Jordan Jenkins believes the strength in depth possessed by the Mildenhall Fen Tigers can help him steer them to top spot in the National League in his first year as team captain.
Having excelled in the role when filling in for last year’s skipper Jon Armstrong, who is now with the Coventry Bees, a decision was made to hand the armband to the 16-year-old on a permanent basis in 2018 following his agreement to return to the club.
With Jenkins the sole survivor from last year’s starting septet, the Norwich-based rider feels this year’s team is capable of delivering the Fen Tigers their first title triumph since 2012.
“I think with us all being young it will bring a lot of enthusiasm to the team and I think it will benefit us. We will give it 110 per cent and see what happens,” said Jenkins.
“I think we’ve got the strongest bottom end in the league with Drew Kemp and Matt Marson and one of the best number one riders in Josh Bailey.
“There is not a club that stands out as clear favourites so I reckon we have got a good chance this year.
“I enjoyed being part of the team last year and all the guys were great and I got on with them really well but I think this year we’ve got riders that will put in everything they have got.
“I hope we can go one step further than last year. We got hampered by injuries and without any injuries I think we can go all the way.”
Despite his relative inexperience compared to a number of his team-mates who have raced at a higher level, Jenkins is not feeling any additional pressure of taking on the captain’s armband.
He said: “I can’t wait to be captain and after the first glimpse of the new team at the press and practice event they looked really fast.
“To be the youngest the captain in the league means a lot to me and what better club than Mildenhall to be in that position.
“I had a few meetings as captain last year and loved my time doing it so hopefully it is more of the same this year.
“I am the type of guy that likes helping people out and I will offer my support in any way I can.”
While picking up the club’s Rider Of The Year award after a string of impressive performances in 2017 Jenkins feels that there is still room for improvement which he hopes to make this season to enable him to take the next step in his career.
“I’m thinking I need to improve on my starts as that is what I struggled with last year,” added Jenkins.
“Most of my wins were from the back so if I can make the starts it will make life a lot easier especially when we go away.
“One thing I want to do this year is improve my away average and if I can do that then that will be a big personal success.”
• Jenkins will be one of six Fen Tigers riders involved in the first British Under-21 semi-final at Eastbourne on Saturday (7.30pm).
He will be joined in the event by Josh Bailey, Sam Bebee, Drew Kemp, Ryan Kinsley and Matt Marson who is one of the two reserve riders for the meeting.