SPEEDWAYWightlink Islanders 41, Mildenhall Fen Tigers 49
WIGHTLINK Islanders slipped to a disappointing 41-49 home defeat on Tuesday to the Mildenhall Fen Tigers at Smallbrook Stadium, in their first National League meeting of the season.
The visitors took the lead from the opening race, when Mildenhall’s Cameron Heeps and Joe Jacobs out-gated the Islanders’ duo of Kyle Hughes and Ben Hopwood, and this immediately put the Islanders on the back foot.
Despite some sterling work from skipper Danny Warwick, who picked up 12 points from five rides, with good support from reserve Gary Cottham the rest of the Islanders could not compete with the visitors’ speed and track craft.
Home team manager Kev Shepherd said: "We are disappointed to lose our opening league fixture but credit must be given to Mildenhall as they out-raced us all night and fully deserved their win.
"For one reason or another we had several riders who didn’t perform on the night and we expect more. However, we will re-group, and we expect the team to bounce back strongly at Sunday’s away meeting at Buxton."
After last weekend’s tragic news about the death of Lakeside captain Lee Richardson from a speedway crash in Poland, it was pleasing to see riders walk away from some high-speed crashes at Smallbrook.
The worst crash of the night was in the final heat when Warwick’s primary chain snapped, causing a high speed crash between him and the Mildenhall’s Joe Jacobs.
Thankfully, after treatment by a paramedic, Jacobs was able to walk away and then amazed everybody in the stadium by lining up in the re-run.
Aaron Baseby, brought in for the injured Marc Owen, made his debut for the Islanders.
The Islanders’ next home match is against Stoke Potters on Tuesday. First race is at 7.30pm.