Eastbourne Speedway’s revival continued on Saturday night (June 8) when they smashed the Newcastle Diamonds on the Arlington anvil.
The Fineprint Eagles were rapidly into the lead with new No 1 Richard Lawson and partner Ben Morley taking the vital scalp of Steve Worrall in the first heat.
The 5-1 set the home side up for the match and it was a lead they extended without too much trouble to run out 59-31 winners.
Lawson was unbeaten by an opponent, captain Edward Kennett was near his spectacular best while Lewi Kerr rode through the pain barrier.
Earlier in the week, Kerr could “not hardly lift a knife and fork” but he only tasted defeat once against the Diamonds.
Lawson, who has just moved to the No 1 slot with his Premiership team, Ipswich, said he loves going out to race in the first heat of the night.
“I could not have asked for much better.
“Once you get off to a good start in heat one, you want to keep it going.
“It was an all round good performance.
“Gating is one of the keys to my racing and in heat one it is so important to get a good start. I try and take full advantage of that,” Lawson said.
Joint team manager, Will Pottinger, said: “I was really pleased with such an emphatic win.
“We are gaining confidence as each home meeting goes by which is really good.
“Everyone is chipping in with points which is what we need.
“You have to build momentum as the season goes along.
“We have to keep progressing.”
EASTBOURNE 59: Richard Lawson 13+2, Edward Kennett 13+1, Lewis Kerr 11, Georgie Wood 8, Kyle Newman 6+2, Ben Morley 5+2, Alfie Bowtell 3+1.
NEWCASTLE 31: Steve Worrall 10, Lasse Bjerre 8+1, Matthew Wethers 5+1, Thomas Jorgensen 3, Max Clegg 2, Jacob Bukhave 2, Danny Phillips 1+1.
The Kevin Ling verdict
Eastbourne ‘Fineprint’ Eagles made local knowledge count as they outshone the Newcastle Diamonds, winning the first match between the two sides for almost 30 years by a 59-31 margin at Arlington stadium on Saturday evening.
Once again the home heat leaders made life difficult for their opponents.
Newly installed number one Richard Lawson romped to a paid 15-point maximum while Eagles skipper, Edward Kennett, produced some stunning moves to contribute 13-points plus one bonus.
Lewi Kerr rode through the pain and in spite of the delayed diagnosis of conditions caused by his heavy fall against the Berwick Bandits two weeks ago, conditions that prevented his riding for his Premiership club King’s Lynn on Thursday night, he suffered only one defeat by a Diamond, scoring 11-points to secure himself the Man of the Match award.
Piling up points
It proved a resilient display throughout the order to scupper the Newcastle challenge however, each team member contributing in some way.
For the Diamonds it was something of a different story, Captain Steve Worrall securing two heat victories in his 10-point tally but elsewhere Dane Lasse Bjerre (8 points paid 9) and Australian Matthew Wethers with 5-points (paid 6) proved his only effective support as the Eagles started to pile up the points.
A special mention should be reserved for Diamonds reserve Jacob Bukhave however who twice looked to be on course for heat wins only for a couple of lapses in concentration served to deny him on each occasion.
The Sussex side hit the ground running from the word go as Lawson and Ben Morley recorded maximum points (winning time 57.4) in heat one. Worrall appeared to have made the better start and cut across from gate four but that seemed to work against him as he went wide going into the second allowing both Eagles to storm through for the opening 5-1.
Race two was subject to a rerun as Diamonds reserve Danny Phillips was ruled out following a fall on the first bend of lap two. With Alfie Bowtell leading at the time, Georgie Wood chasing in third the latter found himself unable to avoid the opponent and he too came down though thankfully both riders were soon up and seemingly none the worse for the experience.
At the second time of asking it was Bukhave who made the better of the start and looked as if he might have the race in the bag. Not so however with Wood exercising a superb cut back on the second bend of lap four to win in a time of 59.4.
With Eastbourne now 9-3 to the good, Kerr and Kyle Newman gated as one, the former going away from the field and the latter doing sterling work to keep the chasing Bjerre at bay for the second 5-1 in favour of the hosts (winning time 57.2), one that stretched the advantage to double figures 14-4.
Wood found himself on the deck once more in race four but this time he was judged responsible for the race stoppage and he took a little longer to recover before rising and heading back to the pits.
In the rerun Kennett quickly forged a lead that he never looked likely to relinquish (winning time 57.6), leading both Thomas Jorgensen and Phillips to the chequered flag, the share of the spoils maintaining the home double figure lead and seeing the scores move to 17-7.
