Author Archives: Henry Chard

About Henry Chard

Digital Media Manager at Ipswich Speedway

2020 WITCHES…NICO COVATTI

By Henry Chard

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches welcome back Nico Covatti to Foxhall as he becomes the sixth member of the 2020 team.

The popular rider first joined the club in 2015 and spent four consecutive seasons in Suffolk before he moved to Poole in 2019 but he is glad to be back at Ipswich for the new season.

“I am very happy, it’s what I had hoped for,” said Covatti. “I was hoping for a call from Ipswich because I wanted to return. I had a few opportunities to race at Ipswich last season, once as a guest and I scored well. The track was good as it always is. It is a good home advantage there because most riders don’t like the track, they struggle on this type of track and can’t adapt. It was an easy decision when Chris (Louis) called because it was it was what I wanted.”

The 31-year-old says that Foxhall feels like his speedway home and a year away from the club made him realise how well run the club is.

“This season will be my fifth with the club, I feel at home here both on the track and with the people at the club like Chris, Ritchie (Hawkins) and Danny (King), who has spent a lot of years racing here and is a great captain and friend. I have a good relationship with fans and people at the club, people are always ready to help you.

“I had a change last year at Poole because I needed it and needed to see other things. Obviously, I realised it was good at Ipswich and a lot of the things we have at Ipswich are not there at other clubs. The important thing is to feel at home, and this happens when you spend a few years at a club. The organisation at the club is fantastic and it is very professional, this helps a rider a lot and there are not many other clubs in England as professional as Ipswich.”

Covatti, who will also double up with Kent Kings in the Championship in 2020, reflected on a mixed year with the Pirates last season.

“It was good because I went to different tracks and clubs, but the results were not fantastic. I was not that happy with my season. I was consistent but in reality, I can do a lot more. At Poole I couldn’t achieve that, and it was a track that had a few difficulties each week and I couldn’t find the setup which caused me problems throughout the season. When I returned to Ipswich last season it was very good and I realised that my home was at Ipswich. I was thinking about the future and 2020 and I was hoping to have the opportunity to return to Ipswich and luckily it happened.”

Covatti starts the year on a 5.27 average and has targeted winning the title after a few near-misses in recent years.

“I want to win the league, last year with Poole we lost in the play-offs against Ipswich. The year before that I lost with Somerset and so I am waiting to win the league and I would like to do that with Ipswich, a place where I have spent the most years racing in England. Ipswich have become a strong team in recent years, and I think we can do it. It’s a long season so we will see how it goes.

“Personally, I will continue doing all my European racing and all the Grand Prix qualifiers which are very important. Last year I had a good meeting in Glasgow in the qualifier where I missed out on the GP Challenge by a point, so the ambition is to go one better on that front.”

The Argentinian who races on an Italian licence has flown home to South America this week but will be keeping race-sharp during his trip.

“On 7th January I will go home to Argentina to visit my family with all my family here in Italy coming too. It has been a year or so since I saw them and have been home so we will make the most of the Argentinean summer and relax a little. I am going to compete in the Argentinean Championship which starts on 11th January and I will be in seven or eight meetings. I want to use this as training before I return to Italy in February to get the bikes ready for England.”

2020 Season Tickets are now available to purchase, all the details can be found here.

2020 team: Danny King ©, Nicolai Klindt, Cameron Heeps, Jake Allen, Danny Ayres, Nico Covatti

TRU PLANT BACK ON BOARD FOR 2020

By Henry Chard

Ipswich Speedway is delighted to confirm that their sponsorship with Guy Nicholls and Tru7.com will continue in 2020 with the team being known once again as the Ipswich ‘Tru Plant’ Witches.

Long-term partner sponsors RN Euston also continue their backing of the club in the new year.

The Tru7 Group have been title sponsors since 2016 and the Witches have been showcasing the ‘Tru Plant’ branch of the business since the start of the 2018 season.

