Eastbourne welcomes Chad Wirtzfeld

Eastbourne newcomer Chad Wirtzfeld hopes for a busy summer of racing.

He is lined up as the latest member of the club’s National Development League (NDL) team, powered by Save Thurrock Hammers.

Chad, 17 is also planning to race on grass and undertake a long track campaign in Germany.

“I am excited at coming to Eastbourne. I think it will be good. It will be learning curve with the track,” he said.

In 2019, Chad rode for the Isle of Wight on their 385 metre circuit, so his new home track at Arlington at 275 metres will be a huge difference.

He commented: “I went well around Wolverhampton and that is a similar shape to Eastbourne so I hope I can ride as well at Arlington as I did at Wolverhampton.”

He believes it will be helpful for his career to be in the Eastbourne camp where the younger riders can also draw on the experience of members of the Championship team.

He added: “We are doing the National League this year, any grass tracks we can when there are no Eastbourne meetings.

“I do a lot of long track in Germany and I will try and do as much of that as I can.

“I started long track in 2016 and in 2018 I broke my arm and I have been over to Germany a couple of times since then, but not as much as we would have liked to because 2020 was cancelled.”

When he was younger, Chad rode more on grass than shale but on turning 15 he joined the Isle of Wight.

“I started off averaging OK and scored a good few points. In the mid season I struggled a bit but towards the end I scored better again and was quite good.

In 2020, Chad practised and rode in three grass track meetings, winning two.

“That was my first year on 500cc on grass and the results were much better than I thought they would be,” he said.

For 2021 he has two bikes for speedway and two for grass/long track and is virtually all ready to race, apart from a few finishing touches.

Chad Wirtzfeld

Club director Ian Jordan said: “We are delighted to announce Chad as the fourth new Seagull for the 2021 NDL season.

“Chad comes with a fantastic pedigree in terms of two-wheel oval action on shale and grass in the youth classes; and made an outstanding impact in his 2019 debut season as a 15-year-old with the Isle of Wight.

“He lives just down the South Coast so can be very much classed as a local talent.

“Chad had some great support from his parents and family and sponsors and we’ll be delighted to welcome them to Arlington too.”

Jordan said everyone at Arlington was saddened and disappointed that the Isle of Wight won’t be competing in the NDL in 2021.

“They are very much the epitome of all that is good about development level Speedway and a forward thinking and professional promotion.

“They set a benchmark for many others to follow. We hope to see them back competing at some point in the future, whilst offering our support for the very difficult and brave decision taken by Martin (Widman) and Barry (Bishop) to withdraw their team at this stage,” Jordan commented.

Jordan believes Eastbourne can help Chad fulfil his undoubted potential in Speedway and also think that he has the ability to significantly improve his starting average of 3.81.

“I’ve seen Chad ride exceptionally well on the small and tight confines of the Plymouth Track (200 metres) in 2019 and he will be a big asset to us on some of the bigger and more expansive NDL tracks too like Berwick and Belle Vue,” Jordan said.

“The fact that he has now visited almost every track before will be a further big boost to his progress.

“We believe there is potential in Chad to progress to the very top echelons of the Sport and we’ll do everything we can to help him on that journey in 2021 and who knows, possibly well beyond that.”

Jordan whetted supporters’ appetites by saying more announcements were coming.

  • Eastbourne still has three more NDL riders to name in the next week or so;
  • News about some of the club’s younger MSDL riders and their progression in to the NDL Squad;
  • News of some asset acquisitions; and
  • Plans to have more “development opportunities” via second-half individual races after stand-alone Championship fixtures.

Jordan added: “There is a lot to look forward to, so watch this space.”

The signing of Wirtzfeld comes during an extremely busy spell for Eastbourne Speedway.

As well as finalising the NDL team, the club is making preparations for the start of the 2021 season in May.

Matches will be all ticket, booked and paid for in advance online. There will be no cash/card admissions on the day.

This is to ensure Arlington Stadium meets all Covid-19 rules and a full explanation of the processes and procedures can be found on the Club website and on ticket application pages .

Tickets are now on sale for the opening two home matches against Newcastle and then Poole. They are available via the Club website and Club Management have indicated that tickets are selling at a rate that is above expectations, so supporters should book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment as crowd numbers will be restricted for the early months of the season, and the first two matches could sell out quite quickly. To purchase tickets, please click on the images below.

The Club will be putting a further tranche of future match tickets on sale at the end of March, in an attempt to spread the cost of purchasing tickets over as long a period as possible, due to a truncated season.

Please note: existing 2020 Season and 10 Match Ticket Holders do not need to pre-book – please just turn up with your 2020 Season Ticket or 10 Match Pass and go to the dedicated ST/10 Match Turnstile (which will be clearly marked)

Terms and Conditions can be found here.

Image Credit: Ian Groves/Sportography