LEICESTER have made a major statement of intent for 2018 with the signing of Slovakian star Martin Vaculik.
The 27-year-old, who won the opening round of the Grand Prix series this year in Slovenia and finished ninth in the World Championship standings overall, will be racing in the SGB Premiership for the first time.
Lions co-promoter Neil Machin said: “This is a remarkable coup for everyone at Leicester Speedway.
“We need to place on record our thanks to former rider Simon Stead, he has worked closely with Martin all year, and helped to set this deal up.
“It’s just the type of signing to get the Leicester fans excited about and I’m sure it also gets the rest of the sport talking.”
IPSWICH promoter Chris Louis has re-affirmed his commitment to bring silverware to Foxhall after this year’s near-misses.
The Witches had to re-build their side after early-season injuries but still reached the Finals of the SGB Championship and the KO Cup – only to finish as runners-up in both, with the latter competition seeing heat-leaders Rory Schlein and Danny King crash out against eventual winners Peterborough.
Louis said: “There is always the feeling of ‘what more can you do’ when you put together what a lot of people consider the best side.
“It is not the first time it has happened, and even I have looked at the season and thought ‘this is not down to the team not being good enough, it was down to the team missing for the whole of the season.’
“That is frustrating, but it has made myself and Ritchie (Hawkins) even more determined to put together a winning side and get the job done next time.
“We’ve missed out on silverware in two Finals but we were there to give ourselves a chance and we will be there again next year.”