Promoter Chris Louis says having the support of Tru Plant in 2020 is vital to their Premiership title bid after they finished as runners-up in 2019.

“Having our two long term sponsors returning to support us in 2020 is a massive boost to the club,” said Louis. “We will once again be known as the Ipswich ‘Tru Plant’ Witches as we look to go one better next season.  No one wants to bring success and trophies back to the club and the town more than Guy Nicholls and having the support of Guy and his group of companies is pivotal to our dream of winning silverware at the highest level of British Speedway.

“Guy is a massive supporter of the sport of Speedway but being an Ipswich man born and bred he knows the club inside out. His support is far more than financial and it’s great to have this family run business on board once again.” 

Louis also praised the continued support of RN Euston and says that the support of local companies is part of the make-up of the club.

“Also remaining with the club is another long-term supporter of the Witches, RN Euston who are another family run construction company based in Creeting St Mary, just outside Ipswich.  Mark Euston and his family have given us their backing for many seasons now. 

“Supporting us on the terraces through thick and thin, nothing pleases me more than to see their smiling faces after a victory on a Thursday night.  We are a family run club and having the backing of these family run businesses is a big part of who we are.” 

Tru Plant

Website                                 

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

Phone: 01473 612 761

Email:  enquiries@tru7.com 

RN Euston

Website

Phone: 01449 720256

Email: m.euston@sky.com

2020 WITCHES…DANNY AYRES

By Henry Chard

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches have confirmed the signing of Danny Ayres as he becomes the fifth member of the team for 2020.

Ayres enjoyed an impressive season with Scunthorpe in the Championship last year and said that Ipswich was his preferred choice of clubs to ride for if he got a Premiership call-up.

“I wouldn’t say I was surprised but I was glad,” said Ayres. “Nothing had been in the pipeline, but I felt that I had improved enough this year to warrant a call and luckily the top of the wish list called! I didn’t mess about and grabbed it with both hands. I am over the moon and I feel this is the place where I will be taken to the next level.”

The 33-year-old came to many people’s attention at the 2019 British Final after a thrilling performance and the new signing is an entertainer on and off the track.

“I love doing what I do, you can’t buy that feeling when you win a race. It is natural to me, and I suppose I am quite lucky as no one else does it so it singles me out which is ideal! I am trying to make massive strides in the sport, and I adore what I do. It is a natural feeling what happens, and people love it.”

Ayres guested at Foxhall for the Witches in 2016, scoring 10+1 from reserve and also wore the Witches race jacket at Peterborough last season and he is relishing the prospect of racing at Foxhall every week in 2020.

“I have had some very good meetings there, I guested there and only dropped a couple of points. It is a man’s track and you are going to have to learn how to ride grip week in week out. That is what I want to do, I want to learn how to control the bike in the deepest of dirt because that is where you can make it or break it in the sport. Anyone can ride around on a slick track, it’s about getting close to that fence and bouncing off it. I want to learn, and I think it is a family unit there. When I guested at Peterborough last season I felt right at home and I am buzzing.”

The Suffolk-born racer was a latecomer to the sport starting his speedway career in 2014 and he explained how he made the switch from motocross.

“My mum’s side of the family, my gran and my auntie, who is a massive part of my life now, they are massive supporters of speedway and went to Mildenhall all the time. I was a motocross rider, I went and watched Mildenhall a few times, but I didn’t know anything about it until I started riding. I was watching it a little bit, Mark Loram and Chris Holder are the ones who came to me when I started watching it.

“The truth is I saw Lewis Blackbird riding for Eastbourne on TV, and I used to race motocross with Lewis. I always thought I was supposed to do something on a motorbike, so I got hold of Lewis and he put me on to Russell Paine from Ride n Slide and that is how is all started. I then bought a bike and it went bang in two laps. I then sat around for five months waiting for a call from Sean Wilson to go and pick up the bike. I did it a handful of times and then signed for Kent Kings and we haven’t looked back since.”

