The former Grand Prix rider formed a formidable partnership with Jason Doyle as Swindon won the Premiership title in 2019 and is hoping for another successful year with the Witches in 2022.

“We don’t promise to win before the season starts but we will do our best. It would be nice to repeat that, but we will see how things go as we have got a few months before the season starts. It’s not about just having a good team line-up that wins, you have got to have a bit of luck and get on a winning roll. It is looking good, but we will see how things go.”

Batchelor is likely to stay in the UK this winter but says that preparations have already started for the new campaign.

“There is no such thing as relaxing when you have a kid, there is always something going on! Preparations are underway already and everything is under control. I don’t think I will be going too far away this winter. I would like to go back home and get some sun, but I don’t think that is going to happen, especially with the news about the latest Covid-19 variant, it is hard to say what the future holds. I’m planning for a good season next year and we are all ready to go.”

2022 WITCHES: ERIK RISS

By Henry Chard

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches have signed Erik Riss for the 2022 season.

Riss has spent the last few seasons with East Anglian rivals King’s Lynn but has made the move across the border in search of a new challenge in Suffolk.

“I joined King’s Lynn in 2018 halfway through the year and became an asset at the end of that season,” said Riss. “So, I’ve spent two and a half years there and last year didn’t really go to plan. I had big aspirations and expectations of myself and it didn’t go to plan for several reasons.

“At the end of the season both sides agreed it would be good for me to go elsewhere and have a new challenge. I had other offers, but Ipswich was my first choice as I really like the track and have always scored well there. It will be important for me to ride a track I enjoy as when I enjoy my riding I do well.”

The German rider has had many fruitful visits to Foxhall as a visiting rider and is eager to come back stronger after a difficult 2021.

“Every time I have been to Ipswich as a visiting rider, I don’t think I have ever scored any lower than eight. I have always done well there and enjoy riding it, it is always well prepared, and it is a nice racetrack. I can’t wait to ride it every week and especially after the season I had, I am really eager to get going next year.

“I am making some changes with equipment and I feel confident. Last year was probably the worst I have had so far in my UK career and it was probably the year I had the biggest aspirations for. Going into the season with King’s Lynn my goal was to end up as number one which I was, but I ended up dropping my average at the end of the year which was hard to take. I’m not going to give up, that’s life you have ups and downs. When you have downs you are even more motivated to do better, and I feel confident I will come back next year better than ever.”

The 26-year-old is solely focused on winning races next year and does not mind what position he is riding at in the team.

“I do have goals; everyone would like to be number one in the team but personally I just go into every meeting wanting to win every time I go on track. I focus on that and what’s in front of me and don’t think about being number one, although that is always in the back of my mind, I want to be the best that I can.

“If you are number one you are best in the team but I’m not going into the team saying I want to be number one because there is no competition in our team, we are a team and we have to work together. It doesn’t matter which number I am I want to go out on track and win my races and that is the goal all the time.”

Riss is back in his homeland for the winter and is beginning to start training again after an operation.

“I had surgery three weeks ago on my groin as I had a problem there, so I am still recovering from that but am slowly taking up training again. I will spend my winter in Germany, I might be working a bit for my dad who has a carpentry business, so I will probably help him out.

“The focus will be on training as always; the off season is the time to make a step ahead and get better than you were the year before. The more work you put in in the off-season the better you will be when the season starts. It’s always the same, after every season you try to get better, fitter, lighter, it is always the same in speedway.”

2022 SEASON TICKETS ON SALE

Season Tickets for the 2022 season are now on sale as the Ipswich ‘Tru Plant’ Witches set their sights on Premiership glory.

You can buy your season ticket online, here. Alternatively, you can download a season ticket form here. Season tickets are available to buy until 31st March 2022 and are priced at £205 for Adults and £180 for Concessions, with Grandstand seats priced at £25.

There are three ways to pay. Online via the link provided above, you can visit the stadium on 11th December between 10am-1pm and pay in person or you can post your completed form with a cheque to: Mr M Styles, 7 Penshurst Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP3 8QZ. Please make all cheques payable to: IPSWICH SPEEDWAY PROMOTIONS LTD.

Your season tickets will be issued at the first meeting of the 2022 season and will cover all of our league and cup fixtures. This does not include any semi-finals or finals. However, you will still be able to purchase your tickets for these events at the season ticket gate.

Concession tickets are available to those who held a 2021 concession season ticket or those who are over the age of 65 on or before 15th March 2022.

Proof of age is required for all first-time concession applicants, this can include a copy of your passport, driving licence or birth certificate. This can be provided when you collect your ticket.

Season tickets are transferable. ID and proof of age will be required for concession tickets not bearing the holder’s name and may not be used to discount an adult admission.

With your season ticket you can claim 10% discount on all Ipswich ‘Tru Plant’ Witches clothing at the Track Shop and 10% off your first appointment at Keep Well.

Season Tickets do not include a programme.

2022 WITCHES: DANNY KING

By Henry Chard

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches have confirmed the return of skipper Danny King for the 2022 season.

King has been with the club for the past six seasons and the new campaign will be his thirteenth in Suffolk, so it is no surprise to hear the captain speak at length of his love for Ipswich.

“It is an easy decision for me, and I think the feeling is mutual,” said King. “Everyone knows how fond I am of the club and I always go back to it, but they gave me my chance when I was 16 years old and put me straight in at the deep end in the Elite League back then and I firmly believe that made me the rider I am today as that brought me on so much.

“I didn’t want to leave Ipswich in the first place when they dropped down years ago, but I wasn’t ready to, so I went off and went to Birmingham and things like that. When I came back to Ipswich when I was allowed to double-up it was an easy decision, it is my home, and it is where I always want to be. When it comes round to the end of the season Chris (Louis) is aware, I want to come back and it is nice that he feels the same, so it is an easy deal.

“Chris and John (Louis) looked after me and Chris has always been someone I’ve gone to for advice in speedway whether I’m riding for him or not. He is someone I’ve felt comfortable around and I know that he will steer me in the right direction if I’m ever unsure. We have built up such a relationship now it just works, we are like a family really.”

The 35-year-old enjoyed a tremendous season on a personal level in 2021 but his dream remains to win a trophy in Ipswich colours.

“I don’t know if it is because the season started later but normally come October I have had enough after a long hard year but this year things were going well, and I was disappointed when it finished. My dream is to win silverware with Ipswich, and I will do my upmost to make that happen as I do every year.”

The 2016 British champion has already begun preparations for the new season and is excited by the team the management have put together so far.

“We have started stripping bikes now which is good, and we are back in the workshop this week getting everything else stripped and sorted. Then we will start ordering new bike parts and getting ready to build bikes in January and then it is a case of going around and catching up with sponsors and giving them some thank you gifts, the usual stuff at this time of year. I’m a big family man and Christmas is a time for them and that is a couple of weeks I really enjoy.

“I’m really pleased with the team; it is solid from top to bottom, and I think it is going to be good. We are yet to see how it is going to be finished but so far so good!”