British Under-19 Final holds no fears for Mildenhall Fen Tigers' Charlie Brooks
Charlie Brooks is looking forward to the prospect of being treated as an underdog when fighting for individual honours in tonight’s British Under-19 Final, writes Graham Clark.
The 18-year-old is one of five members of the Mildenhall Fen Tigers team alongside Henry Atkins, Jason Edwards, Elliot Kelly and Matt Marson that will feature in the event at Redcar.
Despite having no experience of the Teeside track, the former Eastbourne Eagles rider hopes he can turn a few heads and make the most of the experience.
“I’ve never been to Redcar but I don’t think about that too much. I’ll be going there to give it my best shot and take the positives from it,” said Brooks. “When you compare me to some of the other riders some may put me down quite a bit and when you go off the averages you would class me as a little bit of an underdog.
“When you are not expected to do much you are always in a good position, as when you don’t have that pressure on, you often ride 10 times better. It would be nice to think that I could be the surprise package.
Heading into the meeting on the back of his best score in Fen Tigers colours after scoring a paid 17 total (15+2) during their 50-40 National League victory over the Isle Of Wight Warriors on Sunday, the teenage rider has set a target he feels is achievable.
“I will be going there to try my best to win it, but there are some Championship riders in the line up so it won’t be easy,” added Brooks.
“More often than not you can bounce off that, feeling on a high from scoring a lot of points and that was a massive confidence booster.
“I think I’ve got to be sensible about it so finishing in the top eight I’d be happy with.”
Fen Tigers team manager Malcolm Vasey hailed the attitude of his side after they recovered from the body blow of losing captain Danny Ayres .
He suffered a broken leg in a first heat crash with Danyon Hume, with the side needing to pick themselves up to go on to complete a league double over the Warriors.
“They just got on with it and you saw what they did to the Isle Of Wight; they destroyed them, the top two included to an extent. I’m very proud of them,” said Vasey.
“I’m thrilled with that and if they can do that with their talisman in the medical room they can beat anybody here.
Awarded a 5-1 in heat one, the Fen Tigers extended their lead to eight points after Matt Marson fronted the hosts second maximum in heat three with Brooks chasing him home.
The Warriors halved the gap between the two sides to four points with a pair of 4-2s spearheaded by Ben Morley ahead of a succession of shared heats, which yielded two victories for Fen Tigers guest Nathan Stoneman.
Brooks and Marson swapped places to claim a vital 5-1 in heat nine to push the Fen Tigers back into an eight point lead before Stoneman and Marson repeated the feat in heat 13.
Victory for the Fen Tigers was secured thanks to two points picked up by Brooks in the penultimate contest.
Vasey hopes the Fen Tigers can take their momentum forward by gaining revenge over the Kent Kings on Sunday (3pm) having lostto the Sittingbourne based outfit 41-43 in the National Trophy.
“Kent will be a blockbuster meeting,” he said. “We had an a series of costly errors against them last time and I don’t think we will make them again.”
Prior to that encounter the Fen Tigers will travel to Plymouth on Friday.