Ayres has had prior Premiership experience with Leicester in 2017 but feels that he is now ready to make the step up with Ipswich in 2020 as he arrives on a 3.36 average.

“I feel I am ready for it. Before, you were there because you were the best of the rest. Now I think I am ready to go at it and I am over the moon to have it all sorted and I can’t wait to get the season started really.

“I think the team looks great, I am buzzing with it. Personal goals will be just to improve throughout the season. Next year there isn’t any set goals, I could say I am going to go and get the number one jacket, but it probably isn’t going to happen next year, but I tell you what I will give it a good go! The goal is to hold my place, have a good year, show what I can do and hopefully be a gamechanger. I am going there with all guns firing.”

2020 Season Tickets are now available to purchase, all the details can be found here.

2020 team: Danny King ©, Nicolai Klindt, Cameron Heeps, Jake Allen, Danny Ayres

2020 WITCHES…DANNY KING

By Henry Chard

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches captain Danny King will once again lead the side in 2020 after his return to the club was confirmed.

King has been with the club for the past five seasons and next season will be his twelfth in total at Foxhall. The skipper has made no secret of his love for the club in recent years.

“It is where I want to be, I don’t want to be anywhere else,” said King. “I am pleased they wanted me back and I’m looking forward to wearing the Witch on my chest once again.

“It is a club close to my heart. I started my career here and I firmly believe they are the reason I have reached the level I have got to in my career because they gave me that chance when I was younger. It feels like home and I always want to ride for Ipswich and happily I am.”

“Don’t get me wrong it can be good to have some time away, Cam (Heeps) and I both did it and we both came back better riders. That is nothing against any club, but loyalty is very rare, and I think you can see that in myself and Cam.”

The skipper will start 2020 with a 6.66 average and says he does not mind what number he rides at in the team.

“I just like winning, I look at myself as a heat leader and I am always pushing myself to that. Last season I was pushing to get to number one and if we hadn’t signed Niels (Kristian Iversen) I would have gone to number one. Although I didn’t feel like I had a great year, it was certainly a successful one after having a year off. I want to keep pushing myself in 2020.”

The 33-year-old will also race for Poole in the Championship after the Dorset club made the drop down a division and it is a challenge that King is relishing.

“It is a very historic club who have had a lot of success and maybe there will be a bit more pressure at a club like that. I love challenges and I am going to tackle this one with both hands and enjoy my time there.”

The 2016 British champion joins Cameron Heeps, Jake Allen and Nicolai Klindt in the team and believes the 2020 side has what it takes to go one better next season and become Premiership champions.

“Chris (Louis) and Ritchie (Hawkins) have been working really hard to put a competitive team together and I think we can compete like we did last year at the top end of the table.

“Swindon were the better team in last season’s play-off final, they made the changes at the right time and pushed hard. It was like they had an extra man at the end of the year, they were well over the team average limit and we were under and it was so tough against such a strong outfit. It didn’t finish how we wanted but I certainly believe we can do it next year.”

There is only one thing on King’s mind for the new season as he targets trophies for himself and his teams.

“I want silverware. In last year’s British Final, I won the meeting but came second in the final, which was hard. I want to go one better there and that is the same at Ipswich. We made the final last year, so the play-offs are the first target. We want to bring some silverware back to Foxhall, that is a huge goal of mine. It’s the same with Poole, I just want to win trophies.”

The Witches rider will head on holiday after Christmas before attentions turn to the new campaign.

“We will have a family holiday which will be nice. Other than that, is it business as usual, getting fit and building bikes. I like to get my bikes done pretty early and I will be looking to get on a bike at the end of February weather permitting.”

2020 Season Tickets are now available to purchase, all the details can be found here. Supporters wishing to buy their ticket in person can do so on Saturday 21st December between 10am-1pm at Foxhall Stadium with hot drinks and mince pies on offer.

2020 WITCHES…NICOLAI KLINDT

By Henry Chard

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches are delighted to welcome Nicolai Klindt to the club after he was announced as the third signing for 2020.

