It's been announced that Kevin Long will return as the race night presenter for Ipswich Witches after being out of the role for a year.
Long was invited back by Chris Louis and has been a regular on the terraces of Foxhall since 1972.
Long became presenter at Foxhall in the historic 1998 season and said: “It is an important role. I haven’t had broadcasting history, I am a fan with a microphone. How it all originally happened is that we were away with the Supporters Club and staying in Manchester and the team were staying in the same hotel. We were talking with JL (John Louis) at the bar about the presentation at the time that we felt was lacking and I said I could do a better job than that, I threw that in.
“He said he couldn’t do anything that year, but that he would look at it, that was in 1997. At the end of that year the Supporters Club invited me to present the End of Season Awards. Mike (Smillie), John and Magda (Louis) were in attendance watching me closely with a view to maybe asking me to do the job and at the end of that night they asked me to be the presenter for the 1998 season and we all know how that went! It was a baptism of fire.
“I have watched other presenters and their style, but I have never tried to copy anyone, you can’t copy. It is something you have to do in your own way. I am fortunate I have a style that most people enjoy. I won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but in public life, who is? To get the reception I got last season on my guest slots was very touching, people were very kind and have always said it would be good to have me back. I always said if I was asked and if I can then I would.
“It is an important role to try and bring people together. In this day and age, the riders are so keen to get the best out of themselves and their bikes, it leaves very little opportunity to get that meaningful reaction from them during a meeting. I can rove in the pits and get questions, but it has become more and more difficult. That is not because the riders do not want to, they just have to be fully committed to what they are doing the whole time.
“I have taken a more roaming role around the stadium and try to get interaction with fans on the terraces. That is why groups like The Massif and The Back Straight Hooters I think they are called have been instrumental in lifting the atmosphere and getting involved. It is a wide-open arena Foxhall and it is difficult to contain an atmosphere and create one. The atmosphere comes from the action too, the riders have a responsibility to play and we have seen in recent seasons, when the racing is good the atmosphere improves. Hopefully with the new set up and the new league that will continue to be the case.”
Season tickets are now available to purchase: https://ipswichwitches.co/tickets/season-tickets/