Jason Edwards matches Carl Baldwin's British U21 Championship finals record with dazzling display at Mildenhall Stadium
Mildenhall Fen Tigers star Jason Edwards booked his place in the final of this year’s British U21 Championship in impressive fashion after securing a show stopping 15 point maximum to clinch top spot in Sunday’s home semi-final.
There was no stopping the popular 19-year-old who went through Sunday’s season-opening event at Mildenhall Stadium unbeaten to reach the final of the competition, which will be staged at Perry Barr Stadium, home of Birmingham Brummies, on August 24.
In securing the win it sees Edwards reach the final for the fifth time in his career, along with becoming only the second rider to represent the Fen Tigers in the final four times, putting him alongside Carl Baldwin (1982-85).
“It was nice to win this meeting as these can be tough meetings where anything can happen,” said Edwards.
“We had done the practice sessions around here but it was nice to finally get racing back around here again. It was the ideal result.
“It was a case of making the gate and if you did that you could have five easy enough rides. I know for those watching it might not be ideal but as a rider in a meeting like this you simply want to get going and hit the ground running.
“That’s five finals I’ve made now and I’ve done a little better in each one. Last year I missed out on the semi-final on countback so it would be nice to make that this year.”
The Essex-based racer sent out a statement of intent in his opening ride in heat one when leaving his three rivals trailing in his shadows to get the ball rolling.
Following a lengthy delay due to an incident in heat two which saw William Richardson suffer a broken leg, Edwards picked up where he left off with what was to be a crucial victory over Kyle Bickley in heat six before claiming more success in heat 10.
After lowering the colours of fellow unbeaten rider Henry Atkins in heat 14 outright victory was secured by Edwards on his final ride in heat 18 with another tapes to flag success.
It was left to Bickley to clinch the runner’s-up position after he defeated Atkins in heat 20 which consigned the former Fen Tigers star to third.
“I think the second race against Kyle Bickley was the race I would pick out,” added Edwards.
“In these meetings you have different standards of riders but the likes of Kyle, Henry Atkins and Nathan Ablitt, who like me all ride in the Championship as well, are the most important ones to be beating as that is the standard you want to be at.
“I managed to pop out at the start against Kyle and kept in front of him which was good as at the end of the day he went really well late on.”
The remaining three qualifying places were claimed by Sam McGurk (4th), Sam Hagon (5th) and Harry McGurk, who secured sixth following a run-off with meeting reserve Jody Scott.
Fen Tigers return this weekend
The Fen Tigers will receive their first taste of team action this season on Sunday when taking on a Poultec Select side in a challenge match at West Row (3pm).
Edwards said: “For a lot of the lads in the team this will be their first meeting which will be really helpful before we get going against Kent the week after in the Knockout Cup.
“Hopefully as a team we can put on a good show against what will be a decent Poultec side and put on a good meeting for the crowd and entertain them.”
The Poultec College scheme, based in Dereham, Norwich and at King’s Lynn Speedway track gives training to young British Speedway riders in a range of skills, both on and off the bike and in the important connected worlds of media and business.
One of the leading forces behind the scheme is Team GB joint team manager Olly Allen and the former Peterborough, Ipswich and King’s Lynn rider has brought together a septet for Sunday which will give the Fen Tigers a major challenge as the hosts prepare for the defence of their National Development League (NDL) title.