Klindt joins Jake Allen and Cameron Heeps in the line-up after making the switch from Poole with the Dorset club dropping down to the Championship this winter. The Danish rider was not short of options for the new year and explained why he chose Ipswich.

“I had a fair bit of interest from most clubs in the league due to having a good season with Poole and suddenly becoming available,” said Klindt. “It boils down to a number of things. I have never really liked the track, but I always seem to do well there, so that was one of the things.

“Another thing is that it is pretty close to airports. This year I was travelling to Heathrow, Stansted or Luton almost every week after Poole meetings, whereas Stansted is only an hour away from Ipswich, so that was a big plus.

“Also, on the whole I always have an eye on other clubs and how they do things and Ipswich impressed me over the last year whilst they were in the league I was riding in. Their social media, press and outlook of the club is very professional and is something I would love to be involved with. I am pretty sure that choosing Ipswich will be the right thing to further my career.”

The 30-year-old arrives on a 7.43 average and says he would enjoy the responsibility of being at number one if he gets there this season.

“I believe I am good enough to be a number one. Myself, Brady Kurtz, Jack Holder and Josh Grajczonek were all very close in the averages last season and there were a couple of times where I should have been number one, but the averages changed a day late or a day too soon and it never happened, and I stayed at number three.

“That role comes with added pressure because you have certain responsibilities, heat one and then the big heats 13 and 15. I am at an age now and have experience riding at the level I am riding at so it wouldn’t bother me, I would enjoy it rather than be nervous about it. If it happens, I am looking forward to it.”

The Danish international confessed that he has never particularly liked the Foxhall track despite scoring well on his visits there and is hoping to score heavily in Suffolk on a consistent basis in 2020.

“It is weird because I have always thought it was an alright track, but I have never really liked it but somehow I have always scored a lot of points there. This year I went there three times and barring mechanical failure I would have scored between 12-14 each time in those meetings, so I must have been doing something right!

“It is one of those I have got to look at, going to a track where I feel I can improve and I feel I have the greatest advantage to score double figures in every home meeting  because if you can score double figures every home meeting on a consistent basis, you can take that consistency and self-belief to away meetings and when I ride abroad. I am sure I am going to enjoy it and it will be very exciting.”

Klindt has won top-flight titles with both Wolverhampton and Poole in his British career and he highlighted what is the key to a successful side.  

“Two things, one of them is strength in depth, which is one of the reasons Ipswich did so well last year and also team spirit. The last three years I rode for Poole, and when I started riding here it was for Wolverhampton where we won the league. Both teams had great team spirit, Poole’s team spirit is second to none, I really enjoyed it there. That is one thing I have got to get used to at Ipswich because I am new and have never rode for the club before.

“I know the riders there which is a bonus and from what I gather from the outside and from speaking to both Chris (Louis) and Ritchie (Hawkins) is that there is a really good team spirit. That is a very important factor when going to a new team because you don’t want to go to a team where it is dull, and people don’t speak. With the riders they have signed up already, it is a good squad I would say.”

The new signing is ultra-professional in his approach on and off the track and said that it has been key to his improved form in recent years.

“I think the more professional you look then the more people watch you. It can be potential sponsors, potential new clubs, fans but also other riders have a slight look and it makes them think. I spend a lot of time with sponsors and the more professional you look on the outside the more interest, the more they would appreciate working with you.

“Whether it is a small company or a big company they would want to look professional themselves so they will only want to associate their brand with another professional brand, so that is why I put a lot of effort into that. Also, when I am racing it is important that my mechanic behaves in a professional manner and I behave in a professional manner.

“Behind the scenes with my training, my sleep pattern, my eating, I have been working a lot more on it over the last three years after my injury in 2017. You can see that I have progressed slightly each year and that is because I have focused more on the professionalism.”

