Eastbourne business and commercial director, Ian Jordan, sat down with Paul Watson to answer key questions about what is happening at the club following the injury to Tom Brennan and yesterday’s (May 23rd) news about his condition.
Q Paul Watson (PW): We were all very shocked and upset when we read the news of how seriously Tom Brennan was injured in last weekend’s crash. How can fans best show their sympathy and affection for him?
A Ian Jordan (IJ): It has been an awful few days to be honest and we hope Tom can soon be on the mend.
There will be a bucket collection for Tom at Saturday’s meeting against Berwick to support him financially in the long hard days of recuperation that he faces. We will also arrange for the wider speedway community to be able to make donations by setting up some kind of “funding page” after the Bank Holiday weekend.
We will also have a number of “Get Well Cards” for supporters to sign on Saturday. If you want to bring your own and hand them in to The Community Team at designated points on Saturday night, we will be happy to pass them on to Tom’s family.
PW: Eastbourne have brought in Kyle Newman. What was the process and thinking behind that decision?
IJ: The accident coincided with the club finishing their first four home and away matches and for new averages to come in to place. This will come in to effect prior to the home meeting against Berwick on Saturday.
Tom’s excellent form has seen his average rise from an assessed 2.00 to an average of 6.05, the highest of any rider starting the season on an assessed average of 2.00.
The Eagles’ management team of Jon Cook, Trevor Geer, Will Pottinger, Mike Bellerby and myself have deliberated long and hard about the options available to cover Tom’s absence, as “the show must go on” and we must seek to get back in to the winning habit.
We also have big matches to look forwards to in The Championship Shield semi-final and also hopefully the Knock Out Cup where we hold a 25-point lead over Birmingham Brummies, with a rearranged second leg tie to ride at Perry Barr on Wednesday next week (May 29).
PW: Why was Kyle chosen?
IJ: Having scoured the talent pool of suitable riders available, the Eastbourne Fineprint Eagles have, as already announced, approached and agreed terms with Kyle to join in the second string area of the team on an average of 5.71 points.
Kyle scored eight points for Birmingham in a recent visit to Arlington on Good Friday. He was a victim of circumstance in being released by Birmingham in a recent re-shuffle and comes with a glowing reputation as both a team player and a rider who, with a secure environment and an injury free run, can considerably improve his average.
Kyle travelled to Somerset last night (May 22) to meet the team and Trevor, Will and myself, and took the opportunity to have a “post meeting” spin. He has also booked himself in to an individual meeting at Redcar on Friday night (May 24) to ensure any cobwebs are removed and that he is absolutely race fit for Saturday.
This is the level of commitment that we are sure will endear Kyle immediately to Eastbourne supporters
PW: Are any more team changes in the pipeline?
IJ: There is an ongoing and continual assessment of the team and performances. The points limit for all Championship clubs will increase from 38 to 40 points on June 30, 2019 and if further adjustments need to be made, before or after that, based on performance, the management will look to strengthen the team where possible, as we have important Championship Shield semi-finals and hopefully Knock Out Cup progression to look forwards to.
The league is so tight, a few good away performances and a series of home wins could still see us making a Play-Off bid. Until mathematically impossible, we are still looking to be competitive across the three competitions.
PW: Two home defeats on the spin is something Eastbourne fans are not used to. What is your take on that?
IJ: The recent home defeats to Leicester and Glasgow, both clubs likely to be dominant in the Championship league this season are both frustrating and disappointing, taken in isolation.
The flip side is but for a broken footrest and a bad crash we could and should have won both matches and the mood would be triumphant rather than a bit flat, and on such fine margins are our wonderful sport built.
We knew when we entered the Championship at short notice that we faced very tough challenges.
The overwhelming feedback from supporters during the winter was that you wanted to move back up to professional speedway with tight, competitive matches. That entails moving away from overwhelming home wins and processional racing every week.
The last two matches have been incident packed, exciting and whilst we have fallen just short on both occasions, the passion and commitment to build a long-term future for Eastbourne
Speedway have been seen in the disappointment on riders’ faces when losses have been incurred.
PW: What is your message to the fans?
IJ: We ask for your support in large numbers in the coming weeks, with excitement and close matches guaranteed.
We feel that the wins are just around the corner, and there is much to look forward to.
We may have temporarily lost our outstanding young talisman and prospect in Tom Brennan and we hope that Tom can return to a winning team and the positive vibes we have built so far for the New Era Eagles.
PW: Thank you, Ian for taking the time to answer the questions in such a full and detailed way.
Image Credits: Tiffani Graveling Photography & Mike Hinves
Kyle Newman image credit: @haggishartman http://www.hmximages.co.uk/