THE Isle of Wight's premier speedway team opened their National Trophy campaign with a satisfying nine-point win over defending champions, the Mildenhall Fen Tigers, at Smallbrook Stadium, Ashey, last night (Thursday).

Isle of Wight County Press: Action from last night's National Trophy meeting between the Isle of Wight Wightlink Warriors and the Mildenhall Fen Tigers.Action from last night's National Trophy meeting between the Isle of Wight Wightlink Warriors and the Mildenhall Fen Tigers.

In a gripping, incident packed meeting, every Warrior made a meaningful contribution to the final outcome, with the reserve pair of Connor King and Chad Wirtzfeld perfoming particularly well and making a crucial difference to the result.

The visitors were in trouble from the first race.

Isle of Wight County Press:

The Warriors' new number one rider, Georgie Wood, was quickest away from the tapes to lead Fen Tigers talisman Danny Ayres.

However, behind the front two, Mildenhall’s Charlie Brooks took a heavy fall on bend four, which led to the race being stopped.

Isle of Wight County Press:

The home side had issues of their own along the way, with falls for Ben Morley and Danno Verge holding their scores back, while Chris Widman has yet to cure niggling engine problems.

That said, the Warriors fully deserved the win, with only four last places in 15 races, with and an all-round team performance which saw every rider contribute a positive return at one stage or another.

Isle of Wight County Press:

If the four new Warriors were suffering from first night nerves, they certainly didn’t show it with the reserve pair, who enjoyed impressive starts.

King’s ultimately unsuccessful ride to hold off Ayres showed great guts and determination, while Wirtzfeld recorded two wins — his first at senior level.

Warriors co-promoter Barry Bishop was delighted with his team's work.

He said: "That was just the start we asked for. The boys delivered.

"Their team ethic was first class and they responded brilliantly to the pre-match pep talk by team manager, Jackie Vatcher.

"There is so much to savour at this club right now and we will take the momentum from this win into Sunday, when we go to Mildenhall in the reverse fixture.

"It was also good to give our Wizards riders some track time after the main meeting, so we can look forward to 21 heats of speedway when we get back together at Smallbrook next Thursday."


Isle of Wight Wightlink Warriors: Georgie Wood 11+2, Chris Widman 3+1, Ryan Terry-Daley 6+2, Danno Verge 7, Ben Morley 9, Connor King 5+1 and Chad Wirtzfeld 8+1.