Eastbourne are safely through to the next round of the Championship KO Cup.
They lost at Kent speedway tonight 49-40 but go through 98-81 on aggregate.
The HG Aerospace Eagles did the hard work in the first leg when they established a 26-point lead which was never threatened, especially as the visitors took a 5-1 in the opening race.
The Eagles were well satisfied with the overall result.
No 1 Richard Lawson was unbeaten by an opponent in four rides.
Team manager Trevor Geer said: “We are through to the next round and that’s the main thing. The boys all put a good show.
“Kyle Newman aggravated his shoulder when he fell so I withdrew him from his last one when we had it in the bag.
Geer explained the selection of Lewi Kerr and Tom Brennan to ride in heat 15 when the more obvious choices were Richard Lawson and Edward Kennett.
He said: Both Lewi [Kerr] and Tom [Brennan] both wanted to do it. They don’t get any chance to test things out.
“Lewi is sorting things out and getting his head back together again and we need that.
“Anyway, we are saving the wins for when we come here in the league.
“Edward and Richard would have done it but were happy to let the other two do it as they were so keen.
“It was good to see Edward Kennett back on form tonight. He looked really good. He seemed to get his confidence back tonight and was attacking it.”
Kent Kings: Scott Nicholls 10+1 (5), rider replacement for Tom Bacon, Paul Starke 7+1 (4), Paul Hurry 5+1 (5), Kyle Howarth 11+2 (5), Ben Morley 5+1 (5), Dan Gilkes 11+ 1 (6)
Eastbourne Eagles: Richard Lawson 11+1 (4), Kyle Newman 6+2 (3), Edward Kennett 9 +1 (4), Tom Brennan 5 (5), Lewi Kerr 4 (5), Jason Edwards 2 (4), Drew Kemp 3 (5).
Here’s how Kevin Ling saw the match unfold.
Ht 1: Eagles from the off – 26-points lead quickly becomes 31 as Kyle Newman leads from gate to flag closely followed by Richard Lawson who fends off every attempt by Scott Nicholls to pass – 1-5, 57.4
Ht 2: Kent strike back with a 4-2. Ben Morley clearly with a point to prove takes a fine win from Jason Edwards who also should be applauded for his beating of Dan Gilkes. Drew Kemp was strangely subdued at the rear of the field but let’s hope than he can yet show some of the dash he did for Redcar here last week, 4-2, 5-7, 59.5
Ht 3: A second successive 4-2 for the Kings as Paul Starke continues his impressive run of form at Central Park. The hosts held the 5-1 in the early part with Hurry in second. The fourth bend saw Tom Brennan take a tumble. Edward Kennett took Hurry into first turn, seemingly as if the red lights had come on – but they hadn’t . The pair continued the battle as Tom remounted with Edward getting the better of Hurry – 4-2, 9-9, 58.4
Ht 4: Well, what is going on? Maximum points to the Kings. Lewi Kerr seeming to lose control courtesy of a tight first turn leaving Kyle Howarth to lead home from Gilkes who comfortably contained Drew in third. Lewi gave chase but he was too far adrift; 5-1, 14-10, 57.6
Ht 5: Race stopped with the Eagles holding a 5-1. Richard leading Kyle with Starke and Hurry giving chase. As the riders reached the third turn, Hurry seemed to ride straight through Kyle, earning himself an exclusion
Re-run: At the second time of asking, Starke gates and looks to have the race in the bag. Just as I was thinking, ‘isn’t that the way of things’, Starke suffers an engine failure heading into the final lap leaving Richard, followed by Kyle grateful to accept the gift 5-1. Starke pushes home for the point and bows to the crowd which was well received – 1-5, 15-15, 60.0 – the announcer had to mention it as the slowest so far.
Ht 6: Kings back in front through an impressive and comfortable win for Gilkes. No doubt he would have been shepherded home by Nicholls but it was hardly needed as Lewi in third did not really make an impact this time with Jason following on; 5-1, 20-16, 57.6
Ht 7: Howarth is certainly doing the job of the heat leader Kent are currently seeking. He leads throughout from Tom with Edward seeing off the attentions of Morley for third place; 3-3, 23-19, 55-77, 57.6
Ht 8: Morley suffers a fall on the second bend unaided and is excluded. Kyle was leading Gilkes down the back straight at the time.
Re-run: The second running is all a bit messy. Gilkes and Kemp seem to get caught up heading into first turn but the race continues. Then Kyle seems to suffer issues of his own entering bend three leaving him well adrift of the leading two. Gilkes leading kemp comfortably to the end; 3-3, 26-22, 58.7
Ht 9: Lewi joins the party – he makes the gate and wins at a canter from Starke. Hurry gives Jason a nudge on the first turn and with that the 3-3 is pretty much signed sealed delivered; 3-3, 29-25, 57.5
Ht 10: Tom excluded. Nicholls leads and a fine race developing for second between Tom and Gilkes. Tom on the inside Dan on the outside, little room between them on the first bend of lap two and the way I saw it in the act of turning Tom clips Gilkes and brings him down. I’m no expert but that’s how I saw it. Gilkes up and okay – track grading taking place while he collects himself before rerun.
Re-run: Great race by Edward – the Kennett of old jousting with and seeing off Nicholls in a classic race. Unfortunately, it didn’t reach a natural conclusion as Gilkes fell on the final bend of lap three. Race stopped and awarded 2-3 31-28 no time
Ht 11: Richard leads all the way, handing a first defeat for Howarth. Morley ensures a share of the spoils, however, as he sees off the challenge of Kemp; 3-3, 34-31, 57.7
Ht 12: Wherever Edward has been, he is certainly is back as he cuts between Gilkes and Starke like a knife through butter. A great effort from him. Jason never gave up the chase but couldn’t gain the ground; 3-3, 37-34, 58.4
Ht 13: Another strange one. Scott Nicholls gets himself into difficulties in the run up to the first turn and falls. The red lights do not go on and race continues but race stopped as riders hit third turn with Nicholls still down. And the verdict was an unsatisfactory start with all four back for the re-run.
Re-run: A great race and one that slipped from Eagles’ grasp – Richard holds on for the win but firstly Nicholls and then on the final lap Howarth come past to deny Lewi; 3-3, 40-37, 58.1
Ht 14: With Under-21 first and second, Tom and Drew, squaring up alongside Hurry and Morley, the Eagles might have hoped to take an advantage that would lead to a last heat decider. Tonight, it was not to be as Hurry secures what I imagine is his first win since returning to this level of the sport and good luck to him. He leads from gate to flag, well ahead of Tom with Morley similarly leading home Drew who sadly finished some way adrift. A 4-2 to the Kings, they win the meeting with one race left to run, 44-39, 59.1. Of course, we are safely into the next round on aggregate.
Ht 15: The Kings finish with a flourish of a 5-1 from Nicholls and Howarth with Brennan and Kerr following on. Given what had gone before I might have anticipated Richard and Edward lining up for us – whether it would have made a difference, we’ll never know; 5-1, 49-40, 58.5
Image credit: Mike Hinves