Brummies 50 (82) Eagles 40 (97)

Eastbourne overcame a fierce challenge at Birmingham tonight (May 29) to go through to the quarter finals of the Championship KO Cup.

They lost 50-40 but won 97-82 on aggregate.

The Brummies threw everything at the Fineprint Eagles in the early stages and at one point an upset looked on the cards.

However, Eastbourne held their nerve. Five heat wins on the bounce between heats 11 and 15 did the trick. There were two for captain Edward Kennett and one apiece for Alfie Bowtell, Lewi Kerr and Richard Lawson.

Eastbourne co-promoter Trevor Geer said the rain made track conditions difficult.

“It suited the Birmingham riders more than us early on and at around heat eight I thought ‘we are not going to do this’.”

Geer said the Eagles’ bottom three of Alfie Bowtell, Ben Morley and Georgie Wood struggled particularly early on but then Bowtell “got it together and won a heat towards the end”.

He added: “We provided the last five heat winners and that made it a different match but the track conditions were poor at the end.

“No-one really wanted to go out in heat 15.

“I am just thankful that we have got seven riders all going home with no-one hurt.”

Brummies: Adam Ellis 13(5), Ashley Morris 11+1(5), Nathan Stoneman 9+3(5), Tom Bacon (guest) 7+1(4), Paco Castagna 6(4), Ulrich Ostergaard 3+2(4), Zach Wajtknecht 1+1(3) – 50 (agg 82)

Eastbourne: Richard Lawson 12(5), Edward Kennett 10(4), Lewi Kerr 8+1(5), Kyle Newman 4+1(4), Alfie Bowtell 3(4), Ben Morley 2(4), Georgie Wood 1(4) – 40 (agg 97)

Here is how the match unfolded as reported by Kevin Ling, supported by Paul Watson, on our live blog.

The Eastbourne Fineprint Eagles are at Birmingham tonight (May 29) defending a 25-point lead in the KO Cup first, round, second leg tie.

Eastbourne are at full strength. Lewi Kerr has recovered from a hair-raising crash at Arlington Stadium on Saturday night in the big win over Berwick.

Kyle Newman returns as an Eagle to face the club where he started the season after a successful Eastbourne debut last Saturday.

Earlier in the year, Eastbourne scored a convincing victory in the Championship Shield at Birmingham (53-37) but since then the Brummies have reorganised to give themselves a potent No 1.

Filling that position is former Eagle, now a Premiership heatleader, Adam Ellis, with Nathan Stoneman coming in at reserve.

Kyle Newman

Going out were Newman and Tobias Thomsen.

For Eastbourne, it is amazing that Kerr is racing. He clashed with Kevin Doolan at Arlington last Saturday and went under the safety fence. 

The West Norfolk charger was taken to hospital with neck and shoulder injuries.

On Sunday, he declared nothing was broken but he was feeling sore.

This series of photographs from Tiffani Graveling Photography show just how serious the crash was.

Trouble is brewing as Kevin Doolan (white) and Lewi Kerr head to the first corner with Kyle Newman well clear on the outside.
Doolan going off the back while Lewi is still aboard
Doolan off the back of his bike but Lewi is also on his way down
Both riders now heading towards the fence at high speed

Your reporter Kevin Ling is trackside at Birmingham’s Perry Bar stadium and will bring you detailed heat-by-heat coverage of this KO Cup tie.

Eastbourne are 57-32 up from the first leg at Arlington Stadium on Good Friday.

Winners of the tie face Leicester in the next round.

Remember to refresh the page to ensure you are served with the latest information.


Birmingham: Adam Ellis, Tom Bacon (guest), Ulrich Ostergaard, Ashley Morris, Zach Wajtknecht, Paco Castagna, Nathan Stoneman.

Eastbourne: Edward Kennett, Ben Morley, Kyle Newman, Lewis Kerr, Richard Lawson, Alfie Bowtell, Georgie Wood.

The Eagles are unchanged while the Brummies bring in Tom Bacon as a guest for James Shanes, who is at a world long track qualifier. Bacon was a member of their National League team last year.

The Birmingham track from earlier this afternoon. Image: Birmingham Speedway
Here is Kevin Ling’s view of the track at Perry Bar

There has been some rain this afternoon but that appears to have passed. It’s cloudy and Ian Jordan says the track looks OK.

The really good news this week is that Tom Brennan is now recovering at home.

Kevin had a nightmare journey up to Birmingham this afternoon, saying traffic was a “mess”.

Tonight’s programme

Teams confirmed. Brummies take gates 1 and 3 in the first heat. We are hearing that Edward Kennett and Georgie Wood also struggled with traffic chaos on the way to Birmingham. We are now all set to go racing. Teams as previously announced.

Heat 1: Brummies gate on a 5-1. Edward gets a mighty shove from Tom Bacon in a tight first turn. He is quickly up and OK. All four back. Re-run: This time Ben Morley hits the shale at the first turn – appeared another case of first bend bunching, so I thought, but the race continued. Ellis led from gate to flag – Kennett rounded Bacon down back straight first time round and that’s how it stayed; 4-2, 4-2 ,agg 36-59, time 60.41

Heat 2: The Brummies are hitting the Eagles hard from the off. Sharper from the start, Castagna and Stoneman lead down the back straight. Georgie gives chase and pressures Stoneman, but to no avail; 5-1, 9-3, 41-60, time 61.65.

Heat 3: Another stopped in the interest of safety – Morris leads from Kerr and Newman with Ulrich giving chase. Second lap, first bend, Ulrich goes down. Race stopped and Ostergaard disqualified. Re-run: Morris hits the front and in spite of continued pressure from both Eagles in the early part, that was how it stayed. Morris took the chequered flag from former Brummie Kyle Newman and Lewi respectively; 3-3, 12-6, agg 44-63, time 61.65.

