Wightlink Warriors tame timid Mildenhall Fen Tigers to make flying start
The Isle of Wight Wightlink Warriors began their quest for National Trophy glory with a convincing 49-40 victory over defending champions Mildenhall Fen Tigers.
In a gripping, incident-packed meeting, every Wightlink rider made a meaningful contribution to the final outcome.
And reserve pair Connor King and Chad Wirtzfeld stepped up to play their part in the impressive win.
Now Warriors co-promoter Barry Bishop is keen for the momentum to be taken into Sunday’s reverse fixture.
He said: ‘Well, that was just the start we asked for and the boys delivered.
‘Their team ethic was first-class and they responded brilliantly to team manager Jackie Vatcher’s pre-match pep talk.
‘There is so much to savour at this club right now and we will take the momentum from this win into Sunday, when we go to Mildenhall in the reverse fixture.
‘It was also good to give our riders some track time after the main meeting and we can look forward to 21 heats of speedway when we come back together at Smallbrook next Thursday.’
The visitors were in trouble from the first race.
Warriors new number one, Georgie Wood, was quick away from the tapes to lead the Fen Tigers talisman Danny Ayres.
But behind the front two, Mildenhall’s Charlie Brooks took a heavy fall on bend four causing the race to be stopped.
Fortunately, he was able to make his way off the track but looked to be in some discomfort from his shoulder.
Brooks bravely carried on racing, but was forced to sit out his final two outings as the soreness worsened.
Tigers’ David Wallinger also had a night to forget, with four falls in five outings.
While the visitors could list a series of problems, Warriors also encountered a few issues along the way.
Ben Morley and Danno Verge suffered falls, holding their scores back. And Chris Widman has yet to cure niggling engine problems.
But Wightlink fully deserved the win, losing only four last places in 15 races and an all-round team performance that saw every rider contribute a positive return at one stage.
If the four new Warriors were suffering from first night nerves, they certainly didn’t show it with the reserve pair of King and Wirtzfeld enjoying impressive starts.
King’s ultimately unsuccessful ride to hold off Ayres showed great guts and determination, while Wirtzfeld recorded two wins, including a first at senior level, in a paid nine total.