Mildenhall chief expects Fen Tigers to benefit from challenge match

Mildenhall Fen Tigers manager Rob Henry expects the benefits of his side participating in a pre-season challenge match to be shown in their opening National League encounter against the Rye House Raiders.

After taking time to warm to the task last year, the management team at the club have taken measures by pencilling in a warm-up contest against a National League select side on Sunday, March 27 ahead of their trip to Hoddesdon on Easter Monday.

“The challenge match will benefit the boys as it will allow themselves to get sorted without the pressure of it being a league match,” said Henry.

“It gives them the opportunity to sort out bikes and engines. Going to the gym is good through the winter but there is no substitute for racing the bike.

“We didn’t perform well in our first few meetings last season because we weren’t ready for it. Having this challenge meeting will mean we are ready for the league.”

While it is Henry’s job to be positive about his side’s chances of success, this year the former Fen Tigers rider has confidence that silverware will find its way back to West Row over the forthcoming campaign due to the club bringing back Jon Armstrong.

“I think we can be in the mix for the title. Like everyone else we’ve got to steer clear of injuries but we’ve had our fair share over the last couple of years,” said Henry.

“We’ve not had that strength in our top four for a while and if we can get them scoring the bulk of the points we only need the young lads to score a few at the bottom.

“I think Jon will make a difference. I think having him here will help take the pressure off Dan Halsey and with him not having the captaincy he should push on, while I think with Jon he will help put a point and a half on Dan’s average.

“I think Jon can have that impact on everyone as he is an inspiration to everyone at Mildenhall Speedway.”

Another element that Henry wants to see return is the team spirit that helped the club complete the Grand Slam in 2012, and one that was seldom seen last campaign.

“It was not through a lack of trying last year. Sometimes I felt like banging my head against a brick wall at the low points,” he said.

“If you have had a bad meeting and you see you team-mates hanging over the wall pushing you on it can have a great effect.

“Success is what we need and success is what we want. The club deserves it and so does the crowd.”