Captain Danny Ayres confident Mildenhall Fen Tigers will prove their National League doubters wrong this year
Danny Ayres feels that the Mildenhall Fen Tigers can turn plenty of heads by being this year’s surprise package in the National League, writes Graham Clark.
Despite just missing out on the title after losing to the Eastbourne Eagles in the play-off final last season, the Fen Tigers have been written off by some critics ahead of the new campaign.
While a raft of changes have been made with five new riders arriving for 2019, club captain Ayres is optimistic that they can still be a handful.
He said: “I think quietly we are going to surprise everyone as without shadow of a doubt we can all improve.
“We are quite happy that people are underestimating us and that some people are not putting us in the top four. It does take the pressure off us a bit.
“We don’t want to think about what the critics say now. We have just got to go out there and ride the best we can be.
“The first goal is just to make the top four and if we make that who knows. I genuinely believe that we will all improve and grow as a team.”
Having linked up with his current set of team-mates for the first time at the club’s official press and practice session on Friday, the Mildenhall-based rider was pleased to be back among familiar surroundings.
He said: “It was great to be back at Mildenhall as it has been a long winter. It was nice to see some familiar faces and the new team.
“My thoughts were that I felt it all went really well and that we have got a team with a bit of everything in. I think everyone is just happy there is a Mildenhall Fen Tigers team running this year and I feel whatever we do on track is a bonus.”
Due to Ayres’ Championship commitments with the Scunthorpe Scorpions, who he scored a paid seven total for in his first meeting on Sunday, it means he will miss a number of Fen Tigers fixtures, but he aims to make sure he leaves the club closest to his heart in a strong position when he is absent.
Ayres said: “If you would have said to me I will score a paid seven total in my first meeting in the main body of the team at Scunthorpe I would have snapped your arm off.
“Hopefully a 5+2 will turn into a 10+2 as I feel on the pace and I have so much belief.
“The only downfall is that when a Mildenhall and Scunthorpe meeting clash I have to ride for Scunthorpe.
“Riding for Scunthorpe will sharpen me up like a razor blade and it will do the Fen Tigers no harm as the aim of my game is to up my average in the National League so when I am away they can have the best of the best in my place.”