Step forward and take a bow Charlie Brooks!
The 17-year old Suffolk youngster turned in a sparkling performance as Eastbourne ‘Forman IT’ Eagles recorded a mammoth 60-30 victory over the Coventry Bees to take a giant stride towards qualification for the Play Off Final.
It was yet another dominant display by the Sussex side who seem to be coming into peak form just at the right time but Arlington stadium remained transfixed by the efforts Brooks who recorded almost a third of their points on his own from the number seven berth, writes Kevin Ling.
Brooks recorded no fewer than three of his six wins in the first four races to help set the Eagles on course for handsome victory and then he added three more in heats eight, nine and twelve as the host continued to pile on the pressure.
Victory in his final ride would have been the icing on the cake but it was to prove just one race too far as Coventry guest Nathan Stoneman took the honours in heat fourteen to provide the visitors a moment to cheer.
Brooks had more than earned his corn however and Eagles will be hoping that there are many more such performances to come.
By no means was it a one man display however. Georgie Wood was also in devastating form, his paid maximum being underlined in perfect style as he clawed his way from 15 metres back to follow Tom Brennan to the chequered flag for Eagles seventh 5-1 as the lead hit 30-points.
Brennan was also in points hungry mood, suffering only one defeat by an opponent while Jason Edwards and skipper Mark Baseby also added richly to the equation.
Only Charley Powell was unable to get among the points but small wonder, already still suffering with an injury sustained at Mildenhall last week, a fall while leading his first ride could hardly have helped matters and led to him suffering an uncomfortable evening though he bravely continued to take his quota of rides.
For the visitors the picture wasn’t the prettiest for them unfortunately. Connor Mountain and Stoneman contributed a win apiece in the fifteen heats but elsewhere they were left playing catch up with Eastbourne in such irresistible form.
Mountain did getter the better of Edwards in the opening race but there was to be no catching Wood as the hosts opened with a 4-2.
The Sussex men looked set for maximum points in race two but Powell suffered a tumble on lap two earning himself a disqualification, Brooks and Jamie Halder both doing well in laying down to avoid him.
Brooks picked himself to win the rerun at a canter thus commencing the most points prolific display of his career so far.
Back to back 5-1s followed with Brooks winning both, maximum points shared with Baseby, ahead of Luke Harris and Stoneman, then Brennan against Halder and Luke Ruddick as the home lead hit 10-points, 17-7.
A minor setback followed in race five, Baseby finding himself excluded after being passed on the inside by Mountain heading into the second lap. Somewhat surprisingly the result was called with little over a lap having been run, the Bees being gifted a 5-1 of their own with Halder getting the nod for second place as he led Powell at the time of the stoppage.
It was back to business in the sixth however, Wood and Edwards combining well to keep Ruddick and Nick Laurence behind them and suddenly the home lead was back to double figures 23-13.
Brennan was an all the way winner of heat seven and then Brooks was at it again in the eighth, claiming the notable scalp of Stoneman as Eastbourne claimed a 4-2 with Edwards following in third, one that stretched the advantage to 12-points 30-18.
A further brace of 5-1 again turned the screw further on the Bees, Baseby shepherding Brooks home for the win ahead of Ruddick in heat nine and then Wood and Edwards combined together well to fend off the chasing Stoneman / Harris combo and suddenly the home lead stood at 20-points.
Brennan kept the momentum going with a win against Mountain for a share of the spoils in the eleventh and then Eastbourne moved a further 4-points to the good as both Brooks and Bailey withstood a sustained challenge by Harris to get on terms, Eagles sixth 5-1 moving the scoreline to 48-24.
Wood continued to reign supreme with a fourth win in heat 13 but Mountain did at least contain Brennan to limit the damage to a 4-2.
Stoneman was sharp from the start in winning the penultimate race, giving the Bees followers an all too rare moment to celebrate and in the process handing Brooks his one and only defeat of the match. 3-3 was the result and the scores stood at 55-29 with one race of the fifteen remaining.
Further drama was set to follow as Wood’s machine failed him when coming to tapes. This meant he would go of a 15 metre handicap in the nominated riders race.
Arlington was soon on its collective toes as on borrowed machinery the home number one stormed past both Stoneman, then Mountain in turn to join Brennan at the front, the Eagles signing off with yet another 5-1 one that took their lead to a massive 30-points 60-30 which they are due to defend away to the Bees on Saturday.
Mountain did suffer a fall on the final turn of the last race but thankfully he was soon to rise, seemingly none the worse for the experience.
Eagles: Charlie Brooks 19+1(7), Georgie Wood 14+1(5), Tom Brennan 12+2(5), Jason Edwards 8+2(5), Mark Baseby 6+3(4), Charley Powell 1(4), Rider Replacement for Ethan Spiller. – 60
Bees: Connor Mountain 9(5), Nathan Stoneman (Guest for Jon Armstrong) 9(6), Jamie Halder 6+1(6), Luke Ruddick 3+1(5), Luke Harris 2+1(5), Nick Laurence (Guest for Ryan MacDonald) 1+1(3), Rider Replacement for Danny Phillips.. – 30