Author Archives: Henry Chard

About Henry Chard

Digital Media Manager at Ipswich Speedway

CRUMP ON SPEEDWAY PODCAST

Three-time world champion and Ipswich ‘Tru Plant’ Witches rider Jason Crump caught up with the East Anglian Daily Times’ Mike Bacon for a special podcast.

There was plenty to to talk about as the pair discuss numerous topics including his thoughts on British speedway, his world title wins and his return to the sport in 2020.

MEET THE RIDERS EVENT CANCELLED

The annual ‘Meet The Riders’ event that was due to take place at Woodbridge Town FC on Wednesday 18th March at 7.30pm, has now been cancelled.

The event was originally postponed to a later date due to the ongoing delay of the new season but with the anticipated fixture congestion ahead, the decision has been taken to cancel the event this year.

For refunds, please send a S.A.E to: I.S.S.C., 7 Penshurst Road, Ipswich, IP3 8QZ and please include the name of the ticket buyer in your correspondence.

The BSPA are continuing to monitor the situation regarding coronavirus and we will continue to update you when we have news.

LOUIS: WE ARE ALL WORKING TOGETHER

By Henry Chard          

Ipswich ‘Tru Plant’ Witches promoter Chris Louis says that clubs are all pulling together following the delay to the start of the 2020 British speedway season.

On Tuesday the BSPA announced that the start of the new campaign would be delayed until 15th April due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic as the government advised to stop non-essential contact with others, stop all unnecessary travel and to avoid social venues in a bid to help prevent the spread of the virus.

“The decision at the point on Tuesday when it was made by the board of directors was taken out of our hands,” said Louis. “A lot had been said by the government on the Monday and we had to act accordingly. The 15th April is a one-month delay to the start of the season, and it will be monitored daily up until that point and we hope that we will be able to start then. Of course, should we not be able to, we will provide an immediate update.”

Louis says that the association still plan to run a full season if the action begins on 15th April, but that plans are being made should there be a further delay.

“That planning is underway now and a lot of that is being worked on, so we will be able to react quickly to the changing scenario as it happens. We hope that it will not be a shortened fixture list because should we resume on 15th April, we still anticipate running a full fixture list, but we will know nearer the time.”

The promoter explained the impact that the delay would have on the riders financially but added that everyone was raring to go when the 2020 season does begin.

“It is a loss of income and it is particularly hard for the riders because this is the time where they have invested most money. This is the time when they spend probably half of what they spend during the season preparing for a new season. To have done that and to be immediately told you have no way of earning that back means you are facing quite a tough time.

“It was good to get together earlier this week, but it would have been nice to have been able to do it in the usual fashion inviting guests, sponsors and the press. It was pleasing that the lads wanted to get together, they had a good time and spoke a lot about the coming season and the current situation but more about what they are looking forward to. They were all fit and well prepared and it gives us reason to look forward to the season however much it is delayed.”

With many fans of the sport worried about the long-term impact the coronavirus will have on speedway, the former British champion said that all clubs are looking out for each other at this difficult time.

“It is hard to have words of comfort because it does not take a rocket scientist to know that it is a worrying time for everybody in every walk of life, not just sport. Yes of course, the leisure and entertainment sector is probably a particularly tough one because it is the first thing that people cut out. We have been told we can’t actually run our businesses, so it is a tough time. We know our fans are going through an equally tough time with their own businesses or jobs.

“A word of comfort with regards to our sport is that we are communicating, we are all pulling together, working together and looking out for each other and as a sport we are going to do all we can to make sure that we are able to come to tapes not only this year but the following year.”

The former world number three stressed that everyone has a part to play in preventing the spread of the virus and getting back to normality.

“It is a stressful time for everyone, there is concern for your families, particularly older parents and grandparents, we are all looking out for those guys. We have just got to follow the advice given and hope that in doing that it sees the country get back on its feet again and back to normality sooner rather than later so that we can go about our normal lives again. We all play a part in that.”

Louis also addressed the concerns of those who have purchased season tickets for the new campaign.

“Should it be deemed necessary to shorten the fixture list, an appropriate refund will be made to season ticket holders.”

START OF 2020 SEASON DELAYED

Following a BSPA meeting on Tuesday morning, the decision has been taken to delay the start of the 2020 season until 15th April due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday the government advised to stop non-essential contact with others, stop all unnecessary travel and to avoid social venues in a bid to help prevent the spread of the virus. 

This suspension will be reviewed on 15th April and the situation will be monitored by the British Speedway Promoters’ Association and Speedway Control Bureau on a daily basis between now and then.

We will bring you more news and reaction when we have it.

MEET THE RIDERS EVENT POSTPONED

The annual ‘Meet The Riders’ event due to take place at Woodbridge Town FC on Wednesday 18th March at 7.30pm, has been postponed until further notice.

