Former Mildenhall Fen Tigers star Josh Bates has revealed that he needed no persuasion in making a return to racing on his favourite track for Jon Armstrong’s Testimonial later this year.
The dual British Under-21 champion was announced in the first group of riders along with Danny Ayers, Connor Mountain, Ben Morley, Stefan Nielsen, Simon Lambert, Gino Manzares and Adam Roynon, who will appear in the one-off meeting on April 22.
Last year Bates, who was part of the Fen Tigers’ 2012 Grand Slam-winning side, helped the Sheffield Tigers lift the Championship title, along with rides for the Leicester Lions in the Premiership in addition to making an appearance in the British Grand Prix in Cardiff.
“I rang Jon and said I am up for it if there is any space left. I even said you don’t have to pay me and that I will do it for free, just pay my fuel and I will be there,” said Bates.
“I said to Jon if Mildenhall were in the Championship they would be the first club I would sign for. I love the place and it is still my favourite track.
“I look forward to seeing everyone as it is where I first started and the Mildenhall Fen Tigers have given me the career where I am today. I just hope for Jon’s sake that he gets a nice big crowd.”
Although enjoying a productive campaign in 2017 the Barnsley-born rider, who turns 22 today, hopes to turn on the style back on his old stomping ground and relive some of the memories from his three-year stint with the Fen Tigers.
“If the track has got a bit of dirt on it there should be some good racing,” said Bates.
“I think I dropped one point at that Fen Fours meeting and funnily enough I was watching a DVD of it the other day. Hopefully I can do something similar again.
“I just think the atmosphere at Mildenhall is great and the track is just awesome as you don’t have to shut off and you can hold the bike flat out and hold on.
“We won a lot of silverware when I was there. I’ve never been involved in a team as good as that 2012 team where everyone got along so well. It was just such a well put together team.”
With deals secured to ride for both Leicester and Sheffield once again, Bates has already set out a number of goals without a bike wheel being turned that he hopes to achieve by the end of 2018.
“This season, I want to be number one at Sheffield by the end of the year and I want to put a point on my Premiership average at Leicester,” he said.
“I am really looking forward to working with Martin Vaculik at Leicester to see if I can pick up any tips off him as he is a Grand Prix rider, while I am hoping if the team at Sheffield can work together we can win the league again.”