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New Zealand rider George Congreve determined to make impact with Mildenhall Fen Tigers in the National Development League

Three-time New Zealand Under-21 champion George Congreve is confident he can put a frustrating first season in British speedway behind him and become a hit with Mildenhall Fen Tigers fans in this year’s National Development League.

After having his 2022 season cut short following the demise of Championship outfit Newcastle Diamonds in June, the 23-year-old is eager to re-ignite his career and show supporters in speedway’s third tier what he is all about.

Arriving on a 4.5 average, Congreve, who is the fourth person from his country to wear Fen Tigers colours, believes he can improve on that figure as the season progresses and help the West Row-based outfit challenge for silverware.

New Zealand-born George Congreve will be riding for the Fen Tigers this season. Picture: Mecha Morton
New Zealand-born George Congreve will be riding for the Fen Tigers this season. Picture: Mecha Morton

Congreve said: “It was definitely frustrating last year. I try and set high expectations for myself and I had a few goals and I didn’t achieve what I wanted to.

“I want to go out there and show people what I’m capable of this year. Consistency is the big thing and I want to be scoring points regularly and riding well.

“One of my goals is to build on that average. I expect a lot of myself and I’m starting on a 4.5 average and I’m more than capable of putting points on that, but as I’ve said to do that I’ve got to be consistent week in, week out and score points everywhere.”

Keeping focused being thousands of miles from home can be tricky, especially when things are not going well. However, Congreve admits his link up with the Fen Tigers might not have materialised had he opted not to race in Britain last year.

He said: “As much as last season was difficult I feel that if I hadn’t come over I possibly wouldn’t have had another shot this year so it was definitely worth it.

“I’m looking forward to this year. I’ve got some better equipment behind me and I’m feeling focused and ready to go.

“Speaking to the management, they are friendly people. They have the ambitions that I have got. They want to win and so do I. I feel that it is a track that suits me. It is small, tight and fast. I felt like it was the right place to come. I’ve got good people around me like my mechanic Mark who looks after me and helps me out.

“It is a long way from home and it can be tough at times but I’m over here doing what I love. It’s a good lifestyle and it beats going to work everyday back home.”

When it comes to challenging for team honours this season, Congreve feels that the Fen Tigers management have assembled a team that is more than capable of securing a spot in one of the two places on offer in the end-of-season play-offs.

Ahead of their home opener against Kent Royals next Sunday (4pm), he said: “I think we have got a good bunch of guys and I think we have got a winning team. It is strong all the way through.

“Lee Complin is a top rider. I rode with him last year at Newcastle. He has got a lot of knowledge and with him being captain he’ll point us in the right direction. He has got the energy to boost everyone up.

“Alfie Bowtell is another top rider at number one and he has been doing it for a while now.

“I think we have the talent we have now just got to gel as a team and put the effort in.”

Meanwhile, Fen Tigers fans got their first chance to see this year’s team at the club’s annual pre-season Meet The Riders event at the Beck Row Parish Hub on Saturday.

Lee Chipchase, commercial manager, said: “We had between 70 and 80 fans attend the meet the riders event on Saturday which was good to see.

“It proved to be a very positive event and we are all now looking forward to getting the season up and running.”