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  • Rob Dyer

Opener Awaits Upbeat Warriors

The ‘Wightlink’ Warriors kick off their 2018 speedway season at The Andrew Younie Smallbrook Stadium this Thursday (5th April) when the club stage The Vince Mapley Memorial Trophy – an individual event featuring all seven Warriors plus some up and coming riders from other National League sides.

Everyone connected with the club were so disappointed that last weekend’s Press & Practice day fell foul of the atrocious weather, none more so than Warriors new number one Ben Morley who is so keen to show the home fans the form that took him to fifth place in last season’s National League averages and also returnee and 2018 skipper Ben Hopwood (pictured) who is looking to quickly reacquaint himself with the fastest way round the speedy Island circuit.

Home supporters will also be looking forward to seeing new Warrior Danno Verge. The Kent based speedster has looked very quick at the My Fist Skid training schools in February and March and will be a key man for the Warriors as the season unfolds. Fans favourites Chris Widman, Scott Campos, Jamie Sealey and Adam Portwood complete the Warrior contingent.

Making up the duelling dozen will be former Warrior and current Kent King Nathan Stoneman, on his way back to fitness after a bad injury last season, Birmingham’s hugely talented Leon Flint, the familiar face of promising Jamie Bursill and Belle Vue duo Kyle Bickley and Ben Woodhull who will be gaining valuable track time ahead of the Colts league visit just one week later.

Co-promoter Barry Bishop said, “This will be the third year that we have staged this individual meeting to launch our season and I cannot wait to see the meeting unfold. It is going to be a close contest with some very talented riders taking part. A perfect way to remember Vince who so loved the speedway on the Isle of Wight.

The wet weather around the country has really limited the amount of practice time available to many riders so by opening with an individual event, it gives the Warriors competitive outings in true race conditions before team action gets under way at Mildenhall next Sunday. It also allows us a chance to bring in some improving riders who have impressed us, both on and off track. We hope the weather is kind and we can get cracking on an exciting season”.

Usual admission arrangements apply with the turnstiles opening at 5.30 p.m. and the pits open for viewing from 5.45 p.m. to 6.15 p.m. The grand parade of riders will take place at 6.45 p.m. with tapes up on the first race at 7.00 p.m. The ever-popular kid’s on-track cycle/running race will also feature during the speedway interval.

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