Eastbourne rounded off their 2019 season with a 37-23 win over Birmingham tonight (September 28) at Arlington Stadium.
Rain fell throughout the match and at one point racing was paused when it became particularly heavy.
At the completion of ten races, the meeting was abandoned and the result stands.
Referee Dave Robinson praised the teams for their efforts in difficult conditions.
Fineprint Eagle Kyle Newman said both sets of riders understood the conditions and rode accordingly.
“We all went want to race, we all want to win and earn money but there is a point in the year when the weather will not be getting more favourable, so you have to take the opportunity to get the meeting over and done with when you can.
“Every rider was sensible. The result didn’t affect the league and it was a bit like ‘let’s go out there and have a big of fun with it’.
“It is raining, it is muddy, the track is sloppy but it would have been a pity to have had to run it again.
“You just had to be sensible.
“In my last ride I got out of the start so it was nice and clean for me. Even then I was pulling away tear-offs so that shows how bad it was.
“We got the job done, everyone has gone home safe and sound.”
After the meeting at a press conference in front of a packed audience in the clubhouse, Eastbourne confirmed two riders for 2020 – Lewi Kerr and Kyle Newman.
Club director Ian Jordan said both riders would return, subject to the agreement of their parent club and the league structure being the same as this season . . . so that we are in a different league to their parent club.
He added: “We will certainly be looking to have Jason Edwards back in the team next season and Jason has indicated he is more than happy to return.”
The Kevin Ling Meeting Report:
Eastbourne ‘Fineprint’ Eagles brought the curtain down on their 2019 season at a rain soaked Arlington stadium on Saturday night.
The match was curtailed at heat ten due to increasing and worsening weather conditions with the Sussex side leading the Birmingham Brummies 37-23 but fortunately that is the point in the programme when a match is able to be called and so the result is allowed to stand.
With the contest having minimal bearing on the League table it was more a case of concluding matters and drawing a line under Eagles, and for that matter the Brummies, first season back at Championship level.
In spite of their league position not being as high as they might usually expect, with an appearance in the Championship Shield Final and an impressive Knockout Cup run to reflect upon, the common accord from the substantial number of, slightly bedraggled Eastbourne fans who packed into the Arlington clubhouse to hear the riders end of season speeches was overwhelmingly what a successful and wholly enjoyable it had been for the Sussex side.
With the impending weather heading from the west the fervent hope was to get the match done and dusted before it arrived. With rain starting to fall as the riders lined up for the parade it seemed that such hopes might possibly be in vain.
Riders from both sides, also the hard working track staff and match referee Dave Robinson should therefore be congratulated for their efforts and commitment to bring to the contest a conclusion despite a couple of moments along the way when it appeared that might be less than possible.
Georgie Wood made a triumphant return to action with three wins and a double figure tally and skipper Edward Kennett also rode unbeaten by an opponent. For the visitors, Jason Garrity finished top of the shop with 7-points from his three outings while former Eagle Adam Ellis and Paco Castagna, together with Garrity each contributed one of the Brummies three race wins.
Throughout the order of both teams, from the highest to the lowest there was no lack of effort, no drama’s no histrionics, just a determination to get things done which should be applauded.
The Eagles put their best foot forwarded in heat one, Kennett and Wood setting them on course for victory with maximum points. Kennett headed into an early lead over Ellis and then as the Birmingham number one went wide on bend two this allowed Wood to sweep through on his inside. That looked set to be the final order as the race progressed but the final bend saw the Eagles Captain throttle back to allow his partner through for the win on the line (winning time 61.0).
Jason Edwards was fastest from the start in the second heat and once away his win seldom looked in doubt. Behind him Tom Perry lead the chasing pack from team mate Nick Agertoft. Although Eastbourne guest Connor Coles did dispute third place with the latter, he lost out after locking up on the final lap and with that the race remained shared (winning time 64.2).
A wholly impressive heat three, considering the conditions, followed with Lewi Kerr and Kyle Newman gating and subsequently team riding to keep the chasing Tero Aarnio at bay. A second 5-1 to the Sussex side saw their lead increase to 13-5 (winning time 62.9).
Garrity helped arrest the slide for the visitors in heat four, first gating alongside Nick Morris (guest replacement for the absent Richard Lawson) and then easing clear for the win. With Perry getting the better of Coles for third place, this saw the Brummies enjoy their first heat advantage, a 4-2 which saw the margin narrow to 6-points, 15-9 progressively(winning time 60.8).
Ellis continued that momentum for the visitors as he gated to outpace both Newman and Kerr, his winning time of 59.8 proving the one time on the night that the 1 minute barrier would be broken.
With the scores now standing at 18-12, Eagles eased ahead once more in heat six, Kennett producing a fine gate to get the better of Garrity. Wood was never far away but he couldn’t quite match the pace of the Birmingham heat leader but nevertheless a 4-2 saw them reinstate the 8-point difference, one that now stood at 22-14 (winning time 60.2).
The Brummies were still not done however and immediately countered that with a 4-2 of their own, this time Castagna being the one to see off the challenge of Morris while Aarnio made a late charge to get up the inside of Coles and deny the Eagles stand in reserve the third place point (winning time 64.2).
The nip and tuck nature of the contest continued as Wood secured his second win of the night in race eight ahead of Tobias Thomsen. Edwards looked locked on for third place having past Perry and a 4-2 to the hosts looked in prospect.
Perry continued to give chase and possibly trying to hard he slid off on the third bend of lap three parting company with his machine. To his great credit he was soon up allowing the race to conclude and with that the score line moved to 28-20, the winning time proving 62.3.
Newman was well on the pace again in the next leaving Garrity trailing. The visiting rider certainly had some valid input however, having forged a way past Kerr to take second, a fine move all being considered and the fast deteriorating weather conditions (winning time 62.4).
By now it was more than evident that the match would be unlikely to run its full course however with heat ten looming the riders needed to complete only four more laps for it to be possible for a result to be called.
This was extended slightly as Aarnio fell on the second circuit and stayed down with Eastbourne holding the 5-1 at the time. A rerun was swiftly called with the exclusion of the Finn and this time Kennett and Wood gated again to leave Castagna playing catch up.
This time the four laps was completed, the only change to the order occurring as Kennett locked up on the third bend of lap three, Wood riding past to wrest his third win of the night and take his tally to double figures (winning time 66.3).
The riders were clearly enjoying themselves to some degree as all three pulled wheelies on the final lap back straight but common sense prevailed with the match being called by referee Robinson as they crossed the line and the 37-23 score line being allowed to stand.
Eagles: Georgie Wood 10(4), Edward Kennett 7+2(3), Kyle Newman 6+2(3), Lewis Kerr 6(3), Nick Morris (Guest for Richard Lawson) 4(2), Jason Edwards 4(3), Connor Coles (Guest for Alfie Bowtell) 0(3). – 37
Brummies: Jason Garrity 7(3), Adam Ellis 4(2), Paco Castagna 4(3), Tom Perry 2+1(3), Tero Aarnio 2(3), Nick Agertoft 2(3), Tobias Thomsen 2(3). – 23
Abandoned after Heat 10 – Rain – RESULT STANDS
Images: Mike Hinves & Tiffani Graveling Photography