A packed house at Mildenhall stadium with well in excess of 250 supporters full of anticipation for the season ahead greeted the 2017 ‘KJM/Manchetts’ Fen Tigers. Compare for the evening Graham Clark fired the questions as all seven of the team plus young Sam Bebee were put through their paces.

Club promoter Kevin Jolly announced that a new air fence for bends one and two had been purchased and should arrive in May. With the club receiving sponsorship from joint team sponsors Manchetts for a new air fence for bends three and four last season Jolly was pleased to complete the job with rider safety always foremost in his mind. Sponsorship packages for individual panels are being worked on and will be available shortly, whilst the club also introduced the new ‘Celebrity Club’ draw which was well received by supporters.

New club Commercial Manager Lee Chipchase spoke positively about the progress being made with local businesses and the local community, and that new sponsors had already come on board for the 2017 season. Chipchase is also working on two exciting events for supporters during the summer months and hoped to make an official announcement in the coming weeks.

Team Manager Robert Henry spoke with great positivity about this year’s septet and whilst keen not to put any undue pressure on his riders felt they all were capable of improving their averages and making a real challenge for trophies. He commented that the league looked really open this season with no standout team and that the club need to make their West Row home a fortress this year.

The Fen Tigers open their season with the second running of the Fen Fours and Jolly gave supporters one big name ahead of the full rider announcement and draw (to be made at the Snail Racing evening on Saturday 18th March) when he confirmed star of the 2016 running Sheffield’s Josh Bates would again be taking part in the meeting. Bates remains a big favourite at Mildenhall following his part in the Grand Slam success of 2012, and the twice British U21 Champion was quickly on the phone to Kevin Jolly to offer his services once he knew the meeting was taking place!

Before that the club will be represented at Paradise Park next Sunday (26th February) for the annual Celebration of Speedway when riders Jordan Jenkins, Danno Verge and Sam Bebee will join Kevin Jolly and his management team at the event. Team Manager Robert Henry will be bringing a couple of his old bikes to display and also joining the Fen Tigers will be ex-Ipswich star Tony ‘Shrimp’ Davey.

In other news there was confirmation that for the seventh season in a row there would be no increase in admission prices for supporters and that meetings would start at the earlier time of 3pm (parade at 2.45pm).