Temperatures on Sunday were reaching 90, but the important stat for Mildenhall – proudly sponsored by Manchetts Rescue and Recovery – was they reached 60: an emphatic win to get their home National Development League [NDL] record off the marks: a 60 points to 27 over Scottish visitors, Armadale Devils.

The weekend started in the least auspicious way for the Fen Tigers: losing heavily at Play Off rivals Belle Vue on Friday and learning late yesterday that their World Long Track rider James Shanes had crashed heavily in Holland, sustaining a broken arm and several broken ribs.

Without Shanes the last thing the beleaguered fen men needed was to lose latest team recruit, Matt Marson – but sadly that was what happened in heat three of this encounter on a sweltering Sunday afternoon in West Row, the returning Western Australian crashed heavily, dislocating his shoulder and off to hospital in the track ambulance.

It was an afternoon of a number of crashes (the Edinburgh-based Armadale had a devil of a time losing three of their side to injury-induced withdrawals) but there was also some fantastic racing.  

The meeting opened with a veritable classic: Fen Tigers’ captain Jason Edwards going wheel to wheel, elbow to elbow with the experienced Lee Complin - the Mildenhall man prevailing and setting himself on the way to another maximum in a memorable season for the Essex-based racer.

Complin was an outstanding visitor – showing how the track should be ridden in a race win in heat five when his speed was as sizzling as the weather: 51.5, a fastest time of the season.

The far less experienced members of the visitors’ side (still pointless and rock bottom of the NDL table) were finding conditions far less to their liking – leading to a lengthy delay during a rerun heat nine when the referee and his trainee carried out a lengthy track inspection.

By then the hosts had broken the resistance of their opponents – leading by 21 points and when racing resumed further advances were made leading to that final totally emphatic result.

It was a memorable afternoon in particular for the Fen Tigers’ two reserves – both of whom are having excellent campaigns, but never better than this: paid 15 for Josh Warren and one better still for Luke Muff whose glorious total was sweet sixteen indeed: career best totals for them both.  Sam Bebee was also buzzing: paid 14 for Sam, even after a crash in his opening ride.

Edwards was imperious – having seen off Complin in that epic opener, he had a battle royale with his counterpart as skipper of the Devils, Danny Phillips in heat four.  The Fen Tigers’ number one spoke during the meeting,

“There were some really good races – I had great scraps with both Complin & Phillips. And for Complin to record a time of 51.5, well that shows how good the track was riding. All of our team were well chuffed with the track today – there was a bit of dirt on there to use, to give us options and that was shown by the passing that happened. We just wanted to get on and race and must say thanks to the fans who were so patient during the delays, which can’t have been easy for them in such hot conditions.”

Of his injured team mates Edwards commented,

“It’s a real blow to lose James [Shanes] – he’s a terrific member of the team; always the first to say well done and to give helpful advice. We’ll really miss him as he looks now to be out for a long spell.

“It’s really sad too that Matt [Marson] has suffered a dislocated shoulder in his first ride back here at West Row since returning from Australia – we wish him a speedy recovery.”

The crowd heard that the squad’s other shoulder injury casualty Alex Spooner is planning some after meeting laps at Ipswich on Thursday – raising hopes that he could be back in action during this run of three in a row vital home matches : the second of which comes next Sunday (24th. July) when the stakes could not be higher, as the visitors are major Play Off rivals Belle Vue Colts.

Mildenhall Fen Tigers 60

Jason Edwards            3, 3, 2’, 3, 3, 3             = 17+1 [PM]
Sam Bebee                 FX, 3, 2’, 2’, 2, 2’          = 11+3                              
Matt Marson                FX withdrew – injured  = 0
Jack Kingston              3, 2, 3, FX                  = 8
Rider Replacement – James Shanes
Josh Warren                3, 1’, 3, 1’, 1’, 0, 2’       = 11+4
Luke Muff                   2’, 2’, 2’, 2, 2, T, 3        = 13+3

Armadale Devils 27

Lee Complin                2, 3, 3, 1’, 1                = 10+1
Josh Embleton             F, 0, F/X withdrew – injured  = 0
Tom Woolley                2, 1, 1, 3, 0                = 7
Elliot Kelly                    M, F, 0, EF                  = 0
Danny Phillips              1, F, 3, 2                     = 6
Gregor Millar                R, 1’, 1 withdrew – injured  = 2+1
Lewis Millar                 1, F, 1, F/X withdrew – injured  = 2

Heat details

1 (rerun twice; stpd - awarded) Edwards, Complin, Embleton (fell), Bebee (fell exc.)  no time [3-2]
2 Warren, Muff, L. Millar (fell rem.), G. Millar (R) 54.5  [8-3]
3 (rerun twice) Kingston, Woolley, G. Millar, Marson (fell exc.)2, Kelly (exc. 2M) 55.3  [11-6]
4 Edwards, Muff, Phillips (fell rem.), L. Millar (fell) 55.8 [16-7]
5 Complin, Kingston, Warren, Embleton 51.5  [19-10]
6 Bebee, Edwards, G. Millar, Phillips (fell) 52.9 [24-11]
7 Kingston, Muff, Woolley, Kelly (fell) 55.3  [29-12]
8 (rerun) Warren, Bebee (fell rem.), L. Millar (fell rem.), Embleton (fell exc.) 56.2  [34-13]
9 (rerun twice) Phillips, Muff, L. Millar (fell exc.), Kingston (fell exc.), G. Millar (fell inj.) 55.8 [36-16]
10 Edwards, Bebee, Woolley, Kelly 53.3  [41-17]
11 Complin, Bebee, Warren (fell rem.) {three riders only} 56.6  [44-20]
12 Woolley, Muff, Warren  {three riders only}  57.0  [47-23]
13 (rerun) Edwards, Phillips, Complin, Warren , Muff (exc. tapes) 53.3  [50-26]
14 (rerun) Muff, Warren, Kelly (EF) {three riders only} 57.6  [55-26]
15 Edwards, Bebee, Complin, Woolley 54.0  [60-27]

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