Alfie Bowtell expects the Mildenhall Fen Tigers to find the Lakeside Hammers too hot to handle when the teams square up to each other in the National League tomorrow (8pm).
The former Fen Tigers rider is confident that his new team can see off the challenge of the West Row outfit when the two take to the shale at the Arena Essex Raceway.
Despite predicting a victory for The Hammers, the 20-year-old believes that the Fen Tigers will be no pushovers given their recent good start to the new campaign.
He said: “Mildenhall seem to have started the season well although I think we will be too strong around the Arena Essex Raceway.
“We have got a bit of a home advantage as half of their team won’t have ridden around here, but not many people in the National League will have ridden here before.
“Everyone has been scoring well for Mildenhall. None of them have had a really bad run and they all seem to be in good form so it will be tough. Both sides have got full teams so there will be no excuses.
“We have just got to make sure we get off in front early on. I think it will be a close meeting but I think we will win by eight points, just enough so they don’t get an away point.”
While the Epping-based rider may now be sporting the claret and blue of the Hammers, who are managed by dual British Champion Kelvin Tatum, his decision not to return for a second successive season at West Row was one that took some consideration.
“It was a tough decision to make,” said Bowtell.
“I’ve no enemies at Mildenhall and I got on with everyone there and I enjoyed riding there plus I still speak to Connor Mountain quite often.
“Lakeside though just offered me a better a deal and they are located about half an hour away from my workshop which is really convenient.
“It was also the first place I watched speedway and I said at the time I would love to ride here one day, and with them dropping down to the National League it made it easier.
“I’ve been lucky really as I get on with all the team which makes it easier and when you have Kelvin Tatum as team manager you can’t really go wrong.”
Bowtell will be making a return to his old stomping ground on Sunday when forming part of the British Lions Under-21 side, put together to face the Fen Tigers in a challenge contest (4pm).
He will be joined in the team by Liam Carr, Nathan Stoneman, Tom Brennan, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn, Alex Spooner and Kyle Bickley, while the Fen Tigers will draft in Ben Morley and Joe Jacobs to cover for the absent pair of Connor Mountain and Jordan Jenkins.
“It will be the second time I have been back to Mildenhall this year as I was there at the Fen Fours,” said Bowtell.
“I am looking forward to going back there again though as I enjoy riding there.”
A paid 13 total from captain Jon Armstrong saw the Fen Tigers move a step closer to the final of this year’s National Trophy after inflicting a 55-34 defeat over the Kent Kings.
Sam Woods enjoyed his best return since joining the Suffolk side when firing in a paid 12 total, while Connor Mountain also hit double figures after ending the meeting with 10 points.
On Woods’ performance, co-promoter Kevin Jolly said: “I don’t like singling out riders but we were all very pleased for Sam Woods today.
“Sam is a lovely lad, a real team man and always gives you his all, and today’s paid 12 was a just reward for his efforts.”
He continued: “This was another solid home performance from us and the margin of the victory only helps to strengthen our position at the top of our National Trophy group.
“We are well up for winning the National Trophy and a good performance at Kent in our final group match should seal our position in the final.
“We are at Lakeside next for a potentially difficult league fixture but with the way the boys are going we go there with plenty of confidence.”
Mildenhall Fen Tigers 55: C Mountain 10, L Ruddick 7, J Armstrong 12+1, D Verge 6+2, D Halsey 7+1, S Woods 10+2, A Spooner (g) 3+1.
Kent Kings 34: L Bowen 12, B Hopwood R/R, L Clifton 5, J Thomas 0, N Stoneman 8, B Andrews 5, A Rowe 4+1.