Luke Ruddick looking forward to riding for the Mildenhall Fen Tigers again in 2021
Luke Ruddick feels that returning to the Mildenhall Fen Tigers this season was ‘the right thing to do’ and insists fans will see a different rider to the one that last appeared for the club more than three years ago.
With the coronavirus pandemic putting paid to the 2020 domestic speedway season, the 23-year-old, who has appeared 53 times in Fen Tigers colours, has been forced to wait 12 months to make his return to the club that launched his career back in 2015.
Having last appeared for the Fen Tigers on October 29, 2017, scoring 11+1 against the Isle Of Wight, the Mildenhall-based rider hopes to replicate that level of form in their National Development League opener against his former club Leicester Lion Cubs on Wednesday.
“I’ve always liked riding for the Mildenhall Fen Tigers and it just felt the right thing to do. The fans are great and I get on with everyone,” said Ruddick.
“It has cost me a lot doing the practice I have done with engine services but I’ve waited so long for it and it has definitely been worth it.
“The body feels really good, better than I thought, and I really enjoyed being out on the bike. I felt fast but it is hard to judge where you are when practising.
“Leicester is one of my favourite tracks to ride around and it is probably the best first meeting I could have had back for Mildenhall. I’m excited and itching to get back out there.”
Though Ruddick is looking forward to returning to the Fen Tigers, he feels that the time spent away from the club has helped him to develop and mature as a rider.
“I’m a totally different rider now but I also have a totally different life,” said Ruddick.
“I had reasons to leave before and I was worried when watching certain riders who stayed there every year and they didn’t seem to improve so I think it was a good thing to ride elsewhere.
“I’m more mature now and as you get older you work things out better.
“When you are younger you have plenty of people telling you what to do and it can often be easy to listen to those who speak loudest, which is not always right.”
Arriving on a 6.67 average, Ruddick is confident he can build on that figure as the season progresses, along with attracting the attention of Championship clubs having missed out on another spell in the second tier following his stint in 2019 with Edinburgh Monarchs.
He added: “I’m on this average as I didn’t race in too many National League meetings in the last season we had.
“I was informed in the play-off meetings, that don’t count towards your average, I was on about an eight and a half, so hopefully I can prove a steal.
“I know what I can do and I’m confident I will improve but I’m not going to put a figure on it.
“I was gutted to miss out on a Championship spot and I’m sure it will happen at some point.
“To be honest I just want to enjoy my racing and not put pressure on myself, that’s the main goal.”
Having been part of the 2019 Lion Cubs side that claimed the National Development League title and Knock Out Cup double, Ruddick is in no doubt as to how good he thinks this year’s Fen Tigers team is.
“I think we have got the best team in the league,” added Ruddick. “There are other clubs with big hitters but then they tail off but I just think we are strong throughout.
“With the team we have now if everyone stays fit we are the strongest team as I think every rider will improve as the season goes on.”