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Sunday 28 Aug
3:00pm

NDL

Mildenhall
Fen Tigers

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Oxford
Chargers

Mildenhall Fen Tigers – proudly sponsored by Manchetts Rescue and Recovery – have announced the final member of their 2022 National Development League [NDL] side pending BSPL approval and it’s a returning rider – last seen as a teenaged member of the National Trophy winning side of 2014, carrying on into the 2015 campaign, now 26 and a father of two it’s a big welcome back to Jack Kingston. 

Increasing the quota of Essex-based riders in the Fen Tigers’ septet as they seek to defend their NDL title, Jack has actually not ridden professionally since he departed the scene as a Cradley Heathens rider in 2016. But the opportunity to kick start a career that once saw him a hairsbreadth away from winning the GB Under 19 title has been too good for Kingston to refuse and, after a hush-hush ride at the end of last Sunday’s individual meeting at West Row, Jack’s‘ the Lad turned to by the Mildenhall management to complete what looks like a very solid squad for this season.

Kingston is very enthusiastic about this new opportunity, recognising that it’s a bit of Back To The Future moment for him,

“I suppose I might be seen as a Blast From The Past! And it has indeed been six long years since I last did ride in league Speedway. But in that time so much has changed in my life, I’m self-employed now and a family man with two sons (Alfie & Albert). For the first two years after I stopped with Cradley I didn’t ride at all but then I gradually eased my way back into the sport and the past two or three years I’ve figured in a handful of amateur matches around the place and I’ve done okay, never struggling to record double figures scores – though of course the caveat is that they were amateur meetings.

“There are lots of new faces, riders I don’t know at all riding in the NDL now; and of those riders that I do know, people like old team mates of mine, Ben Morley and Alfie Bowtell (who funny enough we’ll be facing next week in my first match back) are now number ones in the division! For me it’s going to be a case of riding without the pressure I once felt when I was a youngster and seeing where my points scoring takes me”.

Kingston’s consistent performances, albeit sporadically, in his time away from the professional ranks had made him a target for a number of clubs, but it’s Mildenhall who’ve secured his signature and it’s a far more mature and settled individual that will coming to the tapes in the second string berth for the Fen Tigers this time around,

“I was just a teenager when I started out riding, firstly for the Lakeside Young Hammers in 2012 and then as an original member of the Kent Kings in 2013 – then I had my two years at West Row.  This was when I was doing my motor apprenticeship and, I’ll be honest, often the pressure of work was playing on my mind whilst also pursuing my Speedway career. You have be fully focused to ride Speedway for your own sake and safety and also for the team you’re in and after going to Cradley I knew that was a problem so that’s why I stepped away from the sport for a bit.

“But I’m older (though I am still only 26!), much wiser and with my own business too and I have not just matured as a person but I’ve matured as a rider too”.

With Kingston’s comeback to NDL racing coming a little bit unexpectedly Jack finds himself without sponsorship,

“It’s just me supporting my riding and things have hardly been helped by blowing an engine today (Easter Sunday) riding in a challenge match for my old team Thurrock Hammers down at Iwade. So, if there are people out there wanting to provide sponsorship, however large or small, I’d be very grateful of course.”

That close call in the GB Under 19 championship came in Jack’s first season with Mildenhall in 2014 when the Final was held at his old track, Central Park in Kent.

“Finishing on the rostrum in a major British championship is obviously my career highlight – and I very nearly finished higher than third. My first ride saw me up against Olly Greenwood and the then reigning GB U21 champion Josh Bates. It was a great race with the lead changing hands several times and people have always described it to me as a finish where one could’ve thrown a blanket over the first three so close were we all. I was third but then went onto win all of my remaining four rides as amazingly did Bates & eventual winner Greenwood – quite unusual for that to happen and it shows how close I actually did come”.

That highpoint marked out Kingston as a real rider to watch for the future, as did a succession of high scoring performances for the Fen Tigers (paid 17 against Leicester in the National Trophy competition in 2014 and then equal top scorer with 13 in the West Row leg of the Final itself spring to mind) and this is that second chance to fulfil such potential back at Mildenhall.

“I’ve been given an assessed average of 4.44 which has been reduced, though not by much in truth, from the 5.86 I finished on back in 2016. Averages are averages of course but I did feel I was worth more than that below six point figure back then, so we’ll have to see how the scoring on track this time goes”.

And going out for the first time back in the famous orange & black for Kingston will be happening this coming Sunday, 24th. April taking on Kent Royals in the first leg of a Knock Out semi final at Mildenhall Speedway – 3pom start time. 

Fen Tigers Co-owner Phil Kirk commented,

"We couldn't be more pleased to welcome Jack back to Mildenhall and feel we may well have made a little bit of a coup here. We have been speaking to Jack for three weeks now and supporting him where we are able as he makes a return to the sport. He is a good guy who I feel sure will fit very well into the team and could well be a snip at his starting average. Whatever happens we will give Jack time to get race fit and back fully into the sport at this level, the talent hasn't gone away and we all will do what we can to ensure he enjoys being at Mildenhall and can concentrate on his riding while we support him behind the scenes"