Eastbourne HG Aerospace Eagles have responded positively to the news that club asset Tom Brennan and loanee Drew Kemp have signed deals for 2021 with Polish Division 1 Clubs Orzel Lodz and Zdunek Wybrzeze Gdansk, respectively.
The Eagles management team have adopted an all-British rider stance since returning to the Championship in 2019.
They see young rider development as a key part of their strategy and intend to rebuild a strong asset base in future years.
It is hoped the famous Arlington training and practice schools will resume in 2021 with some leading riders and coaches lined up to hold specialist sessions involving both track time and bike preparation as part of an academy concept.
Club director Ian Jordan explained how he views the news of the Polish deals for Tom and Drew, who is an Ipswich asset, as an endorsement of the steady progress that the club is showing.
“I was delighted to get calls from Tom and Drew to tell me about their potential deals and to check to see how it may impact on Eastbourne and their and our short, medium and long-term prospects,” Jordan said.
“We are determined to be a club that seeks to help and develop young British riders and to give opportunity to British riders in general, and as we have said to all of our riders since day one, it is as much for us to match and grow with their ambition, as it is for them to meet ours, indeed it is very important for us to remain progressive and upwardly mobile.”
Jordan said Eastbourne was a Saturday Track, with occasional Sundays; and that may not be an ideal fit with the Polish league but was “nothing that can’t be worked around”.
He said: “It’s true that where there’s a will, there’s a way. We have some excellent people involved with the club like Trevor Geer and Mike Hinves who have great expertise from the Elite days in getting riders from the track to places like Gatwick, Heathrow and Stanstead after a Saturday night fixture, so they are able to get to Poland without issues for Sunday fixtures.
“We will definitely work with Tom and Drew in every way we can and watch their development with great pride, and provide any logistical support and encouragement that we can.
“There will come a time when they will move onwards and upwards in their Speedway careers in the UK and Europe, with the Club reluctant to contemplate a return to the Elite Division of the Sport whilst the current fixed Monday and Thursday race nights apply, as midweek Speedway at Arlington is not financially viable with lower Crowds than at weekends and logistical issues
“However, something I learned in business is that if you look after young talent as it progresses they will never forget that; and also that it’s important to build a conveyor belt of talent for such circumstances.
“We added Nathan Ablitt to our asset list a few months ago, and are very excited about Nathan and also the potential of Vinnie Joe Foord who turns 15 next summer.
“The challenge and opportunity to those lads, and any others who may want to join us, is to follow Tom and Drew and also Jason Edwards, who we think has an outstanding future ahead of him, on the conveyor belt and the ladder to opportunity and success on a Global stage.
“I’ll be delighted to receive similar calls from Jason, Nathan and Vinnie in due course.”
Jordan said it was very important to recognise the “fantastic support” that Eastbourne’s young riders get from the more experienced riders.
“In Lewi Kerr, Edward Kennett, Richard Lawson and Kyle Newman we have both great experience and also fantastic mentors and role models, ever willing to pass on wise words and support.
“We’re really looking forwards to 2021, thankfully due to Spedeworth and the stadium owners we have a Covid 19 compliant stadium already staging Stock Car fixtures, and we hope to start around Easter 2021 and are very grateful for all the work that the BSPL are doing to try to facilitate this,” Jordan said.
Image Credits: Mike Hinves