Mildenhall Fen Tigers’ new signing Brendan Johnson is set to write a new chapter in his life, as he lays the crash that nearly killed him to rest.
Since suffering a near-fatal fall while riding for the Isle of Wight Islanders against the Fen Tigers in 2009, which left him in an induced coma, the 21-year-old has largely struggled to make an impact in the sport, with the exception of his British Under-18 title win in 2010.
With some personal changes taking place over the winter, the Poole-based rider, who spent last year riding for the Islanders, has confirmed he is now ready to add some points to his 4.84 average and play a key role for his new side, who begin their new campaign against the Stoke Potters in a National Trophy encounter at West Row on Sunday (3.30pm).
“Because of the magnitude of the crash I had a lot of press made of it but I feel now is the time to put it behind me,” he said.
“Last year I just felt like I completely lost interest in speedway at the Isle of Wight and I was procession riding and it is through my own fault my average is low.
“Since the back end of last season though I have been working with a life coach, personal trainer and a nutritionist, and it was something that I needed to do to get back on track. Hopefully this year you should see the old Brendan Johnson.”
Although receiving several offers over the winter from other National League sides, Johnson has given two key reasons as to why he opted to join the Fen Tigers for the 2014 campaign.
“I ended up choosing Mildenhall as I think going back to a smaller track will benefit me a lot as that is what I grew up riding on, while the management team of Chris Louis, Kevin Jolly, Michael Lee and Rob Henry is phenomenal.”
Johnson will slot in at number four for the 2012 Grand Slam winners alongside captain Danny Halsey, Joe Jacobs, Josh Bates, Jack Kingston, Connor Mountain and Connor Coles to make up the full line-up.
And with his team fully assembled, Fen Tigers’ co-promoter Jolly is of the opinion this year’s septet of riders is even better than the phenomenally successful class of two years ago.
“This team excites me more than any other team that we have put together because it has got everything in it,” he said.
“Brendan Johnson will make us strong in the middle order and could be a potential match winner, while I expect Connor Mountain and Connor Coles to make big strides.”
n For Tigers’ fixtures, plus an interview with Joe Jacobs, turn to page 140