Skipper returns to West Row as Mildenhall Fen Tigers begin team building

Mildenhall have announced their first signing for next year, with the return of captain Danny Halsey for a fourth season.

Halsey swept the board at the club's awards evening, and chairman Kevin Jolly was glowing in his praise.

'Dan really stepped up last season and some of the rides he put in for us will live long in the memory,' he said. 'But that aside he was also a fine captain and we had no hesitation in offering him a team place for 2014 and also the chance to continue as team captain, which happily he has accepted.'

Halsey was pleased to be returning to a club he now calls home.

'I am really pleased to be back at Mildenhall,' he said. 'It's a great club with brilliant support and to be offered the captaincy again was extra special, I didn't hesitate to accept. Speaking with Kevin (Jolly) he has assured me we will have a very strong and competitive side and I am sure we can be right up there challenging on all fronts.

'This is a big season for me, I want to push up my average in the National League and as I don't have a Premier League place the chance to ride in the Elite League was a no brainer for me and I am really looking forward to that challenge also and of course linking up with Lewis (Blackbird) at Eastbourne.'

Mildenhall are in a positive mood ahead of next season.

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The Fen Tigers will compete in an eight-team National League – although the door remains open should the Isle of Wight decide they are able to run – a four-team National Trophy, along with Buxton, Kent and Stoke, and the National League KO Cup. In addition the promotion have been awarded the National League Pairs meeting for a third year running.

A number of small changes for 2014 see the National Trophy run as a mini league with the top two sides contesting a two-leg final while the Bronze Helmet will be run as match race contested by a member of both teams' top three riders (nominated by team managers) at the first meeting of the season. The Helmet will then be staged at every subsequent meeting contested by the team who are the current holders.

The points limit for team building remains at 40, and one new team has been added to the National League roster, with the return of Plymouth.

Stefan Nielsen will not be one of those riders coming back as his Premier League average precludes him from riding in the National League in 2014.

'It is a shame as Stefan is very popular at West Row but we wish him every success in the Premier and Elite Leagues and will watch his progress closely,' said Jolly.