TIGERS BACK ON TRACK

editorial image

THE Mildenhall Fen Tigers were ready to roar into another season again this week after resolving a grievance with the speedway’s governing body which had threatened to see them taken off the track.

National League racedays will return to West Row Stadium, the home of the play-off finalists, in the Spring after weeks of negotiations with the British Speedway Promoters Association (BSPA) ended on the right note for Mildenhall offcials.

The two parties came to an agreement to delay the full payment of an entry fee to the National League which had been imposed on the Suffolk club by the BSPA earlier this year.

Having already purchased the promotional rights for the club, the deal will see the promotional trio of Chris Louis, Michael Lee and Kevin Jolly pay the league entry fee levied on the club in instalments, starting in April, when the National League season gets under way.

Loius said: “In the current climate it makes what we are trying to achieve with the club very difficult and I am disappointed with the situation we were put in.

“At the same time we are relieved to get a deal in place that finally enables us to finish our team-building plans. We have said from the outset Mildenhall is a long-term project and we certainly did not want to give it up.”

The West Row outfit, who won the National League Knock Out Cup in October against Stoke Potters, had hoped to invest in an academy to develop the stars of the future, but with the league fee, Louis admits that another revenue stream will now have to be sought out.

“We certainly intend to get the academy up-and-running this year, but with the fee we are having to pay we have got to have a re-think on how to finance it,” he said. “The whole idea of the academy is to get young British lads having a go at the sport without having to burden all the costs.

“They would be able to turn up to the track, have a go on the bike and see whether they want to get involved with the sport.”

As a result of the dispute between the BSPA and the Fen Tigers’ management team, building plans for 2012 have been delayed, but Louis is confident fans will know who the side’s one to seven riders for next year are within the next couple of weeks.

Already confirmed in the side and returning from last year is Daniel Halsey, while last year’s rider-of-the-season, Lewis Blackbird, has agreed a verbal deal to bring him back to the club for a second season.

“The hope was to announce the team between Christmas and New Year’s Eve,” added Louis. “We should be in line to announce the full team early next year, there are just one or two last things we need to finalise.

“We are looking to keep as many of last year’s team as possible but from the outset we also said the idea was to bring in and develop young riders and to that end we plan to do that.

“I certainly feel with what we have planned for 2012 fans will not be disappointed.”