Malcolm Vasey is confident that he has swapped fighting to avoid the wooden spoon for battling it out for top honours in his new role as manager of the Mildenhall Fen Tigers, writes Graham Clark.
Having found himself trying to dodge finishing at the foot of the National League table with his former club Stoke Potters in recent seasons, Vasey believes that he has taken charge of a side capable of making it to the end-of-season play-offs.
“We’ve got lots to be hopeful for this season. I’m full of optimism and if things go well we can make an impact,” said Vasey.
“They all looked sharp and improved significantly during the two sessions we had at the track on Friday and Saturday.
“The chance of Mildenhall running away with the league until the play-offs is unlikely but we are definite contenders for a place in the play-offs.
“We have an exciting team that has got a lot of talent. In Danny Ayres, David Wallinger and Jason Edwards we have three riders that could take others teams by storm.”
While excited about what lies in store for the Fen Tigers this season, Vasey has had his spirits slightly dampened after learning he will be without the services of Sam Bebee for a lengthy period after he broke his L3 vertebrae during a practice session at the track on Saturday.
“It is quite a disruption to the team preparations and Sam is such a likeable lad but he has just been so unlucky with injuries,” said Vasey.
“He has got the talent there and it is an enormous blow to us. He is a great guy and I really feel for him – nobody wishes anyone to suffer an injury like this.”
Despite facing up to being without the services of Bebee – starting with the Poultec Challenge match on Sunday (3pm) – for the immediate future, Vasey feels he could have an ace in the pack at reserve.
“Elliot Kelly could be an absolute diamond in a few weeks,” said Vasey. “For somebody that has not ridden in a competitive National League match and has only been on 500cc bikes for a few weeks he was very good and showed great determination.
“Macauley Leek was also going better at the end of the two sessions so hopefully he can carry that forward into the Poultec meeting.
“He will not get anyone giving him better advice than Kevin Jolly and Rob Henry, who have been there, done it and got 27 T-shirts!”
Although enjoying his time spent at Loomer Road with the Potters the National League stalwart claims making the decision to join the Fen Tigers was the easiest of his career.
“I would not have left Stoke to go anywhere else. If you asked me what my ideal phone call I would want to receive in speedway then being asked to manage Mildenhall is it,” added Vasey.
“It took me a 16th of a second to make my mind up to join. To be given this chance out of the blue is amazing so hopefully I can deliver.”
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