Speedway was the true winner today as the ‘KJM/Manchetts’ Fen Tigers fought back from an 18 point deficit to win the National Trophy for the sixth time!

The Fen Tigers started the meeting in impressive style with two 4-2 courtesy of exciting prospects Jordan Jenkins and Drew Kemp, before captain Jon Armstrong and guest Anders Rowe combined for a 5-1 that saw the comeback on track as the deficit was reduced to just 10 points. After a 4-2 to the Devils in heat five increased the gap to 12 points Armstrong rode a superb line to join Connor Mountain for another 5-1 and the Fen Tigers were turning up the pressure. When Mountain and Kemp combined for a third 5-1 in heat eight the Fen Tigers were only 4 behind. Two drawn heats saw the meeting move the interval stage with Plymouth holding a 77-71 advantage in the final.

The wheels looked to have come off the Fen Tigers juggernaut in heat eleven when Jenkins crashed heavily on the final bend chasing Ben Morley, the race awarded as a 5-1 to the visitors. Thankfully after some attention on the track Jenkins was able to walk back to the pits. For many teams that would have been the end of the meeting, but with the tremendous spirit amongst the Fen Tigers they rallied and came again, heat 12 was a heat to remember as Armstrong, Kemp and Atkins exchanged places before the old master exerted and went away to take the victory. A brave but battered Jenkins came out for heat 13 but was clearly not feeling 100% and the resulting 2-4 left the Fen Tigers needing two 5-1’s to force a draw.

Heat fourteen saw the promising Henry Atkins loop at the start and although soon up was excluded from the re-run. Guest Andres Rowe and Kemp (paid 27 from the two meetings) scorched from the start and the supporters dared to dream that once again the Fen Tigers could pull the meeting out of the hat. Heat 15 saw Mountain and Armstrong line up against Plymouth guests Josh Bailey and Morley and the stadium held its breath, soon though the silence turned to cheers as Mountain gated over Morley whilst Armstrong poured round the outside to join his teammate. Once in front Armstrong controlled the race to perfection and as they crossed the line it was 90-90 after 30 heats of top speedway.

The 2017 National Trophy was to be decided on a golden heat, Plymouth going with Josh Bailey whilst Captain Armstrong stepped forward for the Fen Tigers. Bailey slightly lifted at the gate whilst Armstrong came out fast and smooth and as the noise in the stadium reached a crescendo the Fen Tiger legend raced away to victory and won the National Trophy for the ‘KJM/Manchetts’ Fen Tigers for a sixth time in fourteen seasons.

Kevin Jolly was overjoyed by this event, he said “This was a wonderful day for the club and yet again we have seen some incredible speedway at Mildenhall. This is for all of us, James, Robert and Phil who support me through everything, the track staff, all the helpers and our brilliant supporters.

What can you say about Armo, he truly was ‘Captain Fantastic’ today leading both on and off the track as he does. When riding like he did today he is the true master of our track and no one would argue with that. Today was though a real team performance, Anders (Rowe) and Alex (Spooner) both came in and rode like true Fen Tigers whilst Connor was excellent riding through the pain barrier for the club. Drew and Jordan continue to ride with maturity and skill beyond their years, it was a perfect afternoon”

‘KJM/Manchetts’ Fen Tigers 56
Connor Mountain 14 (6 rides), Jon Armstrong 12+4 (6), Drew Kemp 10+4 (6), Jordan Jenkins 8 (5), Anders Rowe 8 (4), Alex Spooner 2 (3) and R/R Danny Halsey

Plymouth ‘Devils’ 34
Ben Morley 11 (5 rides), Josh Bailey 11 (6), Henry Atkins 7+1 (5), Richard Andrews 3+1 (5), Callum Walker 2 (6), Jason Edwards 2 (3) and R/R Benji Compton

Golden Heat – Jon Armstrong (Mildenhall) beat Josh Bailey (Plymouth)