Danny Ayres wins Mildenhall Fen Tigers’ Rider of the Year award
Danny Ayres described being crowned the Mildenhall Fen Tigers’ Rider of the Year as a ‘proper honour’ at the club’s annual presentation night on Saturday, writes Graham Clark.
The talismanic number one, who missed the final six meetings of the season with a broken leg, received the coveted accolade after topping a supporters’ vote.
Starting and ending his truncated season at number one, the 33-year-old broke further new ground by becoming the first Fen Tigers rider – while starring for the club – to make the British Final alongside cementing a place with Championship outfit Scunthorpe Scorpions.
He said: “I’ve given it everything this year and it was not how we wanted the season to end as a team this is a great individual prize to win. It’s a proper honour to me.
“I’ve hit rock bottom and come out of the other side and this year I’ve proven to everyone I’m better than ever. I’ve come out all guns firing this year and it has made a difference.”
Had Ayres not sustained his injury during the Fen Tigers’ 50-40 victory over the Isle Of Wight Warriors in August, he believes that the club would have made the play-offs.
He added: “It was unfortunate that everything conspired against us but I believe if I stayed injury free that we would have made the play-offs as the team was built to get us there.
“This season has been full of positives despite suffering the broken leg and I’ve ticked every box this season apart from two and that is making the play-offs and being in the National League Riders’ Championship.”
With the recently completed season likely to be his last with the West Row-based outfit, Ayres claims he has enjoyed every minute with the club.
He said “Realistically I want to push on and build my career and I’m ready to step up to race in the top two leagues.
“I’ve loved being at Mildenhall and it feels like home. They have taught me how to be more professional and be a better rider.
“In the couple of years I’ve been here I have lived for every moment and the boys that I’ve ridden with have made it feel like a special place.”
Co-owner Lee Chipchase thanked a number of people that helped keep the club functioning during 2019 and hopefully into the 2020 one.
“A big thank you goes to all sponsors especially to Sean and Mandy Manchett, from Manchetts and Trevor Murkin at KJM as although it has been a tough season on track they’ve backed us all the way,” said Chipchase.
“We’ve spoken to a few riders but we don’t know what the points limit is until the AGM but I’m confident we will be back racing in 2020 and hopefully we can push on again.”
Meanwhile, Fen Tigers duo Ryan Kinsley and Jason Edwards will race in the National League Riders’ Championship at Scunthorpe on Sunday (5pm).