We're not underdogs, but title contenders states Fen Tigers manager
- Credit: Daniel Mason/Archant
Mildenhall Fen Tigers must not consider themselves as the underdogs this year, but title challengers.
That’s the view of team manager Malcolm Vasey, who believes his youngsters are capable of competing in this season’s National Development League from June 16.
“My objective is to win the league,” he stated.
“Until you race, it’s difficult to assess where you fit in, but on paper, our team is as good as the others and it’s up to me to get the best out of the riders.”
Mildenhall will be the only third-tier side to feature in the eight-team league, their eldest rider being just 23-years-old.
Vasey, who joined the Suffolk club in 2019 after a nine-year spell at Stoke Potters, has been pleased with what he has seen so far from his current employers.
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But despite the lack of experience, Vasey is confident the team is strong enough to compete as they return to the track for the first time in two years.
“I think we’ve covered the positions very well and I was delighted with the riders when they came to practice and were all up to the mark,” he said.
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“We thought we could win the league with the team we had last season and hopeful we might this season.
“Because they’ve been absent for a year, it seems to have rebuilt the enthusiasm in some of them, perhaps in all of them.”
National champion Jason Edwards will race as Mildenhall’s number one rider, while Jordan Jenkins will lead the side that includes 16-year-old Sam Hagon, Luke Ruddick, Sam Bebee, Elliot Kelly and Arran Butcher.
Vasey, who believes third-tier speedway is “perhaps the most exciting to watch”, has always had a soft spot for the Fen Tigers, having been their stadium announcer between 1994 and 2000.
He now hopes to strengthen that relationship this term, and despite shuffling his squad due to a reduction in points for team building, Vasey is pleased the club's decisions will pay off.
“I’m delighted with the team we’ve got, and I don’t think we’re the underdogs compared to anybody,” he said.
“It becomes much more unpredictable if you’ve got riders that haven’t perhaps got the skills of a world champion.
“This place is somewhere with a good reputation for looking after riders and helping them to develop and move on in the sport.”