Captain calls for patience

NEW captain Robbie Kessler has appealed to the supporters to bear with Mildenhall's re-constructed team as they tackle their “group of death” in the Premier Trophy.

NEW captain Robbie Kessler has appealed to the supporters to bear with Mildenhall's re-constructed team as they tackle their “group of death” in the Premier Trophy.

“We've got to use the Trophy mainly to prepare ourselves for the Premier League campaign,” he stated.

“Our aim has to be to win our home matches and gain as much experience as we can.

“We have three new riders of great potential who have never raced a league match in this country, so Jan Graversen, Casper Wortmann and Grant Tregoning may take a while to get to grips with PL racing - especially as we are up against probably the top three teams in the League, in Rye House, King's Lynn and Birmingham.

“That's the League Champions. Trophy and KO Cup holders, plus the big-spenders this winter.”

But the 34-year-old German, whose English accent owes as much to his 10-year residency here, and to his Yorkshire base, as to his homeland,

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is optimistic that the new-look cosmopolitan side will have a successful season.

“West Row, which is round and fast, is more like a continental circuit than a lot of British tracks,” he said. “So it should suit a team like ours. And although we have five nationalities that's not unusual in speedway.

“I'm looking forward to the season after a bit of an odd one last year when I was with three clubs and ended up injured.”

And he joked: “I had to think twice about being skipper though. At Stoke they made me captain then sacked me two weeks later.”

Fen Tigers team manager Laurence Rogers does not expect anything like that to happen at West Row, however.

“It was a strange time at Stoke with a lot of changes going on,” he said. “As far as I'm concerned Robbie, with his experience, was the perfect choice to captain a team like ours.

“I think he's said we got him from the Job Centre, but in fact he's a rider we were interested in last year, and we've finally signed him.

“He plays down his big scores at West Row last season for Redcar and Rye House, but there's no doubt he's going to take some beating at home.

“We had a meeting about the captaincy before last week's fans' forum, and during the forum you could see how well Robbie was getting on with Mark Baseby as well as the two Danish lads.

“We've had a very positive reaction from the supporters to the team we've put together. They can see there's no dead wood and that we are building for the future.

“We've already managed to find workshop facilities for Jan, Casper and Grant, but we still need some accommodation in the area for the new lads and we'd love to hear from anyone who can help with that plus, of course, with sponsorship.”

Meanwhile, the club has announced a series of pre-season dates and activities for the fans.

Volunteers are invited to help with work at the circuit on Saturday and Sunday this weekend, then there will be a horse racing and supporters' night at West Row on Saturday, March 1, starting at 7.30pm.

The full Fen Tigers line-up will be together for the first time at the press day and photocall on Monday, March 10 (4.30pm).

There will not be any track action that day, but the riders will have a full-scale practice session at the circuit on Saturday, March 15 between 12 noon and 4pm, followed by a supporters' evening at the track from 6pm.