Mildenhall Fen Tigers rider Jason Edwards hunting progression in British Under-21 semi-final
Mildenhall Fen Tigers ace Jason Edwards hopes he can make the most of having home track advantage to kick-start his season off in style in the British U-21 semi-final on Sunday.
The popular 19-year-old will fly the flag for the Fen Tigers as he bids to secure one of the six qualifying spots on offer for the final of the coveted contest, which will be staged at Perry Barr, home of Championship side Birmingham Brummies, on August 24.
Having secured his best position in the competition to date when finishing seventh in last year’s final at Redcar, the Essex-born racer believes he can better that effort on what will be his penultimate appearance in the event.
However, Edwards acknowledges he must not get ahead of himself given that he faces some talented opposition, which includes former Fen Tigers riders Nathan Ablitt, Henry Atkins and Sam Hagon.
“It is always nice to have these types of events on a track you know quite well while you also know you will have a lot of support behind you which is a big help,” said Edwards.
“I’ve made four finals and I won the semi-final qualifier at Somerset in 2019 but I’ve not been good enough when getting to the final.
“Last year I got to the final again but I missed out on the chance to race in the semi-final on the night on a countback which was a little bit annoying.
“I’d like to think I’m one of the favourites to qualify. You can be the favourite or a 1000/1 chance but at the end of the day you still have to produce the goods on the track.
“You always go into every meeting wanting to win it but the main aim will just be making sure I qualify for the final.”
Although this will be the first competitive action Edwards has taken part in at the West Row track this year, the talented teenager already has some valuable laps around the circuit under his belt in 2022.
He said: “I’ve had a couple of goes around Mildenhall already this year as we had a practice session on the Saturday before the press and practice day.
“I forgot just how small the track at Mildenhall is and how hard it is to get around, especially after riding around a few bigger tracks in the winter.
“You really have to turn the bike at Mildenhall but it is a great place to learn. Greg (Palmer, promoter) made sure the track was in good shape and it was brilliant to get a ride around there again.”
As for potential opposition Edwards, who also rides for the Redcar Bears in the Championship, believes it will be those riders like himself that double up between speedway’s second and third division that will be the ones to beat.
He added: “The thing with the track at Mildenhall is it is not really about how you set the bike up but more how you ride the bike and what you do with yourself.
“Those riders who also ride in the Championship like Henry (Atkins), Kyle Bickley and Nathan Ablitt will all expect to go well.
“With this being at the start of the year though everyone is back on a level playing field again and everyone will be high on confidence.”
While the Fen Tigers will not be seen on track until Easter Sunday (April 17) in a challenge match against a side from the Poultec training programme, Edwards has already been impressed by one of his team-mates this season.
“Luke Muff really impressed me in the recent practice sessions we had. All he wants to do is learn which is a great attitude and that will go a long way,” added Edwards.
“He is so enthusiastic and he didn’t feel like a reserve how well he was going. I think he will surprise a few people.
“I think the management team have put a good little side together and all we want to do is get racing now.”
Tapes go up on Sunday at 3pm.