LEWIS Blackbird is determined to follow in the footsteps of his father after signing for Mildenhall Fen Tigers this week (writes Mark Williams).
Blackbird’s father, Carl, was a huge hit during one of the West Row club’s most glittering periods in the 1980s and rode alongside current team boss Rob Henry.
Blackbird junior put pen to paper this week after joining from King’s Lynn Young Stars – a deal that confirmed Oliver Rayson’s move in the opposite direction.
“This is the best thing I have ever done,” said Blackbird, who lives in Ely. “It is a great opportunity for me.
“My biggest inspirations are my dad and Michael Lee (Fen Tigers co-promoter). I have been watching videos of my dad in action since I was four years old and there is no doubt he was very popular here.”
Carl was the eldest and most successful of three brothers who began speedway careers at Mildenhall. By 1984, he had reached the summit of National League action – then the second tier – and moved to Belle Vue for a whopping transfer fee of £18,000.
Capped for England, Carl went on to enjoy spells with Ipswich, Edinburgh and Long Eaton before bowing out at Oxford.
And the latter club is where Lewis made his first tentative steps into the sport four years ago.
“I started in 2007 and had a few meetings for Oxford,” said the 24-year-old. “I really enjoyed it but had to give it up because of work commitments and money issues. I had an average of five points.
“I saw a bike being sold in November and after buying it I was determined to get involved in speedway again. I was pleased to get another crack when I joined King’s Lynn.”
Set to re-launch his career with Mildenhall’s rivals, Blackbird admitted to always having one eye on a move to West Suffolk.
“I can’t thank King’s Lynn enough but Mildenhall is where I want to be. There is a great team here with good experience on the management and promotion side of things – this is priceless.
“I want to learn as much as I can and see how far I can go.”
In the same week that Danny Halsey also signed for the club, the Tigers squad is taking shape nicely ahead of the National League campaign, which kicks off with a home meeting against Dudley on Sunday, April 17.
“We have some great riders in the team and I can’t see why we shouldn’t be trying to win the league,” added Blackbird. “Every team is there to be beaten and we will go into it trying to win every race.”