Klindt began the 2016 season with Leicester on a 3.53 average and revealed how a change in mindset helped him set new goals in his career as he now finds himself as an established heat leader in the division.

“I was struggling for a club that year despite having a low average due to coming back from injury the season before and the season before I didn’t ride in the Premiership, I only rode in the Championship. They converted my average and it was really low, but I ended up having a good season.

“I signed for Poole in 2017 and got injured and started all over again but the main reason I have been able to progress over the last few seasons is simply a change of mind. I think I have said this before but I had to sit down with myself and decide if I want to take it to a level that I know I am capable of and achieve the goals that I have always had in mind or whether I wanted to stick around and be an average league rider.

“I decided I wanted to pursue my dreams and alter things I was doing and working a lot more on myself mentally and physically and that has helped a lot. I started working with an engine tuner called Peter Johns at the start of 2018 and that has helped me as well because his way of setting up the engines suits my riding style better. Prior to that I was using something else, so it is loads of different things.

“I have a lot of good people around me in the team who you don’t see at the track. They have taken a lot of pressure off my shoulders and allowed me to focus more on my racing, training and day to day things.”

The Witches lost in the 2019 Premiership Play-Off final, beating Klindt’s Poole side in the semi-final but the new Witch sees no reason why the Suffolk side cannot go one better and win the title in 2020.

“I believe the team is capable of making the Play-Offs, no problem. I know they came into last season as underdogs and I also said they wouldn’t achieve much myself when I looked at the team! However, at the end of the day it is seven names on a piece of paper. There will always be riders who improve and some who have a bad season.

“I think the team Chris and Ritchie are putting together is very competitive. Everyone is going on about Sheffield being favourites, but I have said this to a few people, if you look at the Poole team I was in this year and compare it to the Sheffield team for next year, any day of the week the Poole team would beat them.

“My goal with Ipswich is to qualify for the Play-Offs but I feel we have a team capable of winning the league if everyone is firing on all cylinders. Personally, if I start at number one, my goal is to stay there. If I don’t start at number one, then my main goal is to go to number one. That was a goal last year that I did not achieve, so that is top of the list for England.

“Other than that, I just want to keep improving and keep my level of consistency a point or two higher than it was this year. My main focus abroad is to qualify for the European Championship which I missed out on last year due to a crash I had in the qualification round. I also have a sniff at the Grand Prix qualifiers but there is a long way to go and you have to stay injury free.”

2020 Season Tickets are now available to purchase, all the details can be found here. Supporters wishing to buy their ticket in person can do so on Saturday 21st December between 10am-1pm at Foxhall Stadium with hot drinks and mince pies on offer.

2020 WITCHES…CAMERON HEEPS

By Henry Chard

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches have announced the return of asset Cameron Heeps for the 2020 season.

The Australian enjoyed a fine season with the club in 2019, arguably his best to date as he and compatriot Jake Allen formed a deadly combination from reserve early in the season before moving into the main body of the team and Heeps is looking to improve further on his 6.30 average in 2020.

“Last year was great and I improved so it is the same again next year,” said Heeps. “I need to build on last season and hopefully I carry it on until the end of the season this time.”

Much was made of the 24-year-old’s new fitness regime off the track and he admitted that it certainly contributed to his successful season.

“I think that was evident last year. I have said it and Chris (Louis) has said it, I can ride a bike and the talent is there, I just needed a bit of hard work to go along with it.”

2020 will be the eighth season in Suffolk for the Perth-born rider and Heeps is proud to call Foxhall his speedway home.

“It is a place I call home, I live local and the club has stuck by me. I love being here and I will continue to do so and hopefully next year is a little bit better than last year.”

The multiple Western Australian State champion made the move up from reserve in 2019 and he is targeting further progress in the new year as he sets his sights on the number one position.

“That is the ultimate aim, I want to get to the number one position. Realistically, next year hopefully I can get to number five and then if that happens, the year after I will aim for number one. It is not out of range, I am trying to improve the same as I did this year and there is no reason I can’t be a number one. That is the goal and we will go from there. Firstly, I need to get the winter out of the way with training and get myself fit back to where I need to be and get on with the riding part in March.”

