Kyle Hughes is determined to show that he is still a force to be reckoned with in the National League, despite missing most of the season through injury after agreeing a deal to ride for the Mildenhall Fen Tigers, writes Graham Clark.
Officials at the West Row-based club have drafted in the 27-year-old to replace Connor Mountain, having discovered he will miss the remainder of the campaign after sustaining a broken L3 vertebrae during the defeat to the Birmingham Brummies last Wednesday.
The move sees Hughes, who has not ridden in a competitive meeting since breaking his left leg on Good Friday while riding for the Eastbourne Eagles, return to the team that he made his debut in speedway with aged 15, back in 2004.
“It’s a shame what has happened to Connor Mountain. I’ve spoken to him, though, as I get on well with him and there are no hard feelings. He is pleased that I’ve taken his place in the team rather than anyone else,” said Hughes.
“It’s been quite a while that I have been out, but I had a ride around Rye House and at Mildenhall. I have quite a physical job so I think I should be good to go again straight away, while I have plenty of experience.
“Mildenhall was my first ever club and I was lucky then to be in a good team, and it turned out to be one of the good things in my life as it is where I met my partner, who I now have a child with.”
While Hughes’ first job will be to help his new team-mates topple second-placed Kent Kings at home in the National League today (3.30pm), he has already set his sights on getting his hands on some silverware a week later in the National League Fours event at Coventry.
“Kent are a strong team but if everyone rides to their capabilities I see no reason why we can’t beat them, while a win in the Fours is quite achievable,” he added.
“Dan Halsey is in good form, while Connor Coles is in the best form of his life. Jon (Armstrong) by his standards is probably a little bit out of form, but we all know what he is capable of.
“We will go there and give it our best and it would be great if we could give something back to the fans.”
Further changes have been made in the team ahead of the visit of the Sittingbourne outfit after a decision was taken to release number two Chris Widman and reserve Luke Ruddick.
Alfie Bowtell will move up from reserve to fill the gap left by Widman, with exciting prospects Sam Bebee and Jordan Jenkins, both 15, taking up the two reserve berths.