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  • Rob Dyer

Meeting Preview - Warriors v Mildenhall (NL) And Wizards v Reading (MSDL)

This week’s action takes place on Thursday (8 August) when the Wightlink Warriors and Wizards take to the track to face the Mildenhall Fen Tigers in the National League and the Reading Racers in the Development League, both Island sides determined to ‘Do It For Danno’ as they aim to lift the spirits of their injured colleague Danno Verge.

With the Warriors picking up the Silver Ski Four Team Trophy after a dominant display at Kent on Monday evening, the gloss was taken off the celebrations as Verge and rival Adam Extance were both on the way to hospital after a nasty crash saw both riders come to grief. Having been knocked-out in the incident, Verge was also being assessed for a possible back injury. Fortunately he is just badly shaken with no lasting damage; however he must sit out racing for nine days under the concussion protocols. Extance has not been so lucky having fractured a shoulder, ribs and suffered internal injuries and will be out of action for a while.

Verge’s injury has come on the eve of home and away fixtures against Mildenhall this week. The Fen Tigers will arrive at Smallbrook without Jason Edwards (on international duty in the Czech Republic), Charlie Brooks (transport and work difficulties) and Elliot Kelly who is not fully recovered from a collar-bone problem. With two of their top five riders absent in recognised circumstances, the regulations allow the visitors to use a guest plus the rider replacement (RR) facility plus an unattached rider so it will be RR for Edwards, Nathan Stoneman for Brooks and Macauley Leek for Kelly. Add in Danny Ayres, Henry Atkins and Matt Marson and the Fen Tigers will be a very tough nut to crack.

On the Warrior side the only cover for Verge can come via the RR facility with everyone except for Georgie Wood eligible to take one ride so the pressure will really be on the home side, however confidence is high, team spirit buoyant and with plenty of vocal support from the terraces the side will be out to Do It For Danno, deliver a winning result and consolidate their league position in the play-off chase.

Expected line-ups:

Warriors: Georgie Wood, Chad Wirtzfeld, Scott Campos, Rider Replacement for Danno Verge, Ben Morley, Chris Widman, Connor King.

Fen Tigers: Danny Ayres, Matt Marson, Rider Replacement for Jason Edwards, Nathan Stoneman, Henry Atkins, Aaron Butcher, Macauley Leek.

After the Warriors come the Wizards who will be taking on the Reading Racers in the Midland & Southern Development League. Wizards won away at the Racers adopted home in Swindon at the start of the season and whilst the Berkshire side always provide stern opposition, another two league points would be very welcome indeed.

Expected line-ups:

Wizards: Chad Wirtzfeld, Morgan Williams, Jamie Sealey, Chris Watts.

Racers: Nick Laurence, Rhys Laker, William O’Keefe, Russell Barnett.

Warriors co-promoter Barry Bishop said, “It was fantastic to win the Fours at Kent on Monday and I only wish we could have had Danno with us to savour the presentation, but we have no time to feel sorry for ourselves as we must face Mildenhall head on and produce one almighty team performance against a somewhat unusual looking Fen Tigers team. Believe me – the boys will be well and truly up for this one as we look to Do It For Danno.

Then we have another Wizards fixture to enjoy so 21 heats of racing, lots of fun for everyone and hopefully two significant wins to enjoy.”

The on-going age promotion giving free admission to the meeting will be in place and anyone who is 43 will be welcome to take up this offer on production of proof of age. Otherwise the usual pricing and admission arrangements apply with gates opening at 5.30 pm ahead of the first race at 7.00 pm.


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