TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE
EASTBOURNE 67: Georgie Wood 17+1, Tom Brennan 17+1, Jason Edwards 12+1, Ethan Spiller 8+1, Kelsey Dugard 7+1, Charlie Brooks 6+2, Mark Baseby r/r.
STOKE 23: David Wallinger 10, Max Clegg 6, Danno Verge 5, Paul Burnett 2, Adam Extance 0, Arran Butcher 2, Rob Shuttleworth r/r.
EASTBOURNE 57: Georgie Wood 15, Jason Edwards 10+3, Ethan Spiller 10+3, Charlie Brooks 9+5, Tom Brennan 9, Kelsey Dugard 4, Mark Baseby r/r.
ISLE OF WIGHT 33: Nathan Stoneman 13, Max Clegg 12+2, Scott Campos 3, Jamie Bursill 2, Danno Verge 1, Chris Widman 1, Shaun Tedham 1.
Sixteen-year-old Eastbourne reserve Charlie Brooks was the surprise packet for the Forman IT Eagles as they slammed into Stoke and then the Isle of Wight at Arlington tonight (September 15).
The pint-sized East Anglian youngster scored paid eight points in the first meeting against Stoke and then hit top gear against the Isle of Wight.
His score of paid 14 was his best yet for the Eagles.
Brooks, who has considerable experience on grass, only began his speedway career this season and readily admits this is the first year of his speedway “apprenticeship”.
He said: “The whole year has been a learning curve and paid 14 at the end of the night with five bonus points.
“Speedway is all about the team.
“I have been slowly improving and finding the right gearing and set-ups.”
Brooks admitted he still needs to improve the way he rides the Hailsham bend (turns 3 and 4 at Arlington) where he sometimes leaves supporters with their hearts in their mouths as he seems to head towards the safety fence.
“Once I get the hang of that bottom corner, I think I can put a whole race together.
“Early on in the meeting it can be a bit tricky round turn four but once it sickens out, it is not so bad.”
Brooks, in his early days as an Eagle, was often last away from the starts but there has been a noticeable improvement in recent weeks.
“There has been a huge improvement, thanks to Georgie Wood. He came out with me on track and showed me what I should be doing when you come up to the start line.
“His advice has definitely helped.”
Brooks said he had not made major changes to his bike.
“I have slightly different clutch plates but otherwise it is exactly the same.
“The advice [from Wood] about how to sit on the bike, the right amount of revs – that’s what gives you the push out of the start,” he said.
Team manager Connor Dugard said: “Charlie was incredible. Now that he is gating as well, I don’t think many reserves will touch him round here.
“If we can carry that forward away from home, for example round Mildenhall, I think he can beat [Matt] Marson and [Sam Bebee.”
He said that all along he expected his team would net six league points, as long as there were no disasters.
“It is still very frustrating that we couldn’t even get a point at Stoke and Buxton last weekend because of the rain-offs. We only needed one and we would have been pretty much confirmed in the Play Offs by now.”
Here is the Kevin Ling verdict on last night’s action
With National League points crucial to their hopes of Play Off progression, the Eastbourne ‘Forman IT’ Eagles bolstered their chances with not just one but two victories on Saturday evening.
The Sussex side moved into second place in the table thanks to a landslide 67-23 win over the Stoke Potters, this immediately followed with a second, dominant 57-33 win over the Isle of Wight Warriors.
Both Georgie Wood and Tom Brennan remained unbeaten by an opponent in the first encounter, each amassing 17-points (paid 18).
Men on a mission
Despite missing the talents of both Captain Mark Baseby and Charley Powell, the Eagles were very much ‘Men on a mission’ as they launched into action.
They tore through the Stoke Potters defences opening with three consecutive 5-1s and registering no fewer than four in the first six races as they quickly opened a 28-8 advantage.
Even former National League Riders’ Champion Max Clegg seemed strangely subdued as the Eagles ran rampant.
Wood took early wins in both heats one and three sharing 5-1s with Eagles guest and former son Kelsey Dugard and Jason Edwards respectively.
In between time, reserve duo Ethan Spiller and Charlie Brooks began their night with a maximum win of their own.
Brennan secured a commanding win over Clegg in the fourth, with Brooks taking third place before the impressive Edwards / Spiller combo added a further 5-1 at the expense of Potters own guest Danno Verge in race five.
Wood continued to reign supreme as he too lowered Clegg’s colour’s in heat six, Dugard picking up the odd point and the 4-2 as the home lead hit 20-points.
Brennan made it two wins out of two in the seventh but David Wallinger, the Potters main contributor on the night, made his presence felt, leading home Spiller.
As Dugard and Brooks added the Sussex outfit’s fifth 5-1 in heat eight however the score line moved to 37-11 and the Eastbourne victory was all but assured.
Even then the hosts didn’t let up the pace; running down the clock with five further 4-2s and a brace of 5-1s meaning that they had recorded an advantage in every race.
Brennan enjoyed a second victory over Clegg in the ninth, and Wood a third as the Stoke Captain took a rider replacement outing in heat ten.
The latter match up proved something of a no contest however as once Wood breezed past Clegg down the back straight, the Potters riders’ machine swiftly gave up the ghost and he ground to a halt.
50-point barrier broken
Verge withstood a last ditch effort by Spiller in race eleven but he could not get close to Brennan as a further home 4-2 saw the scores move to 49-17.
Edwards got the better of Wallinger in the twelfth with Brooks following on as Eastbourne smashed through the 50-point barrier.