The decision has been taken following government advice on the coronavirus outbreak in the country where the advice is to stop non-essential contact with others, stop all unnecessary travel and to avoid social venues. The safety of our fans, sponsors and riders is our top priority at this moment in time.

We hope to re-stage the event in the future and details of a date and refunds will follow in due course.

The BSPA will meet on Tuesday 17th March with the start of the 2020 season at the top of the agenda and we will update you with news when we have it.

KLINDT ON SPEEDWAY PODCAST

Ahead of the 2020 season, new signing Nicolai Klindt caught up with the East Anglian Daily Times’ Mike Bacon for a special podcast.

There was plenty to to talk about as the pair discuss numerous topics including his early days in British speedway, the current state of the sport and much more.

2020 WITCHES…JASON CRUMP

By Henry Chard

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches have signed three-time world champion Jason Crump as he comes out of retirement to complete the 2020 team.

The Australian has been retired since 2012 and he explained how the idea of returning to the sport gathered pace after the winter test matches in Perth between Great Britain and Australia.

“To be honest it’s a funny thing as I haven’t not ridden much in Australia,” said Crump. “At the end of the British season, Daniel Bewley, Tom Brennan and Kyle Bickley came to Australia through Ian Sinderson from ATPI. They stayed with Justin Sedgmen at his place and those three boys and Justin came up to my place on the Gold Coast and spent nearly a week up here doing some training with one of my old trainers.

“Of course, the conversation leads into speedway and ‘you should ride again’, all these comments start coming up and you start thinking about things. The seed was planted by those guys then just after Christmas in early January there were those meetings in Perth. Ian Sinderson rang me up in a panic as he had been let down by a couple of riders in Australia that couldn’t make it to the event. I got a last-minute invite to go over there. Perth is a long way from here, it is over 4000km, so it was a bit of a rush to get a bike sorted out and get over there.

“It was a good bunch of guys there and I really enjoyed it. Considering I had not been on bike for quite a while I ended up doing half OK. When I came back from there, I started getting some phone calls and proper interest. Your life leads you down different paths at different times and it seems the right thing to do. I am really excited to be doing it, I am a bit nervous at the same time but in ten years’ time I will be too old to do it again. So, the feeling is there is to do it again, then I guess I have to do it sooner rather than later and I feel like I do want to do it.”

The 44-year-old said that he has been speaking to Ipswich promoter Chris Louis for quite a while about a potential move.

“Chris actually contacted me in November/December and asked what I was thinking. My average got reassessed and a Championship team were quite interested in having me in a different role as a rider/coach thing. My average wasn’t very friendly for Championship level speedway. Chris contacted me at that point. As crazy as it sounds, I have probably been talking with Chris about it since November time believe it or not.”

The three-time World Cup winner has been keeping in shape since his retirement and says that now feels the right time to return to British league racing.

“I have been going to the gym nearly every day. I have been unlucky in Australia as where I live in the last three weeks, after the severe bush fires, we have gone from burning to flooding. I haven’t had the opportunity to have many rides. I would have been riding in the Darcy Ward Invitational but that got rained off which is pretty unusual here for speedway to be cancelled. I went three weeks ago for a ride but apart from that I am getting things into place.

“Ian Sinderson from ATPI, I am probably going to blame the majority of this on him as he got me over to Perth and the four guys that were up here, they were all geeing me on. Simon Stead was in Perth and he said that I should think about having a ride as I would probably do half OK. Not that I need people to encourage me to do it, it has been a family decision and at this stage with what is going on with our family it seems the right thing to do.”

Crump starts the year on an 8.21 average and says he is not placing huge expectations on himself as he looks to try and be a role model within the side.

“I don’t have huge expectations; I am not trying to be world champion anymore. My ambition for this year is to try and maintain a solid heat leader position for Ipswich Witches. I hope that I can be a role model and a leader for the rest of the riders in the team. Whether that means I am scoring more points or less points than them, I would like to think that I can contribute to their performance.

“I think I can bring maturity and help them develop as riders as well. I can give sound advice along the way too, at the end of the day when you are talking about a team, as much as you need points you need a good atmosphere in the team and you need to have a good group of riders. I am excited to ride with everyone in the team and I am looking forward to being a ‘father figure’ or mentor to all of them.”

The legend of the sport has always performed excellently at Foxhall and admitted that he would have been a ‘Witch’ earlier in his career had it not been for the Thursday race night.

“To be honest, if Ipswich didn’t race on a Thursday night, I would have ended up riding at Ipswich. Being committed to every Thursday in the UK before a Grand Prix weekend didn’t fit in with the way I wanted to build my Grand Prix setup. I have loved Foxhall since the first time I rode there. It wasn’t a track where I thought, ‘Oh, I’ve got to go to Ipswich’, it was always ‘Yep, cool I am at Ipswich this week’ and it is one of those tracks where you can measure yourself. If you go to Ipswich and you are going well, generally you are going to go well everywhere as it is one of those technical tracks where you have got to be on point to go well at.”

