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Sharp starts key to Mildenhall Fen Tigers' Jason Edwards succeeding at National League Riders Championship

Jason Edwards acknowledges that only his sharpest starting skills will suffice if he is to have any chance of lifting this year’s National League Riders Championship title at Leicester on Sunday, writes Graham Clark.

The 17-year-old will make his first appearance in the coveted event at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena at the weekend when flying the flag for the Mildenhall Fen Tigers alongside team mate Ryan Kinsley.

Having enjoyed a spin around the Midlands track last Sunday with the Eastbourne Eagles in the second leg of the Championship Shield Final the Essex-based rider hopes can make the most of that outing when taking on the leading lights from speedway’s third tier.

Mildenhall Fen Tigers Press and Practice Day Jason Edwards Picture by Mark Westley. (17048565)
Mildenhall Fen Tigers Press and Practice Day Jason Edwards Picture by Mark Westley. (17048565)

“It’s my first time in this in what is just my second full season and I feel ready to give it a good crack. I will be giving it my best shot for both myself and the club,” said Edwards.

“The Leicester track is a funny track as the straights are almost too long for the bends. It is one of those places where if you make the starts it is your favourite place.

“Riding in the Championship has helped my starts as if you don’t make one you are left behind as they are much more consistent but I’ve been hitting first bends in second and third place which I’m happy with.

“My record around Leicester has not been the best although I’ve just ridden round there with Eastbourne in the Championship Shield Final and though my points weren’t the highest I was on the pace.”

This season has already seen Edwards contest both the British U-21 and U-19 finals along with the European U-19 final and with those meetings under his belt Edwards feels they are experiences that will benefit him at the weekend.

“The weird thing about speedway is it’s a team sport but an individual sport at the same time and the more of these types of meetings you do the more you understand about them,” added Edwards.

“This is my fourth big individual event of the year and I’m looking forward to it. In simple terms it will be like riding a heat 15 in every race as you have the top 16 riders from the league at the event.

“I just want to go there and enjoy the day and come away happy with how I’ve raced.”

While Edwards will be doing his best to claim outright victory he has set himself a target he feels is more than achievable along with identifying the rider he expects to give him his biggest challenge.

“Obviously you have Ellis Perks in there and he rides for Leicester in both leagues there and he will be the big favourite but to be fair everyone at the meeting are top riders,” said Edwards.

“Realistically if I can end the meeting with nine or 10 points I will be happy as that should be a middle order finish. Anything above that will be a bonus.”