Dream Team : Emma Somers
I have been an Ipswich fan since the 70's. Thursday nights in Ipswich are made for speedway! This dream team is basically what I'd consider to be the all time greatest 7 Ipswich riders. These 7 riders are picked because of their high ability and club loyalty!
Mr Ipswich speedway. Was a major influence in the rise of Ipswich from 2nd Division track run by young wannabes to 1st Division giants and todays stability and longevity at Foxhall started in this era. As well as being a brilliant rider also showed tremendous loyalty to the Witches and influenced the careers of more than a few local riders who rode for the Witches. Total natural ability ensured he made a world final just under 3 years after his first second half ride at Foxhall at the age of 28. Now in his 20th year as Ipswich promoter!
Saw him have 2nd half rides in the mid 80's when he seemed to crash a lot but joined the team in 1989 when his father took over the club and showed a similar high level aptitude to the sport. Won the 1990 World U21 title after only 3 seasons in speedway. Could of gone a lot further in the sport but for injuries but his 20 year high scoring loyalty to Ipswich, dedication and tremendous natural ability makes him one of the greatest Witches ever. Will probably become promoter when John decids to step aside.
Like John Louis a major catalyst in the 1970s upsurge in speedway interest in Ipswich. Tremendously loyal to his only club, Shrimp had lots of ability, especially out of the gate and would surely of gone further in the sport but for a series of bad crashes. As well as being a great rider, Shrimp also was a very down to earth, humourous son of Suffolk who helped create a unique atmosphere at Foxhall!
Adopted son of Suffolk who always seemed much older than he was cause he started with the the team when he was only 16. He grew with the team up until he came within touching distance of the world title. Had his well documented personality problems which led to him leaving us a few times but always saw sense in the end and came back. Tremendous talent who was a great team man. A natural who made speedway look easy and was in the form of his life when he decided to end things.
Grasstrack star who was persuaded by Ipswich promoting legend John Berry to try his hand at speedway. After looking dangerous in 1982 he settled down to eventually become No1 and in the dark last days of the Chris Shears promotion in 1988 carried the team singlehandedly. Came back to the team in 1994 as the elder statesman and was still a force on his day. Forced out again but made a surprise comeback to the team in 2000 when he pulled of some amazing scores thanks to his tremendous ability and experience. Settled back into the Witches line up until nearly the end of the 2002 when he was into his 40's. Still involved at the club now - great rider and loyal Witch!
Moving to Ipswich helped push his career up the amazing levels he later achieved and he was breathtaking around the Ipswich track. Was a part of the 1998 all conquering side who I'd rank as one of the best teams ever. Shame that points limits meant he didn't spend longer at Ipswich.
Was brought up living on Foxhall Rd so was very much the local lad come good. I remember him 2nd halfing in the late 80's when he was a tiny lad. The down to earth Scotty managed to avoid the many pitfalls that get the better of other 'teen sensations' to be around when the Elite League was formed and was part of the EL Witches team at only 18. A strong 2nd string in the unforgettable 1998 season. Returned to Ipswich after 2 years away in 2001 by now a genuine out and out No1 and carried the team at times. His testimonial at Foxhall was attended by 5000 fans a testament to his local popularity. I hope he returns to the Witches line up sometime in the future!
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This article was first published on 19th February 2009
"What! No John Cook in your team?"
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