Eagles 54 Devils 36

Mission accomplished  . . . two matches in two days against Plymouth and seven league points in the Eastbourne Forman IT Eagles locker.

Team manager Connor Dugard set his team the target of maximum points against the Westcountry outfit and the riders delivered.

After a stunning win at the St Boniface Arena last night (April 10), Eastbourne handed out more of the same medicine tonight at Arlington Stadium.

All the Eagles scored well, while Plymouth’s scoring was built on 16 points for guest Ben Morley (in for the injured Ellis Perks) and ten from the former Eagle, Richie Andrews.

Eastbourne new boy Ethan Spiller won his debut Arlington race, having had a practice session earlier in the day while 15-year-old Jason Edwards was given an outing in the nominated riders’ race by team manager Dugard.

Edwards, who rides at No 2, completed his programmed rides in heat ten and had to wait for four more races to be completed before being asked to go out in the final heat.

“I saw the pictures last night of the track while I was at Plymouth and it was under water. But it was all right tonight and it went really well,” he said.

“Heat 15 is always hard because you have a rush of races and then you get to heat ten and you are done.

“I had four heats sitting round waiting and then Georgie [Wood] had a big locker [in heat 13] and Connor said ‘do you want to go out’.

“I jumped on it and made a good start. It is a good learning experience in heat 15 because you are always against the better riders which is a good thing.

“When you ride against better riders you find yourself dragged along by them and you pick up little things so it was really good being in heat 15.”

Spiller, who won his opening ride last night at Plymouth, was happy with his initial two matches.

He said: “I have enjoyed it very much. I have great people backing me up, obviously Connor Dugard and Martin. Without people like that it would not even be possible for me to be here.

“I found it a bit difficult at the beginning because the track is a bit different to what I am used to.

“I would have liked to have scored more points today but I am happy to be here.

“The tracks are smaller and more challenging and I believe at this stage of my career, that’s what I need.

“As the tracks in England are a lot smaller you get a lot of first-bend bunching so that is good. It will ‘harden me up’.

“I believe my gating has generally been good but sometimes people are just quicker and people have ridden tracks like this for virtually their whole life and I am pretty new to it.

“I am pretty happy that I can beat some people, although I have little experience on these tracks.

EASTBOURNE 54: Danny Ayres 11, Mark Baseby 11, Jason Edwards 9+4, Georgie Wood 9, Ethan Spiller 6+1, Charley Powell 4+1, Charlie Brooks 4+1.

PLYMOUTH 36: Ben Morley 16, Richard Andrews 10+1, Kelsey Dugard 5, Ryan Terry-Daley 4+1, Alex Spooner 1+1, Adam Sheppard 0, Henry Atkins r/r.

*Before the start of the meeting there was 30 seconds of silence in memory of Bob Dugard, followed by 30 seconds of applause. Riders, mechanics, track staff and officials stood on the centre green in front of the main grandstand. 

*Eagles’ No 1 Tom Brennan scored seven points in the U-19 European Final in Finland this afternoon (August 11). He recorded one win in his seven points. 

A crash while leading in his final race put him out of the running. Tom was uninjured.

He was the only British rider to qualify for the final.

Here’s the Kevin Ling verdict on last night’s match.

All of Eastbourne Speedway paid tribute to Bob Dugard at Arlington Stadium on Saturday evening.

A meticulously observed silence paid homage to the man who had proved the club’s heart and soul for so many years and this was followed by rich applause in celebration of all his achievements.

In many ways it was a sad night for the club but on track the mood was lifted as the Eastbourne ‘Forman IT’ Eagles boosted their hopes of a National League Play Off spot with a comprehensive 54-36 victory over the Plymouth Devils.

The Sussex side had triumphed by a 20-point margin at the St Boniface Arena the previous evening and back on familiar shale another victory over the Devonian outfit ensured a full house of seven league points from the two matches to aid their cause.

For the visitors Ben Morley stepped in as a guest replacement for Ellis Perks who unfortunately aggravated a shoulder in a first race fall on Friday.

Morley contributed 16-points and former Eagle Richard Andrews also tallied double figures, scoring an impressive 10 paid 11 to keep the Eagles on their toes.

The hosts were not to be denied however as they continued to pile up the points in workmanlike fashion to carve out the victory.

It was Morley who drew first blood for the visitors with a heat one victory over Eastbourne’s own guest Danny Ayres to share the spoils.

Back to back 4-2s in races two and three, new recruit Ethan Spiller romping home in his first Arlington outing setting them on course for the win.

Heat four witnessed the first of a trio of runaway victories for the fast starting Georgie Wood and with Charlie Brooks following him home ahead of former team mate Kelsey Dugard; Eagles were already 16-8 to the good.

Eastbourne Captain Mark Baseby rode a fine race to lower Morley’s colours in heat five and then Ayres and Jason Edwards combined for maximum points in the sixth to realise a 24-12 lead for the home side, keeping them on course for victory.

Wood headed home the lively Andrews in race seven and with Spiller following in third it offered another 4-2.

A further 4-2 swiftly followed as Edwards got the better of Ryan Terry-Daley in heat eight with Charlie Brooks claiming the odd point, 16-points the margin now separating the two sides.

Morley gained revenge over Baseby for his earlier defeat in the ninth but with Charley Powell keeping Dugard at bay the race points remained shared.

The Eagles strengthened their hold on the match further as Ayres and Edwards claimed a second 5-1, this one coming at the expense of Andrews.

Then another win for Wood, handing Morley his second reverse of the meeting gave rise to another 4-2, Spiller securing the third place point thus seeing Eastbourne hit the 44-point mark, the Devils back on 22

The match points now in the bag the Eagles, it was still no cause to let up on the pressure.

Baseby was an all the way winner of race twelve, however the Devils followers did have a moment to celebrate in race thirteen as the match moved towards a conclusion.

Wood was lining another devastating outside move out of bend two but got caught up and quickly ground to a halt on the next bend. 

This left Ayres in pursuit of Morley but he too hit difficulties in the latter part suffering a fourth bend fall thus gifting the Devils a 5-1 heat advantage, their one and only of the meeting.

Andrews continued the momentum for the Devils with another hard won victory in the penultimate race. 

The race of the night was unfolding as Andrews and Spiller duelled with each other, this being brought to a premature halt as Adam Sheppard took a tumble to necessitate the stoppage.

Although on the final lap the referee decided, rightly so, that the race couldn’t be awarded as a rerun was duly ordered.

This time Andrews nipped sharply from the start and was seldom troubled as he took the chequered flag.

Morley then made it three Plymouth race wins in a row against Ayres and Edwards to complete a successful night for him.

The result remained a 3-3 however realising a satisfying 54-36 scoreline in favour of the home side, the triumphant Eagles.       


Eagles: Mark Baseby 11(4), Danny Ayres (Guest for Tom Brennan) 11(5), Jason Edwards 9+4(5). Georgie Wood 9(4), Ethan Spiller 6+1(4), Charlie Brooks 4+1(4), Charley Powell 4+1(4). – 54

Devils: Ben Morley (Guest for Ellis Perks) 16(6), Richard Andrews 10+1(5), Kelsey Dugard 5(6), Ryan Terry-Daley 4+1(5), Alex Spooner (Guest for Tim Webster) 1(4), Adam Sheppard (Guest for Macauley Leek) 0(4), Rider Replacement for Henry Atkins. – 36