Crump has not raced in England since 2009 with Belle Vue and is looking forward to being back in British racing with Ipswich.

“I have been to Belle Vue, I was there last year to see some racing and I was at Wolverhampton too. I was actually at Ipswich three or four years ago to watch a meeting. Like I say, it feels right, and I am happy it is Ipswich, Chris has been a pleasure to deal with. Guy (Nicholls) is always involved, and I had quite a strong relationship with Guy, his family and business when I used to ride. I have been fortunate to call on people like Guy, Martin Hagon and Ian Sinderson from ATPI to help me get set up again in the UK.”  

The new signing is hoping to get some track time in the coming weeks before flying over to England for the new season.

“There is a decent gap between press and practice day before another practice day at Foxhall and then we basically have a week off before the first meeting away at Peterborough. I am planning to be in the UK 10 days before practice day to start getting everything organised. The weather seems to have turned a bit here in Australia, so I am hoping by the end of the week to start getting to some tracks and do some riding myself.”

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

2020 team: Danny King ©, Jason Crump, Nicolai Klindt, Cameron Heeps, Jake Allen, Nico Covatti, Drew Kemp.

2020 WITCHES…DREW KEMP

By Henry Chard

The ‘Tru Plant’ Witches have given a team place to asset Drew Kemp for the 2020 season.

The signing of Kemp comes following the tragic loss of Danny Ayres and Kemp started by sharing his memories of Ayres.

“I spent all my year with Danny at Mildenhall, especially towards the end of that year when we were at number one and five together,” said Kemp. “I got on with him really well and what happened is tragic. To come in and replace someone like Danny will be hard as he was known as ‘Mr Entertainer’ and he will be missed by all of us. I just hope I can do him proud and do what I know I can do.”

The 2019 British Under-19 champion will make his Premiership debut with the Witches and had targeted a team place with the Witches in 2020 but admitted he didn’t think the opportunity would come so soon.

“I didn’t expect it to be honest. I said I wanted to ride for Ipswich by the end of the season. To come in this early is great. I am 17 years old, so to ride for my home team in the top league is brilliant and I am looking forward to it now.”

The 17-year-old has been working hard this winter, riding for Great Britain in Australia and can’t wait for the new season to begin.

“This year will be tough, no doubt about that. Last year I struggled with my head and got stuck in a rut and each meeting got progressively worse and I didn’t feel like I went anywhere. I have worked hard through the winter and went to Australia and had a good few meetings out there. Now I am back here and I’m getting ready for the new season. I am feeling better than ever, fitter than ever and by the time the season comes we should be well away.”

The talented youngster believes that having someone like Jason Crump in the same team will help his own development.

“To have someone like Jason, a three-time world champion, it does not get any better than that. I saw him in Australia and raced against him and I definitely feel like although he has been retired, he still has got a lot of expertise and he can help me become a better rider and pull the team together.”

Kemp starts the year on a 3.00 average and is looking to enjoy his riding again whilst gaining top-flight experience.

“I want to do my job, have fun and gain experience. I know it is going to be tough. The problem I had last year in the Championship was that I was going into it thinking it would be like how I did in the National League before that and I would end up as number one. I have got to enjoy it; score points I know I can score and gain all the experience I can and think about it as a way to make me a better rider for the future.”

The Suffolk-based rider has been training hard so that he is race-sharp as soon as the season begins.

“I just had Team GB camp last weekend, so I have been doing that and I have got Isle of Wight training this week. I have been pretty busy; it has been a rest, but I haven’t been off the bike. I had a few meetings in Australia and am preparing bikes and am spending a lot of time in the gym.”

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, Nico Covatti, Drew Kemp

MEET THE RIDERS EVENT 2020

The annual ‘Meet The Riders’ event will take place at Woodbridge Town FC on Wednesday 18th March at 7.30pm.

Doors open at 7.00pm and the evening will be hosted by Kevin Long as he chats to the 2020 Witches. Team manager Ritchie Hawkins will reveal the riding order and you will have a chance to see the new team kevlars. There will be a buffet and a raffle on the night too.

After the presentations, there will be plenty of time for fans to chat with the riders and management team – don’t miss a great opportunity to meet the new Witches, have your photo with them and catch up with some old ones as well!

Tickets to this event cost £6 and admittance is strictly by ticket only. You can buy tickets here. Alternatively, you can pay via post (cheques payable to Save our Speedway and please enclose a S.A.E), and send to I.S.S.C., 7 Penshurst Road, Ipswich, IP3 8QZ 

Tickets will also be available to purchase at the Supporters’ Club monthly quiz on Wednesday 12th February and Wednesday 11th March at Kesgrave Social Club.

Important note: Tickets will be issued twice a week (Thursday & Sunday evenings) so if you order them on a Monday or Tuesday for example you will receive them on a Thursday.

Venue address: Woodbridge Town FC, Notcutts Park, Fynn Rd, Woodbridge, IP12 4LS