Mildenhall Fen Tigers on the verge of National League Development glory
Mildenhall Fen Tigers’ wait for a first National League Development (NDL) title since 2012 is almost over after last-heat heroics from club captain Jordan Jenkins helped them secure a dramatic 45-44 victory against the Kent Royals on Tuesday night.
The Fen Tigers moved above the Berwick Bullets at the top of the table after picking up three of the four available league points on offer at Central Park Stadium.
With the West Row-based side boasting a superior points for and against total than the Bullets, it means they only need to score a minimum of 24 points in their final clash against the Armadale Devils tomorrow (4.15pm) to be crowned speedway’s third tier champions.
“The boys needed to put on a reasonable performance tonight to take the league title and though we are not quite there we are on the cusp of it,” said Malcolm Vasey, team manager.
“They have got to score 24 points at Armadale and that is the magic number so there is still a little bit of a job to do but I can’t see anything stopping us now.
“We didn’t have the greatest start but our lads hung in there and at the end got their just rewards. There was some tremendous racing and great performances.
“Our team stuck together in difficult conditions and deserved the win.”
Although Jenkins is one of the more senior members of the Fen Tigers team, he admitted his heat 15 outing was ‘probably the most nervous’ he has been in a race after he was forced to take on Dan Gilkes and Ryan Kinsley alone following team-mate Jason Edwards’ exclusion.
“I knew what I had to and I thought I was going to do it as I had made the tape of my life and made the first bend in the initial race,” said Jenkins.
“I knew I had to make my best gate to beat Dan Gilkes on the second attempt but I anticipated it, though luckily I didn’t touch the tapes and it gave me another crack.
“Me and Ryan had a few elbows at the first bend but I had the advantage and was where I needed to be.
“I probably went down the back straight the narrowest I’ve ever done before throwing the bike a million miles an hour into the corner. It was probably the most nervous I’ve been in a race.”
For Jenkins, who recently missed out on play-off glory with the Redcar Bears in the Championship, putting one hand on the NDL title makes up for the disappointment of missing out on securing the honour with the club back in 2018.
He added: “It was so close in 2018 and it was such a shame we didn’t win it but we’ve done it now and I’m absolutely over the moon.
“It has been a bit of a strange year with the league structure. It ended up being a bit of a disappointing season with Redcar in the play-offs but I’ve been loving my racing this year and this is something else.
“Mildenhall have been waiting for this for so long and to put them so close is a great achievement and I’m so proud of the boys.”