Eastbourne are in Championship league action tonight (August 7) at Birmingham.
It’s a track where they have tasted success this season and the Fineprint Eagles management are hoping a similar result can kick-start a late run into the end-of-season Play Offs which will decide the title.
Next week, Eastbourne are on a northern tour – facing Berwick, Edinburgh and Newcastle on successive nights where wins would blow open the race to finish in the top four.
Club director Ian Jordan said: “We have won at Birmingham in the Southern Group of the Championship Shield, a massive win, the biggest away win in the Championship (League, Cup or Shield) to date this season by 53 points to 37 points on May 1.
“That win was instrumental in us qualifying for the semi-final against Glasgow.
“We also lost 50-40 at Birmingham in the 2nd leg of a KO Cup tie, when we were probably more focused on defending a substantial lead.”
The Brummies have significantly changed their line-up on several occasions since.
Jordan said a new stronger looking line up including former Eagles’ favourite Adam Ellis and new signing Jason Garrity “looks sure to give us a strong examination”.
We plan to have our usual live coverage from Kevin Ling over on our Facebook channel here from around 7pm
Adam Ellis, Nick Agertoft, Tero Aarnio, Paco Castagna, Jason Garrity, Jordan Jenkins, James Shanes.
Edward Kennett, Georgie Wood, Kyle Newman, Lewis Kerr, Richard Lawson, Alfie Bowtell, Jason Edwards.
Championship Shield semi-final
The events that took place before the start of the meeting on Saturday against Glasgow at Arlington Stadium are now subject to an official Speedway Control Bureau inquiry.
As a result, Eastbourne Fineprint Eagles Management will make no comment on the events.
Jordan added: “However, we are aware that a couple of the mascots were deeply affected by the events and we will be contacting the parents directly to pass on our thoughts and concerns and to apologise for any upset caused.
“One aspect of the evening, that has been incorrectly reported and misrepresented on social media and various forums, is that a track official was excluded from the meeting.
“This is a complete fabrication and totally untrue. The allegation has no basis in fact.”
He added that the club hoped the “rather extraordinary opening” did not detract from an outstanding team performance and that once the dust settled the magnitude of reaching a final in our first season back in a higher league will be felt and appreciated by all of our supporters.
“The very good crowd was swelled by some previous community project visitors who took advantage of our Family Package Offer and their support and feedback indicates that the hard work of the community team is beginning to really deliver tangible long term results and a new generation of Eagles Supporters,” he said.
“The crowd was again affected though by the Speedway GP being on TV (according to our detailed data on regular supporters) and we would again ask fans to support ‘live Speedway’ whilst they have a chance to.
“We will continue to monitor Speedway GP Nights when they clash with home fixtures very closely when making plans for 2020. “Hopefully the number of stay at home fans on those nights will reduce so that we can contemplate running at this level when clashes are unavoidable.”
Away performances & KO CUP Semi-Final Dates
The Fineprint Eagles rode very well at Redcar the next day, considering the quick turnaround, where a 2pm start was requested by Newcastle, who as a Sunday track take priority over Redcar, whose normal racing night is Friday.
“We were given a wonderful welcome at a fantastic track in front of a bumper crowd welcoming home the new British Champion, Charles Wright,” Jordan said.
“He was ably backed by Premier League and international stars in Erik Riss and Micheal Palm Toft.
“Richard, in particular, rode exceptionally well. Edward and Lewi both suffered expensive bike issues and with Alfie and Kyle were very competitive all afternoon.
“The icing on the cake was young Jason Edwards with a stunning performance and a return of 5 points and 2 bonus points, making it 10 points and 2 bonus points from his first two away matches at this level at probably the two in-form sides in Glasgow and Redcar.”
Jordan said there was evidence to show that Eastbourne improved when racing for a second time away for home, most notably at Glasgow where a 33 point return in the league was bettered by 10 points in the Championship Shield.
“Our solid 37 point return at Redcar bodes positively for the KO Cup Semi-Final there in September, the dates for which have now been confirmed as follows:
September 6 (away); September 7 (at Arlington).
He said it was frustrating that Georgie Wood’s “away day blues” continued at Redcar, especially after scoring a paid maximum at home the night before.
Jordan said: “Hopefully Georgie will find his form in the vital four away league fixtures in the next ten days at Birmingham, Edinburgh, Berwick and Newcastle, where we will be seeking a couple of away wins, if possible, to keep alive our Play Off hopes.
“It is absolutely vital that we have all seven riders contributing regularly away from home, as well as at home.
“With 2020 team strategy being actively discussed, there is no better time for Georgie to show his worth away from Arlington.
“Next year, we will be seeking a more balanced 1-7 to improve away form and have a real bash at the league title as well as the two-legged KO Cup and Shield competitions.
Championship Shield Final
Dates for the Championship Shield Final with Leicester are now confirmed as follows: 1st Leg: Arlington – Saturday 14th September. 2nd Leg: Leicester: Sunday 15th September.
With a home league fixture v Birmingham to fit in too, it looks highly likely that we will be racing at Arlington right up to the end of September.
There is a strong possibility of matches and events in October, especially if we cap an already excellent return to this level by making a second Cup Final in the KO Cup.
Lewi Kerr has encountered a few serious mechanical issues in recent Eastbourne matches, so if there are any sponsors, would-be sponsors or supporters who would like to give him a helping hand as we enter a busy period of the season, please contact the Club at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can put you directly in touch with Lewi.
Image Credits: Mike Hinves & Tiffani Graveling Photography