Nielsen roars to his first maximum haul of points

MAXIMUM MAN: Stefan Nielsen, who scored 18 points during the Mildenhall Fen Tigers' clash with the Rye House Raiders on Monday.
MAXIMUM MAN: Stefan Nielsen, who scored 18 points during the Mildenhall Fen Tigers' clash with the Rye House Raiders on Monday.
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NATIONAL LEAGUE

Rye House Raiders 40

Mildenhall Fen Tigers 50

STEFAN Nielsen underlined his potential after storming to his first ever 18-point maximum to hand an injury-hit Mildenhall Fen Tigers a crucial away win.

Taking to the Hoddesdon track like a duck to water, the Brandon-based rider found himself in unstoppable form as he raced to six straight wins in his first ever meeting on the track.

Captain Lewis Blackbird got the ball rolling for the Tigers with a decisive opening heat win, which was run at the second time following guest Fen Tiger number one Aaron Baseby’s first bend spill.

Things took a big upturn just a heat later as in-form reserve Nathan Stoneman teamed up with the Tigers’ latest addition Joe Graver to grab an all-important heat maximum.

It was the impressive Nielsen’s turn to win next when leading home a 4-2 with Dan Halsey to put the West Row outfit into a six-point lead after just three heats.

By the end of heat six, Mildenhall saw their lead cut back to just two points with Shane Hazelden and David Mason, who was soon to withdraw from the meeting following an early spill, teaming up for a 5-1.

A run of three successive shared heats, which saw Nielsen bag wins number two and three, meant that the two teams were still separated by just the two points.

That was all to change thanks to that man Nielsen and his race partner Halsey in heat 10 with the pair plundering another 4-2 to open up the gap between the teams to four once more.

But Mildenhall’s advantage was reduced once more as the Raiders struck with a 4-2 of their own courtesy of James Sarjeant and Nick Laurence a heat later.

The race was to be Sarjeant’s last with the Rye House number five receiving ban for the rest of the meeting following a post-race altercation with Baseby.

Nielsen claimed win number five to lead home another 4-2 in heat 12 this time with Stoneman, before the equally-impressive Blackbird left his rivals for dead a race later for a share of the spoils.

With the meeting still finally balanced heading into the final two races, a last heat decider was looking increasingly likely.

But it was not to be with young Graver showing no signs of inexperience to lead home the match-winning 4-2 in just his fourth-ever competitive outing for the club in the penultimate race.

Although the win was secured, there was still the chance to take all four points.

It was a chance that Blackbird and Nielsen were not to pass up with the pair combining to good effect to bag the all- important 5-1 to ensure all four points were heading back to West Row.

“After I came back from World Under-21 meeting in Croatia I made some changes to my clutch along with learning to be more aggressive in the first turn,” said Nielsen. “I feel I am much more confident on the bike now.

“I am over the moon as it is my first ever maximum in speedway. Hopefully there will be more to come.”

Team manager Rob Henry added: ”I thought we would push them hard but I am just overwhelmed by the performance.

“For Stefan to do what he did having never ridden here was amazing, while young Joe Graver has come up with a win and a second and Lewis was back on form. We really showed strength throughout the team.”

Scores

Rye House: D Mason 3+2; S Hazelden 9; B Morley 4; L Chessell 7; J Sarjeant 8+1; N Laurence 4+2; R Mullins 5+1.

Mildenhall: A Baseby 4; J Jacobs R/R; S Nielsen 18; D Halsey 4+1; L Blackbird 14+1; N Stoneman 5+1; J Graver 5+1.