Rider of the Year award up for grabs at National League side Mildenhall Fen Tigers
Mildenhall Fen Tigers manager Phil Kirk feels that it is too close to call as to who will be crowned the club’s Rider of the Year at their end-of-season presentation night on Saturday, writes Graham Clark.
With all seven members of the team having solid claims to lift the coveted prize, won 12 months ago by club captain Jordan Jenkins, the Fen Tigers boss admits he would not be surprised if any of this year’s septet walked away with the title on this occasion.
“In the past there has always been one or two stand out riders and you can normally guess who will win it and get it right,” said Kirk.
“This year there have been more than one or two riders who have performed well and I think it is too close to call.
“Drew (Kemp) has achieved what we thought he would from going from a three point reserve to finishing on an average over nine points while lads like Sam (Bebee) and Matt (Marson) at the other end have been fantastic.
“Josh (Bailey) and Danny Ayres have led from the front and Ryan Kinsley has improved all season and Jordan (Jenkins) has done well having had two bad injuries.”
While Kirk is not putting his head above the parapet in making any bold predictions there is one rider he believes merits a special mention for the impact he had during his brief spell in the team this season.
“You can’t underestimate what Danny Halsey did for us,” said Kirk.
“He came in when Jordan was injured and filled in immediately and kept the routine going.
“He did an important job and it was good for the team. He fitted in with the ethos of what we were trying to do and all the riders liked him.
“Coming into a season late it is hard playing catch up but Danny gave us everything and fired in some important scores.”
Reflecting on the season which saw the Fen Tigers retain their National Trophy title there are a couple of magical moments Kirk feels sit above the rest in his opinion.
“I could give you 15 or 20 as there have been so many great performances,” said Kirk.
“I think the first one though after all the rained off meetings has to be our first away trips to the Isle Of Wight and Plymouth.
“The team looked good on paper but we had to see it in action and the way they battered both teams was exceptional.
“The other one would be the first leg of the play-off semi-final against Kent.
“That was a real top performance and they steamrollered them that night.”