Richard Lawson, our first heat winner of the night.

Heat 4: Brummies in front at first turn but Richard rounds them all, with Georgie slipping through on inside to lead out of bend two. Lawson couldn’t be caught but Stoneman found a way past Georgie and Zach followed his partner through the gap. It was close between the back markers but Zach held on;  3-3, 15-9, 47-66, time 61.87

Next meeting at Arlington: Eagles v Newcastle on June 8, 7.30pm

Heat 5: Unsatisfactory start. All four back. Morris warned. Good gate from Edward but Morris riding well tonight – he races past on the outside down back straight. Morris leads Kennett all the way with Ulrich back in third getting the better of Morley; 4-2, 19-11, 51-68, time 60.75

Heat 6: Unsatisfactory star. All four back – this time Ellis warned. Ellis all the way after defying Lawson’s early challenge – Alfie holding third in the early part but Bacon sweeps past in third heading into second lap,  4-2, 23-13, 55-70, time 60.47. Hoist the storm cones – Eastbourne are under severe pressure tonight at Perry Bar. The Brummies are eroding that 25-point first-leg lead. The Eagles badly need a heat advantage.

Heat 7: BOOM! And just when the Eagles needed something they get it. A 5-1 for the Fineprint Eagles in a race that was eventually awarded. Kerr and Newman were leading and well ahead when Zach fell and the race stopped. He is up and OK but excluded. The odd point goes to Castagna; 1-5 ,24-18 ,56-75, no time

Heat 8: Brummies hit right much to the delight of the home fans. Bacon hits the front and there’s no shifting him. Ben and Georgie holding second and third but Stoneman proves himself the home hero as he makes his way past Georgie then Ben for the 5-1 that had the home fans on their feet; 5-1, 29-19, 61-76, time 61.44

Next meeting at Arlington: Eagles v Newcastle on June 8, 7.30pm

Heat 9: Are the Brummies going to pull of a huge shock? The Eagles are looking out for a hero. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Richard Lawson takes us three more points closer to that second round tie with Leicester. It was a flying win for Richard Lawson. Alfie features strongly in the early part but Morris quickly carved a route past – a good race ensues at the rear of the field but sadly it was destined to go the way of Ostergaard who outgunned Bowtell for a share of the spoils; 3-3, 32-22, 54-79, time 60.97

Heat 10: Oh no. We are still not out of the woods. The Brummies are still not throwing in the towel. Ellis and Bacon posting a gate-to-flag 5-1 that increases the home lead to 14 points (and 11 adrift on aggregate) 5-1, 37-23, 69-80, time 61.53

Important heat win for Edward Kennett

Heat 11: Eagles equally determined as the rain now starts to fall. Kennett makes the start and he leads from Castagna with Morley disputing third with Zach. The home man does appear a little second hand, unfortunately, and he pulls up on the third lap leaving the Eagles to secure a vital heat advantage; 2-4, 39-27, 71-84, time 64.03

Heat win for Alfie Bowtell puts in the Eagles within touching distance of going through to the quarter finals

Heat 12: Bowtell hits the front from Ostergaard but the race wasn’t destined to get past the second turn as Stoneman eases Newman wider and wider, the pair coming to grief and the race is stopped. Re-run with all four. It may not have been his night up to now, but Alfie proves the hero of the hour as he repeats his previous fast start to lead all the way for the win. Stoneman and Ostergaard pack the minor places ahead of Kyle but the 3-3 ensures Eagles only need finishers in the final three races to progress through to the quarter finals, 3-3, 42-30, 74-87, time 65.09.

Next meeting at Arlington: Eagles v Newcastle on June 8, 7.30pm

Heat 13: Adam Ellis is certainly doing his job for Birmingham. He was brought in to add firepower at No 1 and he goes into race 13 with three wins to his name tonight – so far. Castagna in place of Zach. That’s it and Edward lowers Adam Ellis’ colours. Kennett and Richard Lawson make sure of progression, the former securing a flying win that spells the end of Adam Ellis unbeaten run at Perry Barr – Lawson takes third place over Castagna for the 4-2 that seals it; 2-4, 44-34, 76-90 time 62.75

Heat 14: Stoneman for Castagna. Lewi Kerr then becomes eagles fourth race winner in successive races as he wins a race long battle with Morris. Stoneman defies Georgie’s challenge to take third and split the points; 3-3, 47-37, 79-93, time 64.16. It is amazing to think that this time on Saturday night Lewi Kerr was on his way to hospital.

Heat 15: Just when it looked like it could be a crisis, the Eagles have dug deep over the last few races and found the heat winners to put the tie to bed. Morris (r) Ellis (b) Lawson (w) Kerr (y). Eagles in 1-3 in last race – Richard gets a flyer and race called back under orders. Lawson warmed to remain stationary. Ellis misses the gate and goes down at first turn – to be honest I didn’t see any contact but it’s all four back once again – Eagles holding a 4-2 at the time of the stoppage (which to be fair was only after a quarter of a lap). A great ride and a superb win for Lawson (the Eagles fifth on the spin) rounds things off in style for the Sussex side . Ellis tries to ride around him down the back straight but Richard cut off his run – wheel- to-wheel for the most part but Richard holds on in determined style – Morris follows on in third unchallenged after Lewi pulls up and out of the race on the second lap; 3-3; 50-40; 82-97

Next meeting at Arlington: Eagles v Newcastle on June 8, 7.30pm

Image credits: Tiffani Graveling Photography, Mike Hinves, Birmingham Speedway and Kevin Ling.