Blackbird hails ‘best mates’ after cup win

LEWIS Blackbird hopes the Mildenhall Fen Tigers’ National League Knockout Cup victory is the “first of many” trophies he wins in his speedway career.

Eyebrows were raised in the sport when the Tigers swooped for the 24-year-old son of Tigers legend Carl Blackbird after a difficult stint in the sport back in 2006/2007.

But Blackbird has impressed on the track, briefly taking the Mildenhall number one spot, to earn a vociferous support during the season.

Grinning like a Cheshire cat after Saturday’s cup win, he said: “We’re absolutely buzzing. I’m pretty pleased with the way I went as well — I don’t like Stoke, but this meeting has been awesome for me.

“As a team, we are all best mates. Hopefully this trophy is the first of many.”

The Tigers’ route to the final started back in June with a comfortable success over the the league-leaders Hackney Hawks, before the Isle of Wight Islanders were easily brushed aside in the semi-finals.

Cameron Heeps had missed those ties through visa issues and injury, respectively, but returned to play his part in the final with a total of 17 points, plus one bonus, across the two legs.

Heeps, who finished the year with the number one on his back, added: “I know my family back in Australia will be proud of me, I’m proud of myself. I’m glad I came here in my first year — I knew I’d made the right decision and it’s all just gone forward.

“I never pictured myself with a trophy in my hands at the end of my first season, but the boys all chipped in, so well done to them as well.”

Although a lot of attention has gone to Heeps during his sensational debut season, supporters’ club representative Derek Wilson believes the attitude of the whole team throughout the season has helped give Mildenhall speedway a rebirth beyond their fans’ wildest dreams.

He said: “There is a breath of fresh air around the area. There are no glamour pusses — they are a good set of lads, work hard and enjoy their social life and work together as a team off the track.

“They were pushing with determination and desire, with fantastic support from the local people behind them.”

Reserve Dan Halsey, who top-scored in each of the two legs of the final, added: “It’s been a great year, all the boys have gelled well and a piece of silverware was the icing on the cake.”