Mildenhall Fen Tigers youngster Elliot Kelly excited for the 2020 National League season
Making a round trip of more than 400 miles to every home meeting is enough to test even the strongest of characters, but Mildenhall Fen Tigers reserve Elliot Kelly insists he would have it no other way, writes Graham Clark.
After enjoying a productive first season in speedway with the Fen Tigers, the Yarm-based youngster can look forward to clocking up the miles and spending more hours on the road, having agreed a deal to ride for the club again in the 2020 National League.
Though there are clubs closer to the North Yorkshire home of the 16-year-old, who ended last season with a 3.62 average, a return to the West Row-based side was the only thing he had on his mind after winning fans over with a number of impressive home displays.
“It was a no-brainer to come back here when asked as there is no place better than Mildenhall,” said Kelly.
“It is a real community down here and everyone knows everyone. It just feels like a massive family and when I came here last year all the supporters were class. Riding around here was brilliant last season and I love the track and I got used to it.”
Having achieved a 6.00 average at home, Kelly not only hopes to build on that but improve his scores on the road this season – something he acknowledges he must achieve if he wants to progress in the sport.
“A lot of the away tracks last year, it was the first time I had gone around them and I just needed that experience,” said Kelly.
“Now I have been to a lot of tracks once, I now want to enjoy going to these places and get confidence around them.
“A lot of this is in my head and having the right mindset is a big thing.”
While Kelly has youth on his side he has taken additional measures to ensure he is physically prepared for the season ahead after joining the No Limits programme, a scheme aimed at developing young riders.
“I’ve joined the No Limits programme and the first session I had was a real eye opener. It was all fitness based and it was gruelling but it was a help with what I need to do in my training,” said Kelly.
“The next session is going to focus on nutrition and diet. These are the things I need to get right as if I do I can get a good 20 years out of the sport.”
While Kelly will start the season in one of the two reserve spots, he has aspirations of moving into the main body of the team by the close of the campaign – one of two targets he has set himself this season.
He said: “One of my goals this season is to try and get some Championship experience at some point and maybe get a number eight spot.
“My biggest goal though, is to get out of the reserve places. I should think if I get my average up that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.”
l Following Friday’s Meet The Riders event at Mildenhall Stadium, it was announced that seven-time British Champion and former Grand Prix rider Scott Nicholls will be holding a training session with this year’s Fen Tigers team on Sunday, March 29.
“We wanted to give the boys something to really look forward to and this can only be a positive thing,” said Lee Chipchase, co-owner.
“All the riders will get 30 minutes each with him and he will be talking through bike set ups and what to do different on the track to help them improve.
“Fans can come and watch and he has said he is more than happy to have a chat with them as well if they have questions for him.”
l The Fen Tigers’ Sam Norris, who suffered a serious head injury while in action last year, will be helping Kelly out with his bike during the upcoming campaign.