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Mildenhall Fen Tigers youngster Sam Hagon delighted to have played a role in National Development League title success

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Sam Hagon admits winning the National Development League title with the Mildenhall Fen Tigers is even more special after securing the honour in his first full season of team racing.

Needing just 24 points from their final fixture against the Armadale Devils on Saturday to be crowned speedway’s third tier champions for the first time since 2012, the Fen Tigers went above and beyond after claiming a 54-36 victory over the Scottish side.

Rookie rider Hagon has been one of the stand-out performers for the Fen Tigers this campaign, having taken the step up from reserve into the main body of the team in his stride. And yet he still finds it hard to believe he is now a title winner given how the campaign started.

Mildenhall riders, promoters and fans celebrate their success. Picture: Jack Cupido
Mildenhall riders, promoters and fans celebrate their success. Picture: Jack Cupido

“We knew we only needed to get 24 points but we were looking to win there. We beat them by quite a bit in the end which was a good way to win the league,” said Hagon.

“It was pretty cool to win the title in my first year. Going from thinking we were not going to win it to actually doing it was a good experience.

“I started off the year well but as a team it took us a while to come together but we have now done that as we have ended the season unbeaten in seven meetings.

“The whole season has been a good learning curve for me coming from riding in individuals into a team for the first time.”

When it comes to significant victories which helped the Fen Tigers to claim the NDL crown, Hagon points to the 51-39 win against the Belle Vue Colts as a pivotal result.

“On a personal note I did well at both Leicester and Berwick but the meeting I felt best in was at Belle Vue as it ended well and I felt fast,” said Hagon. “The Belle Vue meeting was a real turning point for the team as we put our heads together and we all came good and we knew if we got something there with Nathan Ablitt coming it was potentially going to get better.

“The penultimate meeting at Kent was always going to be difficult as they are a strong team, however we all tried hard and got there in the end and it made the task more simple against Armadale.”

Celebrating title glory is a complete turnaround in fortunes for Hagon, who has only recently returned from a serious facial injury sustained following a first bend collision during the Fen Tigers’ 47-41 win over the Leicester Lion Cubs.

“I don’t actually remember anything much from that hour but I’ve seen the pictures of the crash and it was a big one,” said Hagon.

“My goggles were full of blood and I needed more than 20 stitches both inside and outside of the cut but I was lucky at the same time as I nearly lost my left eye. It was a severe crash but I hadn’t broken any bones. Thankfully the hospital gave me the all clear with the eye and it has ended up working out well.”

Hagon has previously stated he would be keen to ride for the Fen Tigers again next year if the opportunity arose, and the talented teenager has not changed that stance.

“Winning the league in my first year with Mildenhall has been great as they have been a very good club to me,” said Hagon.

“I would most definitely come back but we need to see what happens over the winter as none of us are sure what is happening next year.

“I want to learn as much as possible and if I could ride in both the National League and Championship next season that would help me improve.”

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