'We've improved the most'... Ipswich Witches boss ahead of new season

Witches team manager Ritchie Hawkins. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Witches team boss Ritchie Hawkins: Excited about the season ahead. - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Witches team boss Ritchie Hawkins says he feels the Suffolk side look one of the most improved teams, as the new 2022 speedway season gets underway.

The new season begins this weekend, although the Witches are not in action until March 31.

Ipswich will be riding in the top league, the six-strong Premiership, with almost all teams now announced.

"Overall, I think we have improved the most on last year with the amount of changes we have made," Hawkins said of the Witches septet, which will be led by former world champion Jason Doyle this summer.

"I'm excited. We have seven riders who I'm happy to be working with and who I know will be putting everything into Ipswich.

"We certainly have a team capable of challenging, but until you start racing you don't know how everyone is going."

Hawkins begins his sixth season as Witches team manager but he knows he has yet to achieve his goal.

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"I go into every season wanting to win the title," he said. "That's my goal this year and has been my goal for a long time now.

Jason Doyle. Picture: Ian Burt

Witches new No. 1 in 2022, Jason Doyle. - Credit: Ian Burt

"We've been in a couple of play-off finals, but we haven't won them. And we will need a vast improvement on last season if we are to win this year."

The Witches failed to even make the play-offs in 2021 as Peterborough Panthers lifted the Premiership crown.

So, how does Hawkins view this year's title race.

"On paper, Sheffield look very strong and I imagine they will start as favourites," he said.

"Peterborough are the champions and one change from a team that won the league, which is what they have done, is a big bonus for them."

The Witches opening clash of the season is against King's Lynn at Foxhall Heath in the League Cup, on Thursday, March 31.

speedway

British Speedway returns this weekend. - Credit: Taylor Lanning

Premiership teams

BELLE VUE: Max Fricke, Charles Wright, Tom Brennan, Brady Kurtz, Norick Blodorn, Jye Etheridge. ONE MORE TO NAME. No.8 Connor Bailey.

IPSWICH: Jason Doyle, Paul Starke, Anders Rowe, Cameron Heeps, Danny King, Troy Batchelor, Erik Riss. No.8 Danyon Hume.

KING'S LYNN: Thomas Jorgensen, Richard Lawson, Lewis Kerr, Peter Kildemand, Richie Worrall, Josh Pickering, Jack Thomas. No. 8 Jake Mulford.

PETERBOROUGH: Hans Andersen, Benjamin Basso, Chris Harris, Scott Nicholls, Ulrich Ostergaard, Jordan Palin, Michael Palm-Toft. No. 8 Dan Gilks.

SHEFFIELD: Craig Cook, Adam Ellis, Jack Holder, Kyle Howarth, Connor Mountain, Tobiasz Musielak, Stefan Nielsen. No. 8 Dan Thompson.

WOLVERHAMPTON: Sam Masters, Leon Flint, Drew Kemp, Steve Worrall, Nick Morris, Ryan Douglas, Luke Becker. No. 8 Joe Thompson.