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8 October

Knock Out Cup

Fen Tigers
Lion Cubs

There’s a real buzz around West Row at the form of one of the club’s favourite sons Sam Bebee. Starting his competitive season at home unbeaten in his four programmed rides was the near perfect start for the 21 year old and is the standard he now looks to emulate (or better) as Mildenhall Speedway – proudly sponsored by Manchetts Rescue and Recovery – get the defence of their NDL title underway versus Plymouth Centurions this Sunday (15/5).

Sam’s man of the match performance in that KOC semi-final win over Kent came in his 50th. senior appearance for the Fen Tigers – the perfect way to celebrate the half century for a home grown product who, having first ridden for the club back in 2016, is actually now the longest-serving rider in the champions’ squad.

That link with Grandfathers introducing Mildenhall’s current crop of riders to the sport continues with Sam too – as it was his Granddad Steve who first took the then 14-year-old Sam to a meeting at West Row as Sam explains,

“I had ridden MotoX for a bit when I was younger and then when I was 14 my Granddad took me along to see a Speedway meeting at Mildenhall.  I immediately wanted to give it a try myself – and thanks to Kevin Jolly [Mildenhall promoter at the time] calling up my grandad and offering the use of a bike, I got to ride the track and then after more practice down at the Lakeside Academy I bought my first bike.

“I rode 250cc in a couple of the British Youth Rounds and then quickly was given the opportunity to ride in the senior Fen Tigers side”.

A big crash riding for Mildenhall away at Coventry at the end of his first season stalled the teenager’s progress and indeed meant that he was side-lined throughout 2017. A return to the Fen Tigers’ ranks the following year resulted in success with the National Trophy secured – before calamity occurred right at the start of the 2019 season.

“I was all ready to go when, the day after Press & Practice, I had a bad crash where I laid the bike down but a following rider ran over me, breaking my back. That obviously meant that 2019 was out for me and then circumstances beyond my control completely ,meant that there was no Speedway to ride in 2020. So I was frustrated that I couldn’t ride in the team again until 2021 – but it was worth waiting for when we won the League”.

Sam played a starring role in the away match in October Mildenhall needed to win to keep their NDL title aspirations alive – a match-winning 11 plus two bonus points at Kent’s Central Park. There must have been a trace of irony that a youngster who’d endured such bad luck scored an absolutely vital paid 13 effectively to win his team the title! 

And the start of this season has seen Norfolk-born Sam carry on in a similar vein of form,

“My score in the first home match three weeks ago was my best performance at West Row and I’m very happy with that.  To be honest, I knew I was riding well and had been in practice all year – and so to do it a meeting was very satisfying. 

“I’m feeling really confident in myself and I see this year as one when I’m looking to continue improving and work my way up the ladder”

As a ‘veteran’ of two previous silverware-winning Fen Tigers’ sides, Sam knows what a successful septet looks like and he can see that with the 2022 team,

“I’m really happy with the team – we have a good bunch of lads and we’ve already reached a Cup Final this early in the season, so it’s onwards and upwards now.  The first League match has been a while coming but now that it’s Plymouth on Sunday and then Leicester away next Saturday we know that we are ready to kick on to defend our title”.

“I really want say a big thank you to Michael Lee and Kevin Jolly for all their help throughout my career so far – as well, of course, as my Granddad, Steve and my Mum (Leisa) and Dad (Lee) and my girlfriend, Rosie”.

And Sam enjoys some brilliant sponsorship and support from a large number of companies and individuals who he wants to thank,

“My sponsors are so important to me and am so grateful for the backing they give me:

Freedom Recycling; Craft ICT Ltd; GP Building; Manchetts; Stonefield Farm Shop; Northwold Rockery Stone; Style Windows; KJM Road Sweepers; TSR Tuning; LB Heating; Heatmaster; 151s; Ten Eighty; and Terry Waters, Rod & Sue Edwards, Ady and Owen Colman, Will Bradfield, Pat and Gordon, Pete Poulene  & Samuel”.

Not sure if the collective term for so many sponsors is a swarm but probably in this case it should be! Certainly if Sam carries on with his excellent start to the campaign, success is going to as sweet as honey!