DASHING Dane Charlie Gjedde and inspirational skipper Leigh Lanham were the recipients of Newport Mike Manning Audio Wasps' main awards at the club’s end-of-season presentation night.
Gjedde was handed the Wasps’ rider of the season accolade while Lanham was named team man of the year award.
The two were hugely instrumental in the winning of the Knockout Cup – the club’s first piece of silverware since its 1999 Premier Trophy victory.
Last Saturday’ 51-42 home win over Edinburgh Monarchs elevated the Wasps to fourth in the British Premier League table.
However they had to be satisfied with a fifth-place finish after Workington Comets overtook them when beating Plymouth twice on Monday night.
Nonetheless, fifth of 14 is a massive improvement on the basement slot the Wasps occupied when Gjedde arrived from Berwick at the start of June and before Lanham profited from dropping down from one to five in the starting line-up.
“Charlie Gjedde did not make this a one-man team when he came here, but his performances lifted everyone and from then on we were simply a far better team,” said Newport Speedway co-promoter Nick Mallett.
“There were other factors and which made our improvement complete, but Charlie’s displays were the foundation which our success in the latter part of the season was build on.”
Gjedde, a World Cup winner with Denmark in 2006, also experienced a fine season in the Elite League club with Belle Vue and has quickly become a cult hero at Newport to stand alongside the like of Frank Smart and Anders Henrikkson.
Lanham lifted the Knockout Cup at Glasgow after the Wasps held on to a huge first-leg advantage gained by a famous home win and it’s a testament to him that he looks twice as fit as riders half of his 37 years.
“Leigh’s contribution to this club is second to none and after three seasons he remains enthusiastic about riding for Newport as he was that very first time I called him when I was living in Devon in 2009,” said Mallett.
“It is no exaggeration to say we all now class Leigh as an extended member of our family.”
The Edinburgh win took the Wasps’ run of consecutive home Premier League victories to 12 and now fans must wait for an official announcement on the club’s future.
At the same presentation party, Aussie teenager Todd Kurtz won the Newport Drillerman Hornets' rider of the year award.
- Newport Speedway's annual bonfire night display will start at 7.30pm on Saturday.