Lewis Blackbird gets Mildenhall honour

LEWIS Blackbird has been named as Mildenhall Fen Tigers captain for the 2012 season.

LEWIS Blackbird has been named as Mildenhall Fen Tigers captain for the 2012 season.

His appointment was greeted with rapturous applause at a packed ‘Meet the Riders’ night at West Row over the weekend.

A huge fans’ favourite, Blackbird, who was voted Rider of the Year last season, says he had no hesitation in accepting the new role. “I felt really honoured when Michael Lee asked me if I wanted the job. We had terrific team spirit here last year and I want to keep that going and help the rest of the boys as much as I can. On a personal note I want build my average up. I’ve spent a lot of time with Troy Batchelor over the winter, and I’ve learnt so much from him on preparation and focusing more on racing. I can’t wait for the season to start and I’m confident I can lead the boys to more success.”

Fans also got the chance to meet new signings Stefan Neilsen and Josh Bates. Neilsen lives close to Mildenhall and that, plus the chance to work with Chris Louis, Michael Lee and Kevin Jolly, made him decide the time was right to move. “I had a great time at Scunthorpe and it was fantastic to win the league with the Saints. But I am at the stage of my career where I need to learn how to ride other tracks. Mildenhall is very different from Scunthorpe and I am sure the move will work out well, and I know I’ll pick up so much knowledge on riding by working with such an experienced management team.”

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Even though they are still in Australia, Cameron Heeps and Joe Jacobs sent a video message saying how much they were looking forward to the new season. Jacobs has now fully recovered from the broken ankle that disrupted his stay ‘down under’

Yorkshire youngster Josh Bates also got a warm reception from the supporters. “I’ve come here to learn from people like Michael. I like riding Mildenhall and once I’ve worked on my gating, I’ll get among the points”.

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Bates put pen to paper on his Mildenhall contract in front of the fans. Co-promoter Chris Louis said, “Josh is now a full Mildenhall asset. We are keen to build our asset base, so as well as Josh we have made Daniel Halsey and Lewis Blackbird full Mildenhall assets, along with Aaron Baseby. We were desperately disappointed we couldn’t fit Aaron into the starting line-up this year, but we wanted to show that we are still committed to him, and buying his contract underlines that. We’ll now be working hard to try and find him a team spot for this year.”

Louis also confirmed that the final member of the 2012 Fen Tigers line-up will be announced at the club’s Press and Practice day on Sunday 18th March at West Row. The new season starts on Easter Sunday (8th April) when Mildenhall face Dudley in the first leg of the National League Shield.

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