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Mildenhall Fen Tigers star Jason Edwards speaks is geared up for the U19 European Championships




Mildenhall Fen Tigers star Jason Edwards hopes he can continue his progression by securing a place in the final of the FIM European Under-19 Championship for the second year running, writes Graham Clark.

The 17-year-old will get a rare chance to take to the tapes in 2020 when lining up in the opening semi-final of the competition in Pardubice, Czech Republic on August 14 after being selected to contest the event by Great Britain Youth boss Neil Vatcher.

With track experience already under his belt – having qualified sixth in the corresponding semi-final 12 months ago – Edwards will bid to emulate that effort before bettering his 15th place finish in the final, which will be held once again in Slovakia on August 16.

Mildenhall Fen Tigers Press and Practice Day Jason Edwards Picture by Mark Westley. (39423879)
Mildenhall Fen Tigers Press and Practice Day Jason Edwards Picture by Mark Westley. (39423879)

“The whole thing was just a quality experience last year,” said Edwards.

“I finished sixth in my semi and had qualified with a race to spare which meant I could relax a little bit.

“The final didn’t quite go to plan but I was racing against people that would have had three or four years of experience on me.

Mildenhall Fen Tigers Press and Practice Day Jason Edwards Picture by Mark Westley. (39423242)
Mildenhall Fen Tigers Press and Practice Day Jason Edwards Picture by Mark Westley. (39423242)

“The hardest part will be getting to the final as it only takes one engine failure or an exclusion and that is three potential points lost. Consistency is the key and if I can get to nine points I should be there or thereabouts.

“You always want to win these things or be on the podium but I just want to make sure I get to the final. It will be about taking little steps. If I get to the final I would like to try to finish in the top 10 and improve on last year.”

Though Edwards, who will be joined in the opening semi-final by former Fen Tigers star Drew Kemp, may be heading into it having not participated in any meetings this year, he is ready to hit the ground running.

“I’ve practiced everywhere over the last week and a bit, “ said Edwards.

“I’ve had a few spins at King’s Lynn, I’ve been down to Somerset and I had a run out at Iwade on Sunday. I’ve been flat out and it has almost felt like a normal season.

“It took a while to get back into the swing of things but after the session at Iwade I now feel as confident as I can be and everything is working well going into the event.

“I’ve been trying a new engine which is designed for bigger tracks like the one in Pardubice so hopefully that is another thing we have in our favour.

“At the end of the day I can’t control anyone else and it will be all about making sure I get to that first bend in each of my races and giving it my best shot.”

It was announced earlier this month by the British Speedway Promoters Ltd that the 2020 Premiership and Championship seasons have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the National League expected to make a similar decision.

While Edwards is disappointed about not getting the chance to pull on his Fen Tigers colours in 2020 with the club announcing last week that it won’t be taking to the tapes in speedway’s National League this year, or those of the Eastbourne Eagles in the Championship, he feels the decisions made are the correct ones in protecting the future of the sport.

“As a rider it is hard to hear the news that there will be no season but I’ve had lots of contact from both of my clubs and they have kept me in the loop,” said Edwards.

“At the end of the day you have got to be realistic and if clubs can’t make money or break even then there is no point racing.

“By doing this no one misses out and the sport doesn’t lose out as when you look at the bigger picture it helps every club as everyone of them should be back in 2021.”