Speedway: Somerset's Atkins signs for Mildenhall
PUBLISHED: 14:06 17 June 2019 | UPDATED: 14:06 17 June 2019
Somerset Rebels reserve Henry Atkins has been snapped up by National League side Mildenhall and is set to make his debut just 24 hours after riding at Glasgow.
Atkins joins the Fen Tigers on a 6.90 National League average, replacing David Wallinger, and Aaron Butcher also joins as Macauley Leeks gives way to comply with the points limit.
A Mildenhall statement said: "Henry is a rider we've always thought could be a Mildenhall rider one day and we are confident he can produce the big performances as our second heat-leader that will get us the points we have been lacking away from home especially."
Rebels team manager Garry May believes the extra meeting for Atkins could work in Somerset's advantage and said: "Before his recent accident I had the feeling Henry needed more regular racing and I encouraged him to try and find a National League club. I think the more bike time he gets the sharper he will be and that can only be good news for us.
"We have seen that in Anders [Rowe] with Kent so now Henry has a National League place its good."
Subject to BSPA approval, Atkins, who made his racing return last Wednesday after dislocating his shoulder mid-May, will have a busy week ahead as he lines-up for Somerset on Wednesday in a tough-looking encounter against leaders Leicester Lions, before the Rebels travel to Glasgow on Friday for another crucial SGB Championship meeting.
He will make his Mildenhall debut as they visit Stoke on Saturday.
Wednesday's meeting will provide a good gauge as to the strength of the Rebels, as Leicester have picked up at least a point on eight trips in the Championship Shield or League which includes four outright victories.
May added: "We need to grab all three points. We must do that and I don't think it will matter too much if they pick up the consolation as they must be favourites to be in the top four anyway, and that has to be the target.
"Make the play-offs and see what happens when the time comes round, as things can change so quickly. But if you don't make the play-offs you've no chance of being champions."
Somerset: 1 Rory Schlein 2 Todd Kurtz 3 Valentin Grobauer 4 Nico Covatti 5 Chris Harris (capt) 6 Anders Rowe 7 Henry Atkins.
Leicester: 1 Scott Nicholls (capt) 2 Ellis Perks 3 Josh Bates 4 Ryan Douglas 5 Richie Worrall 6 Jack Thomas 7 Connor Mountain.