Henry Atkins keen to make an impression after joining Mildenhall Fen Tigers
Henry Atkins hopes to become a favourite on the terraces with fans of the Mildenhall Fen Tigers by helping to ignite their season and bolster their push for the National League play-offs, writes Graham Clark.
The 18-year-old has been brought in as part of a double change made by the West Row-based outfit to replace heat leader David Wallinger, while at reserve Macauley Leek will make way for Arran Butcher.
Arriving on a 6.90 average the Exeter-based rider will double up riding in speedway’s third tier, which he appeared in last season with the Plymouth Gladiators, then Devils, along with racing in the Championship for Somerset Rebels.
“It is a bit of a smaller track than Somerset and is a nice sharp track which you can ride flat out on. I now can’t wait to get back on it in Mildenhall colours,” said Atkins.
“As an away rider you see the home crowd really cheering Mildenhall on and that can be very intimidating so it is nice to have that onside.
“There is a good fan base there and I now want to score big points for them. If I manage to steer clear of injury and keep doing what I’m doing and help bring in the wins then I think we are strong enough to make the play-offs.”
Having recently returned from a spell on the sidelines with a dislocated shoulder while on duty for the Rebels the teenage rider is optimistic he can hit the ground running for his new side when they take on the Stoke Potters at Loomer Road (7pm) on Saturday.
“My injury happened while riding against Eastbourne (Eagles). I clipped someone’s back wheel, high-sided it, and my right shoulder popped out,” said Atkins. “I came back after three weeks out and it didn’t feel too bad; it just ached a bit at the end.
“I’ve not been to Stoke much but I have a lot more experience now as I’ve ridden around plenty of tracks now. I will ride and fast and hopefully it goes well.”
Slotting in at number three, Atkins aims to make his mark by the end of the campaign but he is not going to put extra pressure on himself by trying to wrestle the number one spot away from club captain Ayres.
“Basically I will be racing against Championship reserves back at this level, which will be a good test and keep me going,” said Atkins.
“Anything is possible and if I find the right set ups early that should be me set. At the end of the day I’m there to score points and we work as a team. If I get to number one great but if I don’t get there I don’t.”
* The Fen Tigers will be using Max Clegg at number one on Saturday against the Potters, with Ayres on Championship duty with Scunthorpe Scorpions, while rider replacement will cover Charlie Brooks.
The Fen Tigers have been drawn in the league Four Team Tournament Group B alongside Belle Vue Colts, Kent Kings and Plymouth Gladiators. The meeting is at Stoke on Saturday, July 13.