Eagles Select to Race in Devon

Two members of the HG Aerospace Eagles will be in action for an Eastbourne ‘select’ team at Plymouth next week.

The club will send a quartet of riders to be part of a three-team tournament which is being run at National Development League (NDL) level.

Lining up for the Eagles will be Tom Brennan, Jason Edwards, Jake Knight and Connor King.

Jason Edwards – Image Credit Mike Hinves

They will face the home team and an Isle of Wight (IoW) outfit.

Knight was a huge favourite at Arlington during the club’s NDL period and returns after two seasons on the periphery of the sport, keen to put himself in the “shop window” for possible team places in both the NDL and Championship league.

Suffolk-born King’s availability and keenness to ride earned him the call to complete the team.

There is a strong Eagles’ influence in the Plymouth Gladiators and Isle of Wight Warriors teams.

Tom Brennan – Image Credit: Mike Hinves

The home team features 2019 Eagle Alfie Bowtell, long-time NDL Eagles favourite Richard Andrews and also Adam Extance, who lined up to ride for Eastbourne before a serious injury curtailed those hopes a few seasons ago.

The Warriors include another 2019 Eagle in Ben Morley and another former NDL era Eagle in Connor Coles.

Rising stars Henry Atkins (Plymouth) and Chad Wirtzfeld (IOW) also feature.

The fixture is all ticket and starts at 7pm on Tuesday, September 8.  Tickets are still available and can be purchased here

Eagles Director Ian Jordan, who is also commercial director at Plymouth, explained:

“A quirk and anomaly of the Government’s Covid-19 team sport restrictions has allowed Speedway to start in front of paying spectators at NDL Level which the Government deems to be developmental and amateur.

“I hate that word amateur, but it is a loophole that the Sport can, and I think should exploit.

“I don’t think Covid-19 is going away, and all clubs will need to start 2021 with some form of restrictions and certainly new processes and procedures for spectators and participants, so it gives Plymouth, and therefore via my experience and understanding of the necessary protocols Eastbourne, a bit of a head start for 2021, if nothing else.

“I have to say that the experience of having to get approval that meets Government, ACU / SCB / BSPL and local authority approval is a minefield of paperwork and confusion.

I can’t speak too highly of the local councils I have dealt with in both Plymouth (City Council) and East Sussex, but sadly they have been left high and dry by a complete lack of guidance from central Government, which has made what should be a fairly simple tick box exercise a 4-5 week battle.

“However, much has been learned and I’d rather we do that now than next March.”

Ian said all the necessary approvals had come through, along with the thumbs up from the BSPL in the past few days.

As a result, Eastbourne were delighted to accept an invitation from Plymouth boss, Mark Phillips, to take an NDL select team to Devon to open their truncated season.

The NDL Co-ordinator,Jason Pipe, provided a list of riders who qualified to race.

Ian said: “With Tom and Jason on that list, I was delighted that they agreed immediately to support the event and to ride for the Eagles Select.

“I noticed that Jake’s name was on the list and having chatted to him when we visited Sheffield last season, know how keen he is to make a return if possible and his message was clear, ‘I’ll only come back if I can start with the Eagles’.

“We could have used Nathan Ablitt for the fourth slot but Nathan is easing back from injury and also starts a college course early in September.

“So I’m delighted that Connor King will guest for us.

“He is a promising rider with a big future in the Sport.

“I’m delighted to hear that Nathan has accepted a booking to ride for The Young GB Lions at Plymouth v The Gladiators on Tuesday, September 22, in the second scheduled Plymouth home fixture.”

Main Image credit: Jake Knight – Tiffani Graveling Photography