Brennan and Wood combined to inflict further misery on the beleaguered Potters and Clegg in particular as a sixth 5-1 for the hosts then saw the score line shift to a mammoth 58-20.
Edwards wrapped up another wholly impressive paid 13-point performance with a win over the hard working Wallinger in the penultimate race, Spiller’s third place point being sufficient to ease the Eagles past 6-points, the scores now 62-22.
It came as little surprise that Wood and Brennan each completed paid maximum hauls in the last and that was the finishing order as they put both Wallinger and Verge to the sword.
The final score rested at 67-23 but the Eagles knew that the job was only half done with the Isle of Wight Warriors waiting to take their shot.
Eagles: Tom Brennan 17+1(6), Georgie Wood 17+1(6), Jason Edwards 12+1(5). Ethan Spiller 8+1(5), Kelsey Dugard (Guest for Charley Powell) 7+1(4), Charlie Brooks 6+2(4), Rider Replacement for Mark Baseby, Rhys Laker (No. 8) Did not ride. – 67
Potters: David Wallinger 10(6), Max Clegg 6(5), Danno Verge (Guest for Tony Atkin) 5(5), Paul Burnett 2(5), Adam Extance 0(4), Arran Butcher 0(5), Rider Replacement for Rob Shuttleworth. – 23
EASTBOURNE EAGLES 57 – ISLE OF WIGHT WARRIORS 33
The Eagles certainly had their winning head on, but they were brought quickly to heel as the Warriors made an immediate impact in the first race of the second encounter.
Despite his earlier showing, Clegg seemed infinitely more dialled in as he assumed guest duties on behalf of Alfie Bowtell.
A fine gate saw him inflict Wood’s first defeat of the evening and the Warriors took a 4-2 from the rerun heat one after Dugard was ruled out following a fall.
Spiller and Brooks swiftly restored order with a 5-1 for the Sussex side, Jamie Bursill and Shaun Tedham proving their unwitting victims.
Indeed it would prove reserve strength that was very much the telling factor against the Warriors, Spiller and Brooks between them contributing a total of 19-points (paid for 27), impressive stuff indeed from the two young lads.
Wood and Edwards combined to give Eagles breathing space, a second successive 5-1 over Scott Campos to extend the home lead to 6-points, 12-6.
Kent’s Nathan Stoneman took up guest duties in place of Ben Morley and he too turned in a great shift for his former club as the Warriors proved far more imposing opposition than their unfortunate predecessors had.
Stoneman proved the first visitor to lead home Brennan on the night and he did so in impressive style.
Brooks followed on in third for a share of the spoils and incidentally this would prove his only defeat by a Warriors rider.
Clegg continued to look a far different prospect the second time around. He found a way past Spiller in the early part to head both he and Edwards to the chequered flag, the second 3-3 in succession, realising a progressive 18-12 score line.
Wood managed to see off the challenge of Stoneman as Eastbourne took a 4-2 from heat six and they continued to ramp up the pressure on their opponents with back to back 5-1’s in both seven and eight.
Brennan and Spiller shared maximum points in the first of these ahead of Campos as did Dugard and Brooks immediately after as the scores moved to 32-16.
Took a tumble
There were concerns for Verge in the latter race however as he took a tumble but although he was withdrawn from his final ride hopes remained prevalent that he hadn’t suffered any undue injury.
Stoneman romped to a second impressive win over Brennan in the ninth for a split of the points, however Eastbourne edged ever nearer to their six-point goal for the evening as Wood and Brooks paired up for yet another 5-1 in heat ten.
This result saw the scores hit 40-20 with the Eagles currently doubling the tally of their opponents.
Clegg made it three wins out of three with a fine last bend burst to deny Brennan in race eleven though Spiller was on hand to secure third place thus safeguarding the home 20-point advantage.
Edwards and Brooks combined for maximum points in heat twelve, Campos also suffering a fall (with thankfully no ill effects), but this was immediately reciprocated as Stoneman and Clegg paired up for the visitors in the next.
Heat thirteen saw both Stoneman and Clegg gate and go, leaving both Wood and Brennan unable to land a blow.
The maximum win, Warriors second heat advantage returned the difference to 20-points, 49-29 progressively but Eagles were now home and hosed with the league points already in the bag.
The home advantage was again accentuated in the penultimate race, the impressive and youthful Edwards / Spiller combo securing a 5-1 to go through the 50-point marker.
Forced his way to the front
Though Stoneman and Clegg might have hoped for a second maximum to round off their night, Wood was having none of it.
The Eagles number one forced his way to the front of the field and that was where he stayed, the concluding 3-3 seeing the match finish 57-33.
The Eagles could well be satisfied with their nights work; however they know that Play Off progression still depends largely on what other teams do so they must play the waiting game to see how other results play out.
Eagles: Georgie Wood 15(6), Ethan Spiller 10+3(5), Jason Edwards 10+3(6). Charlie Brooks 9+5(5), Tom Brennan 9(5), Kelsey Dugard (Guest for Charley Powell) 4(3), Rider Replacement for Mark Baseby, Rhys Laker (No. 8) Did not ride. – 57
Warriors: Nathan Stoneman (Guest for Ben Morley) 13(5), Max Clegg (Guest for Alfie Bowtell) 12+2(5), Scott Campos 3(4), Jamie Bursill 2(4), Danno Verge 1(3), Chris Widman 1(4), Shaun Tedham 1(5). – 33