Supporters of the Eastbourne Eagles were introduced to the three men hoping to resurrect the Sussex Speedway club at a Save Eastbourne Speedway fans forum event at the Holly Blue pub in Pevensey on Sunday (29th January 2023).
In front of a crowd of over 100 enthusiastic supporters, prospective bosses Steve Chantler of Triangle Fire Systems, Michael Gray from HG Aerospace and David Graveling of David Graveling Property Maintenance outlined their plans to bring racing back to the Arlington Stadium in 2024.
The Eagles last went to the tapes in August of 2021, and since then the new consortium has been founded and undertaken a fact-finding mission to ensure they are fully prepared to take on the challenge of running a Speedway club. Meetings with various promoters and team managers around the UK, as well as with officials from BSP Ltd., have given the consortium a clear understanding of the costs involved: as much as a quarter of a million pounds is the anticipated expenditure in the first year of running.
The Arlington Stadium owners have given the go-ahead for Speedway to return to Sussex providing a viable business case can be put together, with a minimum standard of Championship level racing set as a requirement in order to protect the stadium brand.
In the coming weeks, further announcements will be made with additional detail about the project, which will be a totally new business with no links to past promotions. An experienced co-promoter is already waiting in the wings to support in taking the project forward.
A new Save Eastbourne Speedway website is soon to be launched, with fans encouraged to support a fund-raising effort and to spread the word among local businesses, with a target of £60,000 to be raised.
Those supporters who attended on Sunday were given the opportunity to pose questions to the new consortium, and also to get the smell of methanol back in their nostrils as a series of the 500cc machines were fired up in front of the venue.
Former Eagles Nathan Ablitt, who will race on the continent this season for WTS Sparta Wroclaw’s Under-24 Ekstraliga side, along with Kelsey Dugard, Jake Knight and Vinnie Foord, were in attendance.
Niall Strudwick’s Southern Speedway Collection of Eagles memorabilia was a great talking point for fans to reminisce on the glory days gone by, including top-flight title wins in 1995 and 2000 as well as three second division titles in the 70s and 80s. Now a new chapter in the club’s history is set to be written, as this fans-led project aims to bring the Eagles back to the tapes, hopefully in 2024.
Image Credits: Save Eastbourne Speedway.