Captain Danny Ayres optimistic ahead of the Mildenhall Fen Tigers' National Trophy opener against Isle Of Wight Warriors
Danny Ayres believes that history can repeat itself when the Mildenhall Fen Tigers start the defence of their National Trophy tonight against the Isle Of Wight Warriors (7pm), writes Graham Clark.
After taking maximum points against the Warriors at Smallbrook in the Trophy 12 months ago, the Fen Tigers will look to do the same ahead of taking on the Plymouth Gladiators (7.15pm) 24 hours later before entertaining the Warriors at West Row on Sunday (3pm).
Although Ayres feels the Fen Tigers will have their work cut out in repeating last year’s success, he is optimistic he can lead by example on a track he has fared well at in previous visits and steer the Fen Tigers to glory.
“The Isle Of Wight is one of my favourite tracks and the confidence I have, even before going there, is strong and I can’t wait to go there,” said Newmarket-raised Ayres.
“A lot of people moan about how rough it is but it’s fast and if you do get stuck behind someone there are plenty of spaces to get past riders.
“I think it will be tougher for us to get the win this year but I don’t think there is any reason why we couldn’t come away with a win.”
Club captain Ayres stole the show on Sunday with his first full 15-point maximum for the Fen Tigers as they made the perfect start to their 2019 campaign with a 53-37 win over a Poultec Select side.
With nothing to split the two sides in the early exchanges, the Fen Tigers moved into a lead they would not relinquish after reserve Macauley Leek led home race partner David Wallinger for a 5-1 in heat four. Two 4-2s fronted by Ayres in heats six and 10 together sandwiched either side of Leek and Fen Tigers number eight Sam Norris teaming up for a 4-2 in heat eight put the hosts 10 points up.
A second 5-1, this time courtesy of Leek and Charlie Brooks in heat 12, was swiftly backed up by a fourth 4-2 this time from Ayres and Wallinger to secure the meeting for the West Row-based outfit.
There was still time for first season reserve Elliot Kelly to secure a second victory of the afternoon in the penultimate contest before Ayres ended his perfect afternoon with win number five in the finale.
“It was just a great confidence booster to get five good starts and to have a nice straightforward afternoon. I just felt really good on the bike,” said Ayres.
“I came into the meeting confident following my two meetings for Scunthorpe in the Championship which I feel have already sharpened me up.
“I was impressed with how all the boys rode but I felt Macauley Leek was the standout among them.”
* The Fen Tigers have moved to bring back Matt Marson to cover for the injured Sam Bebee. The Australian is expected to make his first start against the Plymouth Gladiators in the National Trophy on May 5.
There was more individual success for Jason Edwards after he booked his place in the final of the British U-21 final at Berwick on Saturday with victory in the second semi-final at Somerset on Good Friday.