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Danny Ayres excited by the prospect of captaincy after agreeing to remain with National League side Mildenhall Fen Tigers for 2019

After the Mildenhall Fen Tigers’ sale ensured they will run in 2019, new captain Danny Ayres insists he is ready to lead them into war in next year’s National League, writes Graham Clark.

The 31-year-old will return to the West Row-based outfit for a second successive season after being unveiled as the club’s first signing for the 2019 campaign on Sunday.

“It was a very easy decision to make to come back, and I’m over the moon to be honest. It didn’t look like there was going to be a team at one point so I am glad to be part of it,” said the former Newmarket College pupil.

Danny Ayres (right) with Kevin Jolly. Picture: Derek Leader (5958378)
Danny Ayres (right) with Kevin Jolly. Picture: Derek Leader (5958378)

“I’m going to captain the team and I’m ready to lead them straight into war. It’s a real buzz to have that position as the Mildenhall Fen Tigers have got a lot of history and I’m proud to be part of it.”

Having seen his season cut short after sustaining a broken wrist while on guest duties for Birmingham in September, the Mildenhall-based rider, who will start the season at number one on an 8.90 average, believes he has plenty of unfinished business to complete.

“I was devastated to miss the end of the season and the play-offs as I was hitting the form of my life,” said Ayres.

“I definitely think if I was fit and riding there would have been a different outcome against Eastbourne, so I feel like there is unfinished business.

“The wrist has been given the all clear, but I’m not allowed to get back on the bike until January and that is when it will be all systems go.”

With Sam Bebee the only other member of this year’s Fen Tigers side set to return next year, Ayres is looking forward to working with new faces Jason Edwards, Charlie Brooks, David Wallinger, Macaulay Leek, Elliot Kelly and Sam Norris, who will be the club’s number eight.

“It is going to be weird as we had a good bunch of lads at the club this season, but I’m buzzing to get started with them,” said Ayres.

“We’ve got Sam Bebee back, which I think is important, and I think that all the new riders have got potential. This team looks good on paper and we can all improve.”

Having helped the Eastbourne Eagles lift this year’s National League title teenage star Edwards feels the switch to the Fen Tigers can help him take the next step.

“It is a completely different track to Eastbourne and it will be a new experience, but it’s a racers track and I feel I am going to learn most at Mildenhall next year,” said Edwards.

“When I guested for Mildenhall at Kent last season you could see the team spirit there, and that is how speedway should be.”

“I’m in school until June sitting my GCSE exams, and I have seen how they supported both Jordan Jenkins and Drew Kemp with their exams. It is comforting to know that they have got your best interests at heart.”

Regarding targets, the Billericay-based 16-year-old has made it clear what he hopes to achieve during his time with the Fen Tigers.

“I’d really like to be number one by the end of the season, and towards the end of 2019 I would like to try and get some reserve bookings in the Championship,” said Edwards.

“Mildenhall deserve to win the National League after last season.

“We will try and retain the National Trophy, and hopefully we can add the League and Knockout Cup to it as well.”