Joe Jacobs has made it clear the Mildenhall Fen Tigers must be on the gas from the start if they are to win this year’s National League Fours.
Fen Tigers heat leader Jacobs will form one quarter of the West Row outfit’s quartet to contest the event, which was originally scheduled to take place in August, at Coventry on Sunday.
Having been part of the club’s successful Fours side from 2012, Jacobs — who will be joined this time round by Dan Halsey, Brendan Johnson and Jack Kingston — knows exactly what it takes to win the competition, which was won 12 months ago by the Cradley Heathens.
“You have to hit it hard from the word go as if you don’t you can find yourself getting knocked out of the competition fairly early,” said Jacobs. “If our team turns up and performs well on the day then I can’t see why we can’t win it.
“We have got just take what comes and see what happens.”
While both Jacobs and Halsey’s names would have been included in the line-up for the original fixture, those of Johnson and Kingston may have faced a sterner test in getting the call-up had both Josh Bates and Connor Coles avoided injury.
“This is the time that we need to see both Brendan and Jack really step up,” said Jacobs. “We have seen what Brendan can do when he rides at his best, while Jack has shown everyone is well capable of doing the job.
“He gives it 110 per cent and is a trier — you can’t criticise any rider like that.”
Although last year’s champions Cradley are likely to start as favourites to retain their title with the likes of Steve Worrall and Paul Starke in their line-up, Jacobs believes an equally tough test could arise elsewhere.
“I think Coventry are going to be tough to beat,” said Jacobs. “James Sarjeant is having his best season ever and is riding really well at the moment, while Stefan Nielsen has just returned from injury and that will be a major boost to their chances.”
With the 21-year-old — who, including press and practice sessions, has ridden in more than 110 meetings this season — hinting this is likely to be his last season in the National League, he believes claiming the Fours would be a fitting way to finish his association with speedway’s third tier.
“Although we didn’t manage to win the league this year, that is just the way it goes sometimes, but we have managed to pull some silverware back by winning the National Trophy,” said Jacobs. “This will probably be my last year in the National League and although I am not building my hopes up too much it would be nice if I could go out with a win in this.”