Like most Australian riders in the UK, Heeps will head home this winter to see family and this winter he will also swap two wheels for four.

“I had October off and eased myself back into things in November. I am now in full flow at the moment so I will smash it until I go home at the end of December. I will keep in shape while I am at home and will do a little bit of riding, not too many meetings but more practicing. I have been given the opportunity to race a car back home so I will have a good crack at that!”

The Ipswich asset says the team relish the ‘underdog’ tag that seems to be give to them in the Premiership as they look to win the top-flight title in 2020.

“Everyone gave us the underdog tag last year and I agreed with Ritchie (Hawkins) in that it helped us and was good for us. We thrived off it and I have seen stuff already saying the same about next year because we haven’t signed anyone. Things have been going on behind the scenes and if we are named as underdogs then so be it. I don’t see why that will affect us because we thrive off it and we want to go one better next year.”

Heeps joins Allen in the 2020 side and Season Tickets for next year are now available to purchase, all the details can be found here. Supporters wishing to buy their ticket in person can do so on Saturday 21st December between 10am-1pm at Foxhall Stadium with hot drinks and mince pies on offer.

2020 WITCHES…JAKE ALLEN

By Henry Chard

The Ipswich ‘Tru Plant’ Witches have announced Jake Allen as their first signing for the 2020 Premiership campaign.

Allen joined the club last winter and impressed everyone in his debut season at Foxhall as he piled on the points from reserve before establishing himself in the main body of the team. 

The 24-year-old returns on a 5.56 average and is delighted to be back in Suffolk next season.

“I’m very happy to be back for the Witches in 2020,” said Allen. “Negotiations were very easy to come back. They were done pretty much at the end of this season, so I was pleased to have both my teams in UK sorted before I flew home.”

The Queenslander will double-up with Scunthorpe in the Championship again where he became a heat leader and he made no secret of how much he enjoyed his time at Ipswich last season.

“The thing I enjoyed most was the professionalism of the club. It’s very high and everything behind the scenes is done how a professional club should be done. Also, we had great fun with the boys and a good laugh before every meeting.  Whether it be going for a kickabout before on the centre green and taking the mick out of one another for the bad touches or having a coffee and a biscuit talking about our busy week’s racing.”

The Australian suffered a shoulder injury last campaign but won’t need surgery on it this winter and is instead riding the waves back home.

“I’m getting the shoulder worked on still but I’m avoiding the operation which is good, so I won’t need the 8-12-week recovery and rehab on it. Other than that, I’m just enjoying some sun and some 30+ degree days out fishing or doing a bit of surfing!”

After missing out in the Premiership Play-Off final last season, Allen is hoping the team can bring some silverware to Foxhall in 2020 as he targets a heat leader role in the team.

“Obviously as a club we want to go one better than last year and I think we can do that. We learnt a lot as a club this year, so the plan is to bring some trophies back to Foxhall this coming season. As for individual goals, I just want to keep plugging away at my average and building that up. I’d like to move into a heat leader role by the end of the season which is a big ask but I think I can do it. I’ve invested a lot of money and time into myself and bikes this winter so I’m hoping to reap in the rewards once the season starts.”

2020 Season Tickets are now available to purchase, all the details can be found here. Supporters wishing to buy their ticket in person can do so on Saturday 21st December between 10am-1pm at Foxhall Stadium with hot drinks and mince pies on offer.

2020 SEASON TICKETS ON SALE

Season Tickets for the 2020 season are now on sale as the Ipswich ‘Tru Plant’ Witches look to go one better in the new year and lift the Premiership title.

You can buy your season ticket online, via PayPal here. Alternatively, you can download a season ticket form here. Season tickets are available to buy until 15th March and are priced at £245 for Adults and £220 for Concessions.

