MILDENHALL Fen Tigers have snapped up former Stoke rider Gareth Isherwood to fill their number seven berth, left vacant after injuries to Josh Bates and then his replacement Aaron Baseby.
The 23-year-old Mancunian hasn’t ridden this year after damaging his back in a fall, ironically when he was riding for Stoke at Mildenhall last season.
But now fully fit, he has been practising at Loomer Road and is ready to get going again.
“The main thing is Gareth is keen to race and be part of a team,” said Mildenhall co-promoter Michael Lee. “His average fits, so to start with he’ll ride in three meetings against Stoke in the cup on Saturday, then at our place against Buxton in the Trophy, and also against the Isle of Wight again in the Trophy.
“By then we’ll know if Josh is fit to ride again.
“Gareth knows that and has told me that he is determined to prove his worth.
“I can’t ask for anymore than that.”
Hopes are now high that Bates will recover earlier than expected from his broken arm and could be ready to return in a fortnight.
Lee continued: “I know rumours have started that we won’t be able to redeclare Josh in the team if he is ready, but we have checked with the authorities who have assured us that we can.”
Number one Cameron Heeps will still be missing this weekend.
He was expected to be in the line-up for the cup semi-final at Stoke, but he has now been ruled out of any return this weekend, according to Lee.
“He is now seeing a specialist next Monday and we’ll have a much better idea of whether he’ll be fit for the Trophy match against the Isle of Wight,” said Lee. “But whatever happens, I am confident that Cam and Josh will be ready for the play-offs which is great news and means we will be at full strength.”
The Trophy match against the Isle of Wight has been brought forward a week and now takes place on Sunday, September 23, at West Row (4.30pm).
September 30 has now been pencilled in for the home leg of the play-off semi-final.