Fen Fours provides a great day of racing as ‘Mighty’ Manchetts come out on top at West Row
- Credit: Archant
With a bright April day, a well prepared track and a big crowd on the terraces, everything was set fair for Mildenhall’s delayed opening fixture of 2016, and the assembled cast certainly didn’t fail to deliver the goods to their expectant audience.
With the 2016 ‘KJM’ Fen Tigers on show for the first time, plus Joe Jacobs, Stefan Nielsen and Josh Bates from the 2012 Grand Slam team the Fen Fours cast was overflowing with West Row track experts.
Add in Scunthorpe’s Alex Davies and a little Italian spice with Paco Castagna and the crowd were left wanting more after 20 heats of non-stop action.
Palmer’s ‘Panthers’ were the early pace setters with Davies immediately showing a liking to the West Row circuit, with the other three teams picking up the pieces, although ‘Mighty’ Manchetts’ Josh Bates reminded supporters of the style and pace that made him such a popular rider in his time with Mildenhall with two early wins.
Heat 10 will live long in the memory as Nielsen and Jon Armstrong duelled for the victory, Nielsen sweeping round Armstrong before Armstrong rolled back the years with a stylish inside pass that showed he still is a master of the Mildenhall track.
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Heat 12 saw the first tactical joker used with Jacobs responding with a fine ride to claim the six points for Haylocks ‘Hurricanes’ and bring them right back into the competition.
After a fourth impressive win from Bates in Heat 13 as a tactical substitute it was the turn of Assured ‘Aces’ to play the joker in Heat 14 with Nielsen responding to the challenge with a fine win from the hard chasing Danny Halsey.
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Halsey was back out in Heat 15 where he beat fellow Fen Tigers Armstrong, Mountain and Coles in fine style before another scintillating ride from the effervescent Bates in Heat 16 set up the final four nominated heats with just nine points separating the four teams.
The meeting went down to the final heat with ‘Mighty’ Manchetts leading Palmers ‘Panthers’ by just one point.
With Coles (Palmers Panthers) at the back and Bates (Mighty Manchetts) in third the victory was secure but Bates wasn’t for cruising round in third and the crowd held its breath as he first passed Jacobs and set off after Nielsen.
It wasn’t to be as Nielsen held off all Bates’ challenges to inflict his first defeat of the afternoon, but second place was enough to win the meeting for the ‘Mighty’ Manchetts.
Fen Tigers promoter Kevin Jolly was bubbling at the end of the afternoon.
He said: “What a great start to our season, it was so pleasing to see a good crowd, an excellently prepared track and all today’s sponsors enjoying the racing on show.
“I think we may have a few converts amongst the highly enthusiastic sponsors who joined us today.
“The racing was good, the track rode well and the meeting moved along at a pace, this is exactly how we want to present speedway at Mildenhall and this is the template for the rest of our season.
“All the riders helped today by joining in the fun and interacting with the sponsors which is great to see.
“I must thank again all today’s sponsors for their support and the feedback we have received from them has been excellent.
“From a Mildenhall point of view our riders looked good out on the track and now I can’t wait for next Sunday and our opening National Trophy meeting against Kent.
“It should be a cracker of a meeting and hopefully everyone will be back for some more quality speedway.”