Warriors' Ben Morley. Pic: Sportography

The Isle of Wight ‘Wightlink’ Warriors speedway team are gearing up for their first fixture of the season this evening (Thursday).

Smallbrook Stadium in Ryde will play host to Mildenhall Fen Tigers in a National Trophy clash.

Despite being defending trophy holders, tonight’s opponents ended last year without the league title or the Knock-Out Cup.

Injuries plagued the closing weeks of Fen Tigers season – allowing Eastbourne Eagles to swoop in and take the major silverware.

But, with a management restructure having taken place in the winter, the visitors have pledged to come back fighting again in 2019.

However, they will have to do it with a much-changed line-up – one that has already been dealt a body-blow following an injury to Sam Bebee during pre-season practice.

Wightlink Warriors will hand debuts to their four winter signings Georgie Wood, Ryan Terry-Daley, Connor King and Chad Wirtzfeld.

Ben Morley, Danno Verge and Chris Widman will return to the track following last years exploits.

Wightlink Warriors co-promoter Barry Bishop said:

“We have had two smashing individual meetings to start our season, but now the real work begins. The Fen Tigers can never be under-estimated and they have two top notch heat leaders who absolutely fly round this track.

“I’m pleased to report that Ben Morley suffered no ill effects from his last race fall in the Vince Mapley meeting so we will be at full strength and we really do want to set off on a winning note.

“Warrior fans that have been so appreciative of the action in the first two meetings will need to be here in force as they can be the catalyst to achieving an opening night celebration.”

Gates open at 5.30pm ahead of the first race at 7.00pm.

Racing line-ups:

Warriors (from): Connor King, Ben Morley, Ryan Terry-Daley, Danno Verge, Chris Widman, Chad Wirtzfeld and Georgie Wood.

Fen Tigers (from): Danny Ayres, Sam Bebee (rider replacement), Charlie Brooks, Jason Edwards, Elliot Kelly, Macauley Leek, David Wallinger.

The usual pricing and admission arrangements apply with gates opening at 5.30 pm ahead of the first race at 7.00 pm.