Date at 8 – with Brummies
Eastbourne v Birmingham in the Championship Shield at Arlington Stadium, 8pm.
Weather update: UPDATED: Dry and patchy sun in Eastbourne and we’ve checked with Met Office and NO RAIN Forecast at all today up to midnight…
Traffic latest: Avoid the minor road through Pevensey, Westham, Stone Cross – long-term roadworks.
Teams update: No changes
The Kevin Ling preview
A new era dawns at Arlington Stadium tonight.
The new look, newly rebranded Eastbourne ‘Fineprint’ Eagles take a leap of faith and step up a level to take on the challenge that speedway’s Championship league racing.
A ring of familiarity, it is hoped, will ease them into their new surroundings.
First in line to face the Sussex side are fellow newcomers to the middle tier of racing, the Birmingham Brummies.
The two teams quickly renew acquaintance after having both contributed to a number of the classic encounters fought at National League level over the last four seasons.
Hopes are high that each will have as much to offer as they enter the higher level.
The Eagles and the Brummies are set to do battle for Championship Shield points, the season opening competition that will also see them take on Somerset in the southern area section.
The winners of that mini-group will join with the top team in each the Northern and Central Group, together with the highest runners up at the semi-final stage.
Following a success laden four-year tenure at the lower level – with seven trophies to show for their efforts – the only way really was up for the Sussex outfit.
And that is exactly where they are heading with an all-action, all-British and exciting looking team.
Leading the ‘Fineprint’ Eagles into the fray on Saturday (the action set to commence at 8pm) is newly appointed captain Edward Kennett.
No one at Arlington will need reminding that the name Kennett is inextricably linked with the Sussex club’s history with Edward’s uncles Gordon and Barney and father David having also represented the side with such distinction in the past.
It seems somehow fitting that such a name should lead the Sussex men into the new era.
Kennett forms a powerful looking heat leader trio alongside Richard Lawson and Lewi Kerr.
National League leading lights Ben Morley and Alfie Bowtell, who last year also rode at this level, form the engine room of the team.
Each young man will, of course, be hoping that the Sussex club will be the best place to nurture the next stage of their development.
All eyes will surely be on the reserve berth of the Eastbourne side ,however.
Both Georgie Wood and Tom Brennan played a huge part in the Eagles’ double winning success last season and the Arlington supporters will be hoping that their respective upward mobility will continue now that they have been handed their opportunity at the next level with their home club.
Quite obviously the Sussex outfit will look to kick their new campaign, and new chapter off with a handsome win.
Under no circumstances, however, will they be taking their opponents lightly.
Former Eagle Ulrich Ostergaard leads the Brummies’ assault and he will have solid back from the likes of Kyle Newman and Ashley Morris.
Both Zach Wajtknecht and James Shanes will be familiar faces to the Arlington faithful from their National League days.
The Red and Yellow attack is completed by cosmopolitan duo, Dane Tobias Thomsen and Italian Paco Castagna.
Teams: (in alphabetical order)
Eagles: Alfie Bowtell, Tom Brennan, Edward Kennett, Lewis Kerr, Richard Lawson, Ben Morley, Georgie Wood.
Brummies: Paco Castagna, Ashley Morris, Kyle Newman, Ulrich Ostergaard, James Shanes, Tobias Thomsen, Zach Wajtknecht.