Wed 2nd Dec 2015
New Team Manager Ritchie Hawkins has emphasised the importance of racing with passion for the club after he was confirmed as the new boss for 2016.
Hawkins left the Witches midway through last season after a tough start to the campaign but has now made the switch from rider to manager and he told the club's official website how the move came about.
"I had a phone call from Chris (Louis) and I took a few days just to have a think about it and make sure I could do the job to start with and commit to it," he said. "So we put that in place to start with and obviously I'm delighted to be back at Ipswich more than anything. Everyone knows that I'm passionate about the club, so it's good to be back."
At just 32 years old, Hawkins will be the youngest manager in the Premier League but the former British Under-21 champion says he did not need long to think about taking the role on and is confident in his abilities.
"I think once I thought about it and knew I could commit to it and do a good job then it wasn't a hard decision. If I adidn't think I could do the job very well then I wouldn't have taken it. It's a job thaat should suit me, I can't see my body being able to race anymore for a whole season, so it's the next step and a new challenge."
Hawkins, a previous captain of the Witches, is keen to instil into the 2016 team the same passion for the club as he had when he rode at Foxhall.
"One thing I want the boys to understand is how lucky they are to ride for Ipswich. They need to have the passion to ride for Ipswich and the pride that I had and I know that Morten (Risager) and Danny (King) have already got it. The other thing is to just enjoy it, you need to enjoy riding for Ipswich."
After some time away from the sport Hawkins is looking forward to being involved again in his new role and getting the best out of his riders.
"What I'm looking forward to most is being back with the boys and spending time with them. I think I'm intelligent enough to work out what makes each rider tick, that's something that has always interested me anyway and I'd like to play a positive part in getting the best out of their performance."
2016 sees a new look Witches take to the Premier League with five new riders and a change of manager and Hawkins feels it is an exciting time for the club.
"It needed a freshen up probably, especially after such a disappointing year last year. Most of the boys are talking already, so we've got to get a good team spirit going again. Knowing the lads that are coming in I don't see that being an issue and it is exciting times.
"It might take a little while for a few of them to settle down but a big mix up is what we needed and hopefully we will progress better than in the past." The countdown to March is well and truly underway and the new manager has no hesitations at what the targets are for the new season.
"Obviously the ultimate goal is to be winning silverware but first of all you've got to make the Play-Off, to not make them last year was disastrous. You've got to be looking to make a good run in all the cups too.
"We've got new boys coming in so we need to all be talking about things before March but we need to be picking up points on the road and to be a solid home team."
Foxhall Rd, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 5TL 01473 623640