There are three ways to pay. Online via PayPal on the link provided above, you can visit the stadium on 21st December between 10am-1pm and pay in person or you can post your completed form with a cheque to: Mr M Styles, 7 Penhurst 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 2020 season and will cover all of our league and Supporters Cup fixtures. This does not include any semi-finals or finals. However, you will still be able to purchase your tickets at the Season Ticket gate.

Concession tickets are available to those who are over the age of 60 on or before 15th March 2020.

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 now transferable.  

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

Season Tickets do not include a programme.

Don’t miss out as the Witches go for Premiership glory.

WITCHES REMAIN IN PREMIERSHIP FOR 2020

By Henry Chard

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches will continue to race in the top flight of British Speedway in 2020 following the conclusion of the AGM this week.

Ipswich will race in a seven-team Premiership, with Sheffield Tigers making the move up and Poole Pirates dropping down to the second tier.

The Witches will race against Belle Vue, King’s Lynn, Peterborough, Sheffield, Swindon and Wolverhampton. Race nights remain Mondays and Thursdays with a points limit for teams of 42.50. Teams will race each other twice at home and twice away with the top four in the table qualifying for the play-offs.

The Suffolk side have been drawn in the southern section of the Premiership Supporters’ Cup against King’s Lynn, Peterborough and Swindon. The top club from the section will progress to the final to race the winner of the northern section that consists of Belle Vue, Sheffield and Wolverhampton.

This will be an early season competition with the final scheduled to take place on the week commencing June 1. The clubs wish to further examine and grow the social media interaction of this competition.

A proposal will also be considered at next year’s AGM for clubs to retain their existing one-to-seven for the following campaign, with any changes to that team seeing them return to the points limit.

Scunthorpe promoter Rob Godfrey has taken over as chairman of the BSPA with Sheffield’s Damien Bates now vice-chairman. Ipswich promoter Chris Louis will now be a director of the association alongside Somerset’s Debbie Hancock and Leicester’s Stewart Dickson.

The BSPA wish to place on record their thanks to outgoing chairman Keith Chapman and directors Neil Machin and Colin Pratt for their service and dedication over many years.

Godfrey said: “One message which has come out very strongly from supporters is that they don’t want things tinkered with, and we’ve taken that on board.

“I would like to pay tribute to what Keith has done during his time as chairman. I started the journey with him four years ago, and a lot of people don’t realise just how hard he has worked over that time.

“Keith battled in meetings with high-profile people to ensure the survival of Belle Vue, and he put his own money into Leicester to stop it shutting – and then to move Peterborough into the Premiership last winter.

“The day-to-day running of the BSPA is so different now to what it was four years ago, he’s been the leader of that, and it’s sad that his personal and work circumstances have seen him stand down – and my thanks also to Neil and Colin for their work over that time.

“But I’m very proud and pleased to have the new team around me. We want to take the next step with some fresh ideas, and also, it’s great to welcome Debbie as the first female director since Pat Bliss over 20 years ago.

“We do have plenty to look forward to, we have a fantastic new TV deal with Eurosport on a massive platform, and it’s great to have brought in real commercial expertise via outside agencies to work on this and other issues.

“Naturally, league sponsorship is another step we would like to take, and another key feature of the AGM was that many clubs are working hard on promotional initiatives, which they will make public in the build-up to the new season.

“We also have a thriving youth scene, which is now paying dividends with 26 riders who have graduated from that scene racing in the Championship last season, and there’s more to come in 2020, so there are plenty of good things happening.”

Ipswich promoter Louis had this to say on this year’s AGM:

“It’s an honour to accept my position on the board of British Speedway and join the new chairman Rob Godfrey, vice-chairman Damien Bates and fellow director Debbie Hancock.  It’s a very exciting time for the sport as we enter a new TV contract with Eurosport.  I’m looking forward to working on new initiatives and am pleased with how our AGM has gone.”

More reaction to follow in the near future as we build up to the new season in 2020.