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Mildenhall Fen Tigers' new signing Alex Spooner eyeing up successful defence of National Development League title

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Alex Spooner believes his impressive levels of consistency on the track can help the Mildenhall Fen Tigers successfully defend their National Development League title this year.

In 34 races for the Kent Royals last season the 21-year-old scored points on 29 occasions, making him one of the Central Park outfit’s most valuable assets in the middle order of their team.

Having steadily built up his reputation over the 2018, 2019 and 2021 campaigns with the then Sittingbourne-based side, Spooner now hopes he can replicate that form back in a Fen Tigers race jacket.

Alex Spooner (blue) is excited to have committed his services for the 2022 season to the Mildenhall Fen Tigers. Picture: Elizabeth Leslie
Alex Spooner (blue) is excited to have committed his services for the 2022 season to the Mildenhall Fen Tigers. Picture: Elizabeth Leslie

Though one of four new arrivals at Mildenhall Stadium over the winter, Spooner has previous experience with the club having made one outing for the Fen Tigers during the 2016 season and a further 13 appearances for them in 2017.

He said: “It’s really good to have signed for Mildenhall as I’ve ridden there quite a few times before so I’m used to the race track and it suits my style of riding.

“People know that I always give 110 per cent effort and hopefully I can continue that here and improve my average, provided I get that bit of luck that has stopped me in the past.

Jason Gardner is the new joint manager of the Fen Tigers
Jason Gardner is the new joint manager of the Fen Tigers

“Consistency is key to everything and I try to think tactically in my races.

“If I’m on my third lap and I’m trying to get the leader but it’s more sensible to claim second then I will settle for what I’ve got.

“You always want to finish first but settling for less is sometimes the better option.

“The aim this year will be to turn as many of those seconds and thirds I was getting into firsts and seconds while it looks like we have a good strong team that is capable of winning the title two years running.”

Although the Essex-based rider admits to having offers from other clubs, committing his services for 2022 to the Fen Tigers – alongside former Royals team-mates Ryan Kinsley and Josh Warren – was always high on his wish list.

He said: “I had a few offers on the table and I was weighing my options, then just before the AGM the Mildenhall Fen Tigers got in touch and said they were really interested in having me.

“Being as I’ve ridden there a few times before and given it is fairly local to me everything tied in nicely; it ticked all the boxes.

“Mildenhall was up there on the list of places I would have been happy to ride for so when the opportunity came up I snapped it up.”

While wanting to do well in Fen Tigers colours, Spooner hopes he will receive a chance at some point during the season to have a go racing in the Championship.

He said: “Getting my average up in the National League and winning the league title are my aims with Mildenhall.

“I was trying over the winter to claim a spot in the Championship but as the points limit for team building went up it meant clubs were looking at four or five point riders at reserve.

“I’m hopeful I will get the chance to race at that level this year and that is top of the to do list.”

l Meanwhile, on Sunday the club announced that Jason Gardner will take up the position as joint team manager with title-winning boss Malcolm Vasey this year.

In recent years the Dereham-based 46-year-old has helped run second halves at meetings and provide content for the programme alongside his role as club statistician.

He said: “It’s a great honour and a real privilege to have been asked to assist Malcolm Vasey as manager of the Mildenhall Fen Tigers for 2022.

“I’ve been an avid fan of the club since I was a youngster and to receive the chance of becoming joint team manager is a dream come true.”

The club has also confirmed that experienced press officer Derek Barclay will join the club, having previously been associated with Wimbledon, Stoke, Isle of Wight, Peterborough and, most recently, Kent.