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Next Home Meeting

Sunday 26 June
3:00pm

NDL

Mildenhall
Fen Tigers

v

Leicester
Lion Cubs

Here’s a puzzler – which rider making his debut as a Mildenhall rider for the first time this season has already won a major team title with the Fen Tigers?

The answer is Alex Spooner: riding as heat leader in the new-look Mildenhall side – proudly sponsored by Manchetts Rescue and Recovery.

Alex explains,

“When I think about all my connections with this club, I’d say it’s less a case of this being my new home than finally making it official!”

“Looking back. Mildenhall was one of the first tracks I rode in the Midland Development League and I’ve guested here probably more times than anywhere else so it’s very familiar territory for me.”

And that role in a trophy-winning Mildenhall side? Back in 2017, Essex Boy Alex was at an initial crossroads in the early part of his career, brief spells with Lakeside and Kent had come and gone and though wanted certainly by the latter, Alex took the bold step of deciding not to sign up to one club and instead stand-in when NL sides were short-handed.

He takes up the story,

“It certainly worked out well for me, I rode at all but one of the tracks in the National League that year and at most of them multiple times – I was finding myself having meetings two or three times a week”

And this included two Cup Finals wearing a Mildenhall race jacket.

“I rode in both legs of the National Trophy Final against Plymouth – it’ll be a Final Mildenhall fans will recall, I’m sure,  as the Fen Tigers lost 54-36 in the first leg down in Devon, but came back to repeat that same score line in their favour at West Row and won the Trophy on a run off!

“I also rode for Mildenhall in the NL KOC Final that same year – though they lost to Eastbourne over the two legs in that one”.

So with silverware success with the Fen Tigers already on his CV now it’s as a permanent  fixture in the orange & black, for Mildenhall’s third heat leader this term.

Like one of his new colleagues, Jason Edwards, Alex traces his racing roots back to the training facilities at the now defunct Lakeside club in his native Essex.

“The first time I’d been on a motorbike at all was at a Ride & Slide day at Lakeside when I was just 14.  I loved it so much that then I was there every week from then on, travelling from my home in Wickford to race on the Hagon Shocks mini track on Saturday mornings. It really set me on the way and then via the development leagues and then my early nomadic years in the NL my career has developed to where I find myself today”.

That has been mainly with the former Kent club but last year was one of frustration.

“One of the real advantages we all have here as Mildenhall riders is all the practice opportunities we can get.  And with this weekend’s challenge match vs the Poultec Select and a full league & Cup programme spread evenly over the season we can plan for a full season.

“It was really the opposite at Kent last season, no way we could practice or have second half rides there and because their NDL team had to play second fiddle to the Kings’ main Championship side, I didn’t have a home match there until September!  Having said that, I was quickly into my stride and come the end of the season really thought I was showing what I can do”.

A major blow then hit Alex – with a serious accident, that was off track.

“I work with a friend in our own company carrying out tree works and in October just before what would’ve been my last meeting of the season I had an accident with a chainsaw which saw me suffer a deep laceration to my right hand.  There was tendon and nerve damage and my hand was out of action and I was largely confined to quarters with a couple of operations too, from October to January”

But Alex has fought back and is fighting fit to resume his two careers.

“It’s been good to get back to work – and showing literally that’s it an ill wind, the recent storm damage bringing down trees across Essex and surrounding areas has given us plenty of work in recent weeks.  That’s also built up my fitness and racing wise I’ve been very pleased with how I’ve performed back on a bike.”

Alex certainly impressed at the Mildenhall Press & Practice and has had plenty of laps here, at Iwade, at the Isle Of Wight, at Ipswich where he’s been picked for their Junior League side also and has also been doing some motocross to keep himself match-fit.  

And now the time has come to get into action and for Alex to turn from pruning trees to pulling them up on track!

“It was torture for someone like me who is always on the go and can never keep still to have been incapacitated for so long after my work accident.  But the waiting is over now and I’m really looking forward to getting going”

Alex thanks all his sponsors who give such invaluable assistance: 

“Many thanks to all my 2020 sponsors, Helite, The Finishing Line, Burty, Covec, Ruggles and Jeffrey, Build Lec, Rob Racing, Minerva, Silkolene, UK Packaging, Print Tec, AK Tree Services and, where it all started for me, Russell Paine’s Ride ’n’ Slide.”