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Mildenhall Stadium
West Row Fen

 1973, a rough and ready track appeared in a field at West Row Fen, near Mildenhall, Suffolk; this track was being used for training purposes. Now if it was this practice track that inspired local farmer Terry Walters or it he was asked I do not know but it was he who provided the land adjacent to the practice track on which the present day track stands.

This was to be a well constructed track and 1,000 tons of chalk was used to form the base which was topped with a red shale surface, initially the safety fence was built of straw bails but these were gradually replaced by a purpose built wooden fence as and when time and money allowed. The original land owner Terry Walters and Bernie Klatt set up a training school with sessions costing £2.25 and run from 10.30 a.m. till dusk, the first session was held on the 8th April 1973 and the following year a number of training school challenge matches were staged. Perhaps the best known speedway star to emerge from this school would be Michael Lee.

An open licence was applied for in 1975 by Bernie Klatt and it was granted although if this was before or after he was joined by Colin Barber and Wally Mawdsley I am not sure, I do know that this trio entered, as co-promoters, a team in the National League and the first league meeting took place on 18th May of that year, it was against Scunthorpe and the Fen Tigers, as the team were called, lost by just four points.

There were plans to enter a team in the top league and it did seem it may well happen in 1979 but was it was not to be and a further effort to join the top-flight in 1984 was also unsuccessful. Although Terry Walters and Bernie Klatt became joint promoters in 1980 this arrangement only lasted for the one year with Mr Klatt becoming sole promoter the following year. When Mr Klatt sadly dies in 1885 the promotion of speedway at West Row  was to become handled by a consortium to be called Mildenhall Speedway Promotions and consisting of Terry and Byron Waters, Theo and Barry Klatt, Brian and Gordon Palmer, Bob Steward and Skid Parish  by 1987 it was Skid Parish who took the leading role in the day to day running of speedway at the venue.

Mildenhall had now completed 15 successive seasons in the National League and were about to start their 16th when they were expelled! There obviously needs to be rules and regulations but looking back it does seem a pity that it was impossible to sort the problem which seems to have been that the team did not meet the required average of 42 points. This decision by the Control Board meant that the Mildenhall Stadium held its last meeting of this era on the 22nd October 1989.

Dick Partridge organised training and practice sessions at West Row during 1991 and under the promotion of Dick Partridge and Derek Hewitt in 1992 an attempt to run regular meetings with a team entered in the British League Division Two. It would seem though that the local followers had lost the habit of attending speedway at West Row and it was cited as financial reasons that the stadium closed after the running of just four league meetings on the 17th June.

In 1994 with the formation of the British League Division Three Derek Hewitt decided to give it another try and reopened the track in July with a challenge match against Iwade which Mildenhall won. Although the lower league changed name several times from British League Division Three Mildenhall was to stick with it until joining the Premier League in 2006. There were a number of changes in the management and promotion during this time with Dingle Brown holding the reins from 1995 until 2001 inclusive, Tony Mole took over the clubs ownership in 2002 appointing Graham Drury as promoter, and Graham was joined by his wife Denise in 2003 to act as co-promoters. In 2005 Mr Mole sold the club ownership to a consortium of Mick Horton, Neil Watson and Trevor Swales, Mr Swales stood down in the May of that year followed shortly afterwards by Neil Watson leaving Mick Horton in sole control.

Mick Horton moved the clubs team up to the Premier League in 2006, and in 2007 the stadium owner Carl Harris formed Fen Tigers Limited intending to sell shares in the company to the fans but in the event a major shareholding was bought by staunch supporter Simon Barton. The promotion was sold towards the end of the 2008 season to Keith (Buster) Chapman and his son Jonathan who were, and are, the experienced owners and promoters of Kings Lynn.

2009 and the Fen Tigers are entered in the National League and have remained there until the time of writing (2014) and to day the Club Chairman is Kevin Jolly with Robert Henry the team manager

Our thanks to John Somerville for supplying and giving permission to use the photo of the Mildenhall track and to John Jarvis for allowing data extracted from the book ‘Homes of British Speedway’ to be used in the preparation of this brief history of the West Row track.

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