Mildenhall Fen Tigers promoter Kevin Jolly has challenged Alfie Bowtell to put his recent performances behind him by rising to the occasion in the National League Fours on Sunday, writes Graham Clark.
The former Rye House Raiders rider has been drafted in to join Jon Armstrong, Dan Halsey and Connor Coles in the eight-team tournament at Coventry, which takes place 24 hours after the West Row outfit’s National League clash at home to the Stoke Potters (7pm), following injuries to Connor Mountain and Kyle Hughes.
“We know that with either Connor Mountain or Kyle Hughes in we would have fancied our chances but Alfie can do a job and if he can pick up a few third places we are still in with a shout,” said Jolly.
“Alfie is capable. It just seems like he has not been able to put it together recently.
“Speedway is 99 per cent about confidence and we will try and build that up in Alfie against Stoke on Saturday.
“Maybe this is the meeting he can turn it on and pull a big one out of the bag for us.”
After suffering successive defeats away from home in the National League, the Fen Tigers produced a stunning fightback to defeat the Kent Kings 45-44 on Sunday.
In a meeting marred by injuries to riders on both teams, the hosts fought back from a 13-point deficit to claim a last-gasp success.
Both sides saw their numbers reduced in heat five with the Kings’ Luke Clifton suffering a wrist injury, and Fen Tigers’ new signing Kyle Hughes a broken collarbone in the re-run after being collected by team-mate Connor Coles when taking a tumble while in front on the last lap.
Although holding a 13-point advantage, the Kings sustained another setback in heat 11 when captain Luke Bowen, a number one, sustained a hand injury after flipping his bike.
A 4-2 in the re-run from Jon Armstrong and Sam Bebee, was matched in the next heat for the hosts with new reserve Jordan Jenkins taking his first race win and Bebee picking up another third.
The gap was further reduced after Armstrong and Halsey paired up to pillage a 5-1 in heat 13 before Jenkins, taking his second race win, and Coles, claimed a 4-2 in the penultimate heat to set up a final race decider.
Just as they did in heat 13, Armstrong and Halsey blasted away from the tapes to keep the Kings pair of James Shanes and Jack Thomas, a replacement for the excluded David Mason, at the back and take a meeting winning 5-1.
“It was a great comeback. Everyone had to dig deep and they all showed that the spirit was there,” said team captain Armstrong.
“I knew that the comeback was possible. I was determined and the way Danny (Halsey) was gating I knew we could get two 5-1s late on; we just needed a little bit from the others. It was a very hard day but we came good in the end, which was the main thing.”