King’s Lynn boss relishes Ipswich derby test
King's Lynn team boss Rob Lyon is looking forward to renewing acquaintances with East Anglian rivals Ipswich in the Premier League next season.
The Witches will line up in speedway's second tier after failing to secure a financial package to continue racing at Elite League level. Lynn have not faced Ipswich in league combat since they opted to join the Premier in 2003, but Lyon is delighted at the prospect of facing their neighbours. Birmingham will replace Ipswich in the top league with newly-formed Leicester taking the place vacated by Stoke after the Potters' decision to race in the National League.
'We used to have the home and away meetings on the same day,' said Lyon. 'I think it was tradition they would race at King's Lynn in the morning and Ipswich in the afternoon and they swapped it around in later years but there was always good crowds, good atmosphere and its great for both clubs.
'It wasn't totally surprising but it's good for the Premier League because Ipswich is a club with a fantastic tradition and with Birmingham going the other way its one in, one out. Although it hasn't happened much in the last few years, nothing really surprises me in speedway. Birmingham is a big city so they are probably geared up for Elite League speedway, I guess. I'm sure the Premier League will be competitive next season, with Leicester coming back who have also traditionally been a big name in the sport.'
Ipswich director of speedway, Chris Louis, admits reviving the local highlight on the racing calendar will help cushion the blow of losing their Elite League status.
'After an eleventh hour bid to secure the finance and riders to remain in the Elite League fell through we were left with no alternative but to move in to the Premier League and begin to rebuild the club's finances and of course the asset base,' he said. 'I have to thank the BSPA and the existing Premier League promoters for their understanding of our situation and indeed the very warm welcome we were given. I am really looking forward to 2011 with the new teams and faces plus the added bonus of racing virtually every Thursday at Foxhall throughout the summer months. In particular I am quite excited at the thought of renewing our rivalry with our Norfolk cousins at Saddlebow Road and of course a new derby day with Rye House.'
Lyon, alongside co-promoters Buster and Jonathan Chapman, can now begin to finalise the club's 2011 riding roster with Adam Roynon and new Peterborough racer Lasse Bjerre already confirmed starters.
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'It all kicks off now,' he said. 'From now on in we will be busy trying to sort things out. We've had one session and we need to sit down together again, to be honest, but whatever we come up with will be competitive I'm sure. Perhaps the negative from having so much success in recent years is that after last season supporters will expect a lot and we will be trying to make sure we get it right for everyone concerned, and to get the right riders in place. If you are coming from bottom of the league and had finished seventh and got to the semi-finals of the cup, like we did, that would be seen as success but because of what we had done before it was seen as an awful year and everyone wants to see us back up there.'
The Premier Trophy and Young Shield cup competitions will not run in 2011 but Lynn have been drawn against Somerset in the Premier League KO Cup.
2011 Premier League line up: Berwick, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Ipswich, King's Lynn, Leicester, Newcastle, Newport, Redcar, Rye House, Scunthorpe, Sheffield, Somerset, Workington