Dan Halsey hopes he can put his extensive track knowledge to good use and spring a surprise on his old stomping ground after agreeing to ride in Jon Armstrong’s Testimonial.
The former Mildenhall Fen Tigers fans’ favourite, who raced for the club between 2011 and 2017, is optimistic he can ruffle a few feathers at Mildenhall Stadium on April 22, despite facing competition from a number of established Premiership and Championship riders.
“It looks quite a strong field so it will be a hard meeting. It is probably one of the strongest line-ups to have raced at Mildenhall in a while,” said Halsey.
“I am definitely an outsider, but if I use my good knowledge of the track that I have built up over the years I am optimistic I can go well and surprise a few people.”
Having announced that the 2017 campaign would be his seventh, and last, in Fen Tigers colours, the 29-year-old is facing up to being without a club for the first time in more than a decade after failing to secure a team spot in this year’s National League.
“It had been in the back of my head for the last couple of years at Mildenhall that I thought I needed a change,” said Halsey.
“I had offers from every team in the National League apart from Eastbourne, and I was close to signing for Coventry, but I just didn’t really want another year of missing things that I wanted to do with friends because of racing, as I have done it every year since 2005.
“At the moment I am happy with what I am doing but who knows, I might be jealous of other riders when the season starts and want to ride again.
“If something right comes about I will look at it but I am not riding for the sake of it.”
Among those Halsey will square up to at the one-off meeting staged for the benefit of his former team-mate, is Berwick Bandits captain Kevin Doolan who was announced in the final group of riders with Luke Bowen, Alfie Bowtell, Kyle Newman, and Jordan Jenkins.
“I’m pretty regular at doing these meetings and when they called me up I was happy to put my name down,” said Doolan.
“I was lucky enough to get my testimonial last year and I got a lot of support for it so I want to help keep the tradition up.
“I’ve not been down to Mildenhall for a while but we had some good rivalries with them when I rode for King’s Lynn in the second division.
“A testimonial is one of those special things and it is a privilege and an honour to do it. We have now got to make sure there is plenty of entertainment value.”
On Monday it was announced the Fen Tigers will kick off their season with the Fen Fours on Easter Monday before starting the defence of their National Trophy title against the Isle Of Wight at home on Sunday, April 8.
The West Row-based outfit’s first National League meeting of the 2018 campaign will be at home against the Buxton Hitmen on Sunday, May 13.