With Norfolk-based Speedway rider Ryan Kinsley back where he belongs and leading his troops into battle -  it’s Ryan’s Express that is on track for the 2020 Mildenhall Fen Tigers, proudly sponsored by Manchetts Rescue and Recovery.

“I’m very glad to be back – there’s no question that Mildenhall would always be my first choice team in the National Development League [NDL]. The way averages worked out last season meant that wasn’t possible but I’m very happy it’s worked out for me and the club now so we are reunited for this campaign”.

And Ryan is back not just as number one but as skipper – a role he has played at West Row before.

“I was made skipper early on in my Mildenhall career which was a big fillip for me as a rider just starting out and I’m very proud to be back in the role, after of course captaining the Kent Royals in 2021 also. Being captain, leading the team really does make victory that bit sweeter.”

And with the line up completed now for the Fen Tigers’ pursuit of a second successive NDL title, captain Ryan is feeling optimistic that he and his charges can deliver,

“We have a good team, with excellent spirit among the lads.  Sunday’s challenge match against the Poultec Select showed what we’re about I think.  We had to deal with tricky track conditions early on but we stuck at it. And the way we are set up as a team, should one rider have a less good meeting then the others all pick up to cover.”

That was actually Ryan’s situation in his first home meeting of the season.

“Obviously I was disappointed with just a seven points return on Sunday [vs. the Poultec Select] but when I got the bike back to the workshop I found that the frame was cracked which I’d now got sorted and that was obviously a factor in my scoring.”

With team mate Jason Edwards going through the card unbeaten twice in two home meetings his skipper sees the teenager as a huge asset for the side – and also a challenge for the number one race jacket,

“I’m starting the season at number one and that’s where I intend to stay. With me & Jason scoring points and looking to ensure 5-1s in heats 13 & 15 we are going to be a match for anyone in this league.”

And a couple of the other riders in the team really caught Ryan’s eye on Sunday.

“Alex [Spooner] really put in a strong performance and Luke [Muff] has looked a different rider in practice and delivered on that against Poultec. Both are I think going to make a big impact. 

“We have Josh [Warren] partnering Luke at reserve and I was with Josh. and indeed Alex. at Kent last year so I’ve seen his potential. Sam [Bebee] is Mildenhall through and through and getting better all the time”.

“I don’t know too much about our new signing Jack Kingston as he had stopped racing by the time I started out – but I’ve seen his record when at Mildenhall before and saw how smooth and fast he looked when doing some after meeting laps the week before last and am looking forward to him joining up with the side for the Knock Out Cup [KOC] match this coming Sunday.”

The opponents then are the Kent Royals and albeit that the same named team of last year which Ryan captained was a different promotion at a different venue, the symmetry of it being a side from the Garden of England taking on Ryan’s new team (and ditto indeed with Alex Spooner and Josh Warren) in this first competitive match isn’t lost on Kinsley.

“It was a difficult year at Kent really. The way the fixtures worked out, with a lot of home rain offs pushing the NDL matches still further back, meant that the Royals didn’t get going until around September. And of course I didn’t get a Championship berth until over half-way through the season and then had the incident when my bikes and equipment were all stolen – though I did recover the bikes. So all in all really 2021 was a year to forget – though I will always remember with gratitude the fantastic support and generosity of people across the Speedway world, with Mildenhall fans right at the top of that list, who rallied around to support me when I had that theft from my van.”

The Norfolk-based racer surveys the opposition in the NDL and can see that it’s going to be a year of stronger sides – especially at the top end of teams.

“There are quite a few strong pairings or heat leader trios and strong teams in general. Leicester and Belle Vue are strong as one always expects them to be; Plymouth too and Berwick have already shown they will be very strong, at home in particular”.

It's that balance between home and away results which can end up being crucial, Ryan feels,

“A lot of teams are going to be strong at home, I fully expect us to be one of those.  What is going to be crucial is getting points away from home.  The teams which can pick up points on the road will be those who make the end of season play offs – that are back this year.”

Not just the Play Offs are back but in this post Covid-period there’s a full season, with more teams in the league and a KOC to go for too.

“Having more meetings is a big bonus for us riders. Last season, due to circumstances really, it was sometimes one meeting a month – this year, with me riding also for Scunthorpe in the Championship one can be looking at two, sometimes three meetings a week.”

And as with all riders the support and assistance given by sponsors is of vital importance with Ryan keen to give thanks to those backing him again in 2022,

“I want to thank my sponsors for the brilliant support they give me: Teng Tools UK; Belham’s Speedway Service Ltd. in King’s Lynn; Trevor Hedge Racing; Richardson’s Sawmill; and Stephen Kinsley Plumbing and Heating.

The KOC is first on the agenda for the new look Fen Tigers with the reconfigured Kent Royals the opposition in a two-legged First Round match – home on the 24th. and away at Iwade on May Day.

“It’s going to be vital to build up as big a lead as possible in the first leg.  Iwade will be a track some of our lads know well, less so me as I have ridden there but it was a good while back in my very early amateur days.  With Jason on fire and the other lads all going well in our first match we will be aiming on Sunday for no last places and to build a strong lead”.

That KOC first round tie is this coming Sunday’s fare at Mildenhall Stadium, the Fen Tigers versus Kent Royals on 24th.April, gates open at 1.30pm with tapes up at 3pm.

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Club Honours

2023 NL KOC Winners
2022 NL Runners Up
2021 NL Champions
2018 NL Trophy Winners
2017 NL Trophy Winners
2014 NL Trophy Winners
2012 NL Champions
NL Fours Champions
NL Pairs Champions
NL KOC Winners
NL Trophy Winners
2011 NL KOC Winners
NL Runners Up
2004 CL Champions
CL Fours Champions
CL KOC Winners
CL Trophy Winners
2003 CL Champions
CL KOC Winners
2002 CL Trophy Winners
2000 CL Cup Winners
1987 Fours Champions
Pairs Champions
1984 Fours Champions
1979 NL Champions