Gino Manzares leads USA speedway challenge at Mildenhall as Norwich Stars return to track
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
This Sunday sees international visitors at Mildenhall stadium as the Mildenhall Fen Tigers welcome the USA for a Transatlantic Four Team Tournament, start 3pm.
A strong foursome will be representing the USA looking to secure a spot in their World Team Cup line up the following weekend.
Gino ‘G-Man’ Manzares will lead the USA foursome and the 23-year-old from Corona, California will be a highly popular visitor.
Returning to Suffolk speedway for the first time since the end of the 2015 season when visa issues bought his UK career to an abrupt halt, a fans favourite from the Ipswich Witches will be assured of a warm welcome.
The smiling Manzares had two seasons with the Witches and has raced for Team USA in three World Cup campaigns, the highlight being a nine-point haul and defeat of double World Champion Tai Woffinden at King’s Lynn back in 2014.
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Luke Becker and Broc Nicol, both rode in the 2016 World Cup Race Off at Belle Vue and look to have promising futures in the sport.
Becker briefly stunned the Manchester crowd with a breathtaking sweep past Niels Kristen Iversen in his third ride while Nicol is basing himself in Europe for the 2017 season in the hope of taking his career to the next level.
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Completing the line-up is teenager Dillon Ruml who is the younger brother of Max and has already achieved a No 3 AMA ranking last year in just his second year of adult competition.
Of equal interest to many Norfolk speedway followers will be the return of one of the most famous names in the history of speedway, as the Norwich ‘Stars’ ride again.
Their last league action came in the 1964 season although in July 2012, former rider and legend Ove Fundin played a part in announcing a return of speedway in the city of Norwich.
Plans, which did not come to fruition, were outlined for a new track to be built on the city’s outskirts, with the hope of a return to the British league structure.
Hopes are still held by many that one day they will return to full time action but for now this meeting offers a chance for Norfolk speedway fans to see their team back on track once again.
To keep with the true spirit of Norfolk’s ‘finest’ the four riders representing the Norwich ‘Stars’ all have been born in Norfolk. Three Fen Tigers, King’s Lynn-born Connor Mountain and Lewis Whitmore along with Norwich born Jordan Jenkins will be joined by Kent ‘Kings’ up and coming Norwich born-racer Jack Thomas.
The third side will be a GB Young Lions U21 four managed by Neil Vatcher, following the recent success of the Mildenhall v GB Young Lions U21 challenge it is a pleasure to welcome back some of the best young talent in the National League. Their line-up will be led by Jack Parkinson-Blackburn who will be backed by Kyle Bickley, Luke Harris and Callum Walker.
Completing the line-up will be Mildenhall ‘KJM/Manchetts’ Tigers foursome made up of Danny Halsey, Jon Armstrong, Danno Verge and ex-Fen Tiger Connor Coles.
Co-Promoter James Easter was looking forward to a special day: “This meeting has taken some putting together and deserves to be a major success for Kevin. Phil Kirk and Lee Chipchase have given sterling support to me in getting all the blocks in place and hopefully this will be a day that lives long in supporters memories for all the right reasons.
“We have four excellent fours who certainly should provide some super entertainment on the track.
“I must thank the RAF Mildenhall British-American Community Committee who are kindly sponsoring today’s meeting along with Tennens Properties Limited who are sponsoring the USA team and Trevor Hedge Racing you are sponsoring the Norwich Stars and of course KJM Road Sweepers and Manchetts for their continued wonderful backing of our club.
“Neil Vatcher has done a great job putting together a GB Young Lions U21 four and they are welcomed back to Mildenhall for a second time this season and I am most grateful to the authorities for allowing us to use the famous name of the Norwich ‘Stars’ for the day. Hopefully speedway fans from far and wide will descend on Mildenhall stadium this Sunday.”
Sunday’s teams –
USA – Gino Manzares, Broc Nicol, Luke Bekker and Dillon Ruml
GB Young Lions U21 – Jack Parkinson Blackburn, Kyle Bickley, Luke Harris and Callum Walker
Norwich Stars – Connor Mountain, Jordan Jenkins, Jack Thomas and Lewis Whitmore
Mildenhall Fen Tigers – Jon Armstrong, Danny Halsey, Connor Coles and Danno Verge