Islanders run aground in West Row thriller

Mildenhall's Dan Halsey (red) inside Tom Perry (white). Photo: JEFF HIGGOTT

Mildenhall's Dan Halsey (red) inside Tom Perry (white). Photo: JEFF HIGGOTT - Credit: Archant

On a windy and blustery afternoon with rain always close by, those that braved the elements were treated to a feast of speedway as Mildenhall emerged victors against the much vaunted Isle Of Wight Islanders.

On a windy and blustery afternoon with rain always close by, those that braved the elements were treated to a feast of speedway as Mildenhall emerged victors against the much vaunted Isle Of Wight Islanders.

Already missing number one Stefan Nielsen who is expected to be out for four –six weeks with a broken collarbone, they also lost reserve Liam Rumsey who crashed out in Heat Eleven looking to have broken his wrist. The Fen Tigers now have both reserves on the injured list and are busily seeking replacements before Tuesdays encounter at Dudley!

The tone of today’s meeting was set in Heat Three when Josh Bates burst round the outside of Ben Hopwood and Darryl Ritchings to join Jon Armstrong on a 5-1. Two heats later and the same pairing posted another 5-1 this time with a masterful ride from Armstrong to keep the charging Tom Perry at bay. With the lead never more than two points the Isle of Wight looked to have drawn level in Heat Eight before a last bend move from Aaron Baseby took him past Ritchings for second place. The scores stayed close until a second race win from star visiting reserve Adam Ellis with Ben Hopwood in third drew the scores level at 36-36. It could have gone either way at this point but with guest Lewis Blackbird again having his gating boots on, Captain Dan Halsey came through to join him for an all important 5-1 in Heat Thirteen. The imperious Armstrong won Heat Fourteen in style with reserve Terry-Daley taking third and ensuring a victory for the Fen Tigers! The unbeaten Halsey and Armstrong then wrapped things up in a classic Heat Fifteen race that saw Ellis pass Halsey only for the flying Fen Tigers Captain to repass the Isle of Wight star and join Armstrong up front to claim a final heat 5-1 and all three league points by a final score of 50-40.

Speaking after the victory Team Manager Robert Henry was slightly surprised by the final score – “I certainly didn’t see that one coming! With our problems at reserve being compounded by Liam’s crash, and missing Stefan this really was some effort by the lads. Jon and Dan were both really on it today and Lewis did exactly as we expected. We look a little decimated at the moment but will regroup and the team spirit remains as always very strong between the lads”.

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Co-Promoter Chris Louis added – “That was some effort by the lads, the top four really did the business and pulled through for us. We know though that we cannot keep putting the pressure on the top end and are looking to resolve our problems in the reserve berths. We go to Dudley on Tuesday with some confidence knowing that our top four are all firing but at places like Dudley we do need all seven scoring. I have said since the start of the season that this team will get better as the season progresses and I still believe this. Since the start of 2011 we have seen our riders improve and I’m sure this will continue this year”.

A clearly happier Jon Armstrong was bubbling after the meeting – “I was well pumped up today, although my favourite engine isn’t due back until this week, we tweaked this one and although not 100% things went much better. I had enough speed and was getting out of the gate fine. As the meeting went on I felt better and am now looking forward to Dudley on Tuesday. Bring it on and everyone else for that matter”.

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Scorers - Mildenhall – 1. Blackbird (guest) 11 (4) 2. Baseby 2 (4) 3. Bates 8+1(4) 4. Armstrong 14+1(5) 5. Halsey 13+2(5) 6. Rumsey 0(3) 7.Terry-Daley 2(5)

Isle of Wight – 1. Perry 4+1(4) 2. R/R Stoneman 3. Hopwood 4(4) 4.Ritchings 8+1(6) 5.Young 5(4) 6. Ellis 15+1 (7) 7. Freemantle 4+3(5)

Meanehile Fen Tigers youngster Josh Bates has received the call to replace injured Stefan Nielsen in the prestigious NL Best Pairs Meeting this Sunday at Mildenhall.

Nielsen who unfortunately broke his collar bone in a crash at Leicester on Saturday evening riding for his Premier League side Somerset looks likely to out for up to four weeks.

It was a difficult choice for the Mildenhall promotion with both Bates and Jon Armstrong keen to represent Mildenhall in Sunday’s event.

Club chairman Kevin Jolly commented - “ This really was a difficult decision, with both Jon and Josh keen to ride it came down to a toss of a coin!

But we feel Josh represents what the club is all about, giving youngsters a chance, and that is exactly what Josh has here a chance to put himself up against the best the National League has to offer. We have every confidence in him and know the rest of the lads will be firmly in Josh and Danny’s corner on Sunday”.

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