Armstrong expects emotions to run high at his testimonial
Crying is not usually associated with speedway riders but Jon Armstrong expects a tear or two to be shed when taking to the track at Mildenhall Stadium on Sunday (2pm) for his testimonial.
The former Mildenhall Fen Tigers favourite will return to his old stomping ground alongside 15 other riders for the one off meeting, to commemorate his service to the sport.
With months of planning having gone into the event, Armstrong is now hoping supporters get behind the meeting and make it an occasion to savour.
“I am looking forward to it but it’s been manic, it will be a bit of a relief when it is over,” said Armstrong. “We have done absolutely everything we can but without Troy (Dudley) and the committee I wouldn’t have been able to do it.
“I am hoping for a meeting like last year’s Transatlantic Fours where you could have thrown a blanket over a lot of the races. If I can get a few like that I will be happy.
“I’d imagine there will be a tear or two at some point. I just hope a big crowd turn up now, as that will give me a big sense of enjoyment.”
Initially hoping to secure the services of the best of the best from the National League, the current Coventry Bees star has excelled in getting a number of higher profile names to appear.
“I am well chuffed with the line up of riders,” added Armstrong.
“We lost Gino (Manzares) due to a visa issue but we have got a lot of top class riders in the line up including Rory Schlein, Kevin Doolan and Kyle Newman.
“My initial plan was to go with the cream of the crop from the National League but then I started contacting other riders and I had other lads contacting me, and it just got bigger.
“Fans of National League clubs don’t get the chance to see a lot of these riders so that is going to be good.”
Having enjoyed his own testimonial in 2016, dual Elite League Riders champion Schlein, who currently rides for Wolverhampton Wolves in the Premiership and the Ipswich Witches in the Championship, hopes he can put on a good show and give Armstrong a day to remember.
“It’s the least I can do,” said Schlein.
“To be brutally honest, Jon asked me a few months ago but I had other commitments at the time.
“Jon kept in touch with me and I said if I could help him I would and fortunately for him I can do that now.
“I’ve not ridden at Mildenhall for a long time but I ride at Wolverhampton which is a small technical track and that has never really given me much bother.
“I raced against Jon years ago when I was a teenager, and as a fellow competitor I have the utmost respect for him doing 20 years in the sport, and I take my hat off to him for doing that.
“I just want to make sure I can put a good meeting on for Jon and the fans. If I can help put an extra 50 bums on seats then that will be my job done.”
As an additional bonus, former Fen Tigers favourite Tony Dart, who has had part of his right leg amputated since calling time on his career, will perform demonstration laps in his sidecar.
“It was tight around there for me on a solo, so I don’t know how I am going to get the sidecar round there, but we will give it a good go,” said Dart.
“I was at Mildenhall for three years and I really enjoyed my time there.
“When I went back out on the side car for the first time a few months ago I got my old feeling back and it was amazing. Hopefully it can open up some new doors.”
• For the third meeting in a row this year, the Fen Tigers saw Sunday’s home National Trophy tie with Plymouth postponed because of the wet conditions.