Pete Simmons is stepping down as manager of Ipswich ‘Sackers’ Witches.

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The 46-year-old, who has been in charge of the team on race days for the past six seasons, has admitted work commitments at the company he owns, Sano UK, is the main reason for him quitting the post.

He has only missed six Witches meetings in all that time.

“It takes a lot of commitment to manage the team and when my father Brian, who worked with me in the business, died last year, it put more pressure on me,” Simmons said.

“The Witches job is unpaid and I was having to get people in to cover for me at Sano last year. That can’t carry on.

“There were a few issues with the team, especially last season. I felt I could have had a bit more backing with one or two decisions, like changing the riding order last year as I wanted to do.

“I was also disappointed Leigh Lanham didn’t get a spot in the team this year. But they are side issues, the main reason is, you need to be able to give up a lot of time managing in the Premier League because clubs are based all over the country.”

Simmons did admit however that if promoter Chris Louis had moved Ipswich into the Elite League in 2014, he may have thought about staying.

“That would have cut down the travelling a lot, I may have stayed on,” Simmons added.

Simmons took over as manager of the Witches in 2008 in what was a very successful year for the Suffolk side – the Witches losing out to Poole in the Elite League play-offs.

Two more seasons at Elite League level followed and three at Premier League level. But the only silverware to show in that time was the Fours Premier League triumph at Leicester in 2011.

Louis admitted: “As a club it was a shame we couldn’t bring more silverware back to Foxhall with Pete in charge, he would have deserved it.

“All I can say is I hugely appreciate what he has done for the club over the years and thank him for his efforts.”