Heat five and Worrall was set to strike back for the visitors with an all the way win over Kerr and Newman (winning time 58.5). The race required a rerun however as the Diamonds Captain became the latest to taste the Arlington shale at the first turn following a bunching affect and a brush with Newman.
Lawson then looked wholly impressive in winning heat 6 (winning time 59.1) as he gated and sped away from the chasing pack. Jorgensen was also fast out of the start but almost ran into the back of Lawson on bend two requiring him to back off. This moment also saw Morley take full advantage of the Diamonds dilemma as he again romped through on the inside of the Danish duo that also featured Bukhave for the second 5-1 for the opening pair and one that stretched the margin further to a commanding 25-11.
Race seven went to a third running as firstly the tapes malfunctioned and then Kennett had to pick himself up off the floor after a coming together with Bjerre. The third time of asking witnessed the race of the night however as Kennett stormed around the Danes outside on the third and fourth bend to win with a degree of style (winning time 58.2).
Wood was demonstrating no ill effects from his earlier two falls as he produced a classy victory over Max Clegg in heat eight (winning time 58.5). With Morley chasing the pair to the flag ahead of Phillips this saw the score line move to 32-16 with Eastbourne doubling the haul so far enjoyed by Newcastle.
The ninth race witnessed another flying win for Kerr who led tactical substitute Worrall throughout with Newman also getting the better of Jorgensen for the third place point and the 4-2 (winning time 57.4). With Eastbourne having stretched the margin further to 36-18, this was no doubt the moment that saw the pendulum swing firmly the way of the hosts with the Diamonds tactical move failing to bear fruit.
Lawson kept the misery piling on for the visitors in the tenth as he made it three wins out of three (winning time 58.4) but with Wethers and Bjerre packing the minor places ahead of Morley they did at least secure a share of the spoils and so the difference remained at 18-points, now 39-21.
Worrall recorded his second victory as he became the first visitor to lower Kennett’s colours in heat eleven (winning time 58.0). With the Newcastle number one away and clear his Eastbourne adversary gave good chase but he lost a degree of control on bends three and four of the third lap as he tried to force a way past. This saw Wood (himself a replacement for Bowtell who had broken the tapes and suffered a disqualification) also come through with the home skipper dropping back to third.
Bjerre then made it two wins in succession for the Diamonds as he outpaced both Newman and Bowtell (taking the reserve ride in place of Wood) in race twelve (winning time 60.4).
For a moment it appeared that a Newcastle 5-1 might just be on the cards however as reserve Bukhave made a lightning start and led the field with Bjerre guarding his rear wheel and fending off Newman.
It wasn’t destined to last however as the Dane got into difficulties on the second bend of lap four, performing something akin to a 180 degree pirouette and ending up on the centre green with Newman only just missing him.
Nevertheless a 3-3 it was, one that moved the scores to a now unassailable 45-27 and Kennett and Lawson combined to inflict further discomfort on the visiting duo of Worrall and Jorgensen with a runaway 5-1 (winning time 58.0) that saw the Sussex side hit the half century mark with the score line now reading 50-28.
Home points of sixty-points dissipated in the penultimate race as Wethers got the better of Bowtell for second place but with the impressive Kerr an all the way winner (winning time 58.5) the Arlington faithful were certainly now in celebratory mood as the advantage extended to 24-points (54-30).
Worrall was unfortunately ruled out of the final heat of the night as he again came to grief at the first bend. Thankfully he was swiftly up and seemingly okay but this time the referee saw fit to disqualify him from the second running.
This left Kennett and Lawson to provide a repeat of their earlier maximum, with a degree of comfort, with a victory over Bjerre (winning time 59.4).
This served to round proceedings off in style for the Eagles and their fans, the final score line resting at a wholly conclusive 59-31.
Eagles: Richard Lawson 13+2(5), Edward Kennett 13+1(5), Lewis Kerr 11(4), Georgie Wood 8(4), Kyle Newman 6+2(4), Ben Morley 5+2(4), Alfie Bowtell 3+1(4). – 59
Diamonds: Steve Worrall 10(6), Lasse Bjerre 8+1(5), Matthew Wethers 5+1(4), Thomas Jorgensen 3(4), Jacob Bukhave 2(4), Max Clegg 2(4), Danny Phillips 1+1(3). – 31
Images: Mike Hinves & Tiffani Graveling Photography