Eastbourne Speedway have made a team change and brought in Nathan Ablitt in place of Jason Edwards.
Ablitt, from Hailsham, has turned in some impressive performances for the club’s second team, the Seagulls, this season.
He is in the team at reserve to face Plymouth at Arlington Stadium on Saturday (July 31).
The Eagles also welcome back Kyle Newman from injury and Tom Brennan, who missed last week’s home match because he was in action for Great Britain.
Another Seagull to be given a chance on Saturday is the popular Jake Knight, who stands in for Drew Kemp, who is riding in Poland.
Both Tom and Drew have also been selected to represent Team GB in the European Under 23 Team Final in Germany on Sunday.
The club are especially indebted to Tom, who has arranged transportation to Germany immediately after the Eagles match v Plymouth so that he can ride for the Eagles.
Team manager Trevor Geer explained the reason for bringing in Ablitt.
He said: “We very much see Jason as a long-term work in progress and a vital part of our future.
“Through no fault of Jason’s, the NDL season at Mildenhall started late and it’s very frustrating that what matches they have had have clashed with Eastbourne fixtures, some of them rearranged.
“We can see that Jason is giving 100% as always but really needs to rebuild shattered confidence.
“We have discussed with Jason that the best way to do this is to have a break and focus on the NDL for a few months.
“Nathan on the other hand has confidence from some NDL action and will come in to replace Jason.”
Geer believes Ablitt, who is now the Eagles Rising Star, has a great future in the sport.
He said: “We have seen him riding since he was a little kid at Arlington and I believe he has one hell of a future.
“We put him in at Scunthorpe and he wasn’t afraid of who he was racing and was on the pace.
I think he could follow in the tyre tracks of Tom Brennan, as a top Rising Star.
Plymouth have former Eastbourne No 1 from the club’s Elite League days, Bjarne Pedersen, in their team but Jason Crump, the joint Arlington track record holder, is not fit to race.
Mark Phillips, the Plymouth promoter, said: “We were hopeful last weekend that Jason Crump may be fit enough to ride in this week’s fixtures including the match at Eastbourne on Saturday, July 31.
“We have monitored his progress carefully and on a daily basis.
“We waited until Monday evening before deciding on Richard Lawson as a guest for our match on Tuesday night against Leicester Lions.
“Following further medical assessment, it became clear yesterday that Jason is still a few weeks away from being fit enough to return.
“We will reluctantly therefore have to continue with a guest at No 1 until Jason is fit to race.”
The Eastbourne management were pleased that last week’s meeting against Scunthorpe saw spectators being able to move freely around the stadium and without masks.
Geer added: “This felt like Speedway should be and I hope fans will return now the restrictions are largely wiped away and take the opportunity to introduce friends to power of Speedway.”
Tapes-up for the match against Plymouth will be at 7.30pm. There is no National Development League match.
Club director Ian Jordan explained: “We have been instructed by the Stadium Owners that they prefer us not to have any further double headers, following some adverse reaction after recent MSDL and NDL fixtures that were admittedly elongated.
“We have an excellent working relationship with the Owners and wish to maintain this, so we will be rearranging the outstanding NDL and MSDL Fixtures in due course and will keep everyone updated via the club website and social media.
“We are committed to completing both the NDL and MSDL Fixtures for 2021.”
To purchase advance tickets for the Gladiators meeting (which includes a saving against paying on the gate) click on the image below.
Eastbourne: Richard Lawson, Kyle Newman, Edward Kennett, Tom Brennan, Lewi Kerr, Jake Knight, Nathan Ablitt.
Plymouth: Guest for Jason Crump tba, Dillon Ruml, Zach Cook, Zane Keleher, Bjarne Pedersen, Alfie Bowtell, Jack Smith.
Image Credits Hayley Bromley & Mike Hinves