On the eve of their 2018 season Danny Ayres is confident he can help the Mildenhall Fen Tigers live up to high expectations and turn them from being also-rans into this year’s National League champions.
In recent seasons the West Row-based outfit have come up short in their quest to land speedway racing’s third tier, with their last title triumph coming back in 2012.
As one of a host of new faces joining the club over the winter the 31-year-old believes they have the ideal team to take the National League by storm and end the Fen Tigers’ drought.
“I think people have got us right to be favourites as I think the team looks solid from one to seven. It is all well and good being that on paper but we now need to deliver as a team,” said Ayres.
“I am very excited by this team and if we all stay fit and healthy we can go all the way. There is pressure on us this year but I’m thriving off it.”
Having had to deal with the death of his mum at the end of last year, remaining fully focussed has been tough for the former Cradley Heathens and Kent Kings rider. But with a good support team around him he hopes he can now get his head back on track.
“I don’t feel I’ve had the best winter personally and I have found it difficult at times but getting the season under way will be a massive bonus,” said Ayres. “I’ve got a good team around me and I am thankful for the support of those that have come on board, like Jon Button Construction, while Trevor (Murkin) at KJM has been a massive supporter and without him my career would not be what it is today.
“The press and practice day went well. I did a little bit of testing and the bike felt really good and everyone looked sharp on their own bikes.”
While Ayres is a team player at heart he has set himself a number of individual goals he hopes to achieve come the conclusion of the forthcoming campaign.
“My personal goals are I want to be the out-and-out number one in the team and in the league. At the end of it I want to win the National League Riders’ Championship,” he said.
“At the same time there is nothing I want more than to win the league and that is the ultimate goal I hope to finally achieve with Mildenhall.”
Ayres’ first job will be to help the Fen Tigers start the defence of their National Trophy crown with a victory over the Isle Of Wight Warriors on Sunday (3pm), which comes after the wet weather saw their 2018 curtain-raising Fen Fours event called off.
“I thrive off racing those good lads that will be coming here on Sunday like Ben Morley, but when they come here I can assure you they will not have an easy time,” he added.
“We are ready to wage war with every team that comes to Mildenhall this year.”
• For more Fen Tigers build-up, including new captain Jordan Jenkins, turn to page 90