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Sunday 28 Aug
3:00pm

NDL

Mildenhall
Fen Tigers

v

Oxford
Chargers

The 2022 Speedway season gets underway this Sunday (10th. April) at Mildenhall Speedway, proudly sponsored by Manchetts Rescue & Recovery with the staging of the Great Britain Under 21 Championship Semi-final.

16 of the nation’s top young Speedway talent will be in action, aiming to secure qualification for the Final (being held in August at Birmingham Speedway)  by finishing in the top six.

For the home fans all attention will be on the Fen Tigers’ Jason Edwards who is aiming for a fifth successive GB U21 Final – a stat made all the more remarkable by the fact that the Essex-born racer is actually still in his teens!  Jason holds the record as the youngest ever qualifier for the Final of this long-established championship event aged just 15 and a half.  Now at 19, Jason will be looking to emulate his semi final victory of last season and get to the Final.

As Jason told supporters at the recent Fans Forum,

“It’s ideal for me to be opening my racing season at West Row with this individual event, though the way I look at things is that any meeting is a good one. I hope to qualify and continue my trend of improving my performance each time in the Final itself - having narrowly missed out on getting to the title-deciding race in 2021”.

Edwards has two colleagues from the Fen Tigers’ triumphant 2021 National Development League [NDL] squad lining up alongside him in Sunday’s field, Nathan Ablitt and Sam Hagon.  Both have moved onto pastures (well actually shale tracks!) new in 2022: Ablitt riding in the NDL with Belle Vue Colts and Hagon part of the new side in the division, the Oxford Chargers.  

Belle Vue actually have the most number of competitors in the field with Ablitt, Archie Freeman and the McGurk brothers, Harry and Sam.  The latter is one of six former or current British youth champions in the field – his namesake Sam Hagon is another (250cc national youth champion in 2019) and fellow former Fen Tiger Ablitt himself has two GB youth titles to his name.

The third ex-Mildenhall man is the cream of Devon, Plymouth’s Henry Atkins.  Henry, who was a Fen Tiger pre-pandemic in 2019, is now 21 years of age and this’ll be his last chance at success at this highest age limit in the Young Speedway set-up – he has the distinction of being the sport’s youngest ever national champion, having been just ten years of age when he took the inaugural 125cc crown in 2011.

Atkins’ Plymouth Centurions’ team mate Ben Trigger is the current GB Youth champion in the field: taking the 500cc title in 2021.

And completing the sextet of GB Youth title winners is a rider who can also boast world titles at schoolboy level, Berwick’s Kyle Bickley who won the third of his national titles in 2016, at 500cc class having previously conquered the Continent, winning two FIM Longtrack Gold Trophies (in 2014 and 2015): the de facto youth World Championship.

And actually the list of national champions doesn’t end there, as a rider making his British Speedway competitive debut this year, Luke Kileen is the 2020 125cc champion of Australia.  British Passport-holder Kileen is in the new Oxford Chargers’ line up for 2022 and looking to make an impact both in the NDL and starting on Sunday in the GB Under 21 set up.

There’s one other nationality in the field and that’s Scotsman, Gregor Millar who has impressed previously when visiting West Row with his club side, Armadale Devils.

Completing the list of current NDL riders are two youngsters who will be in the Leicester Lion Cubs’ side this season: Vinnie Foord and Mickie Simpson.  

The rest of the field are riders who are currently plying their racing trade in the regionalised development divisions: the Midland & Southern Development League [MDSL] and the Northern Junior League [NJL] and for them Sunday won’t just be about trying to achieve qualification to a level they’ve not reached before, but also very much a case of putting themselves in the shop window. 

Kai Ward is another rider from Devon and last year was a team mate of Simpson’s at Leicester; while Leicestershire is the home country of Jacob Fellows, who’s riding in the MSDL this term for Birmingham Bulls.

Representing the NJL will be Kyran Lyden, who actually had the experience of riding in the semi final last year, at Redcar in his native Teesside.

There are two reserves who’ll be stepping into action should events make their appearance necessary: they are from opposite ends of the country: Alex Goldsborough is another from the north-east whilst James Laker hails from Sandwich in Kent and this year captains his home county club in the MSDL, Sittingbourne Crusaders.

 Riders [in alphabetical order]:

Nathan Ablitt  (Belle Vue Colts and Poole Pirates); Henry Atkins (Plymouth Centurions & Gladiators); Kyle Bickley  (Berwick Bullets & Bandits);  JASON EDWARDS (Mildenhall Fen Tigers and Redcar Bears); Jacob Fellows (Birmingham Bulls); Vinnie Foord (Leicester Lion Cubs); Archie Freeman (Belle Vue Colts); Sam Hagon (Oxford Chargers);  Luke Kileen (Oxford Chargers); Kyran Lyden (Redcar Cubs);  Harry McGurk (Belle Vue Colts); Sam McGurk (Belle Vue Colts); Gregor Millar (Armadale Devils); Mickie Simpson (Leicester Lion Cubs); Ben Trigger (Plymouth Centurions); Kai Ward (King’s Lynn Lightning).

The two meeting reserves are Alex Goldsborough (Unattached) and James Laker (Sittingbourne Crusaders)

The action gets underway at 3pm on Sunday 10th. April at Mildenhall Speedway, Hayland Drove, West Row, Mildenhall, Suffolk, IP28 8QU

Track ‘phone number (on meeting days only): 01638 711777