Ian Jordan Previews our Last Meeting of 2019

Eastbourne Speedway aim to put on a sparkling night to bring down the curtain on this year’s return to the middle tier of British speedway.

The match has the green light.

Weather forecasters are giving the thumbs up that the weather will be fine for speedway racing on Saturday (September 28) – start time 7.30pm.

Eastbourne Eagles Director Ian Jordan said the Eastbourne Fineprint Eagles Championship match v Birmingham Brummies would definitely go ahead, despite some misinformed opinions appearing across social media since the weekend. 

Jordan explained the complex situation regarding Eagles’ star Richard Lawson who will miss the match on Saturday to ride for Premiership Ipswich Witches in the second leg of their Premier League semi final Play Off v Poole Pirates.

He said: “We were made aware at the weekend that the Premiership matches scheduled for Monday, September 23, at Poole and Thursday, September  26, at Ipswich were being rescheduled due to an adverse weather forecast for Poole on Monday.

“There was a need to reschedule coverage on BT Sport to ensure that there was no unnecessary work for BT Sport at Poole in setting up on Monday for a match that clearly had no chance of beating the weather.

“The matches were rescheduled for Poole on Thursday and Ipswich on Saturday and the BSPA have arranged and agreed for both fixtures to be shown live on BT Sport. 

“The usual protocols that guarantee that Premier have protected fixtures on a Monday and Thursday, and Championship have priority on all other days, have been rescinded and amended by the BSPA as an exception in the interests of the sport.”

Jordan said that with Eastbourne also due to race on Saturday, the BSPA offered Eastbourne a guest facility if they required it.

He continued:

“Eastbourne subsequently contacted Birmingham and the BSPA for clarification; and have respectfully accepted that in the interests of the public image of the sport that the decision is a pragmatic and understandable one. 

“The fact that one match is a televised semi-final in the Premiership and the other a league match that has no bearing on the top positions in the Championship has also been part of the thought process of the Eastbourne management team.”

He said the option to rearrange the Birmingham match at Arlington match to a later date was extensively considered but there were some immediate stumbling blocks.

Jordan said: “Birmingham have already finished their home fixtures and this fixture is one already rearranged (from August 3), beyond the League cut off date of September15, following a late cancellation in early August when the BSPA were insistent that the Shield semi-final (v Glasgow) was completed as close to a July 31 cut-off. 

“Birmingham were most helpful is agreeing to our request then, which was much appreciated and we are aware of a number of Birmingham fans who were inconvenienced then due to late cancellation of hotel bookings. 

“We were therefore reluctant to further rearrange this fixture. 

“We did ask Birmingham regarding the option of alternative dates but, with a number of overseas riders, many of whom regularly ride on the Continent at weekends already fully booked for October, we totally understand and agree that it would be near impossible for them to cancel again at such short notice.

“We would thank Laurence Rogers and David and Peter Mason for their assistance in explaining this, which we fully understand and appreciate.”

Jordan said it would be difficult for Eastbourne to race on the weekend of October 5/6 anyway due to the final round of the Speedway GP at Torun and also a major Bonfire/Firework Festival in Eastbourne on the same weekend.

“It would be entirely inappropriate and commercially imprudent to race on these dates, or to expect Birmingham to race with a number of guest riders on any other alternative date, so we have little choice but to race on Saturday,” he said.

Jordan added: “The losers in this scenario are of course our supporters who are denied the opportunity to see Richard ride for the final time at Arlington in 2019 and for Richard himself, who has been outstanding for us on and off the track all season and who desperately wanted to ride for Eastbourne in the final meeting.

“We are all gutted for Richard, his performances on the track and impact off the track have been massive and inspirational all season, as they have been for Ipswich too. 

“We have no axe to grind with Ipswich who have been very cooperative all season in dealings with us, and wish them the best of luck in their semi -final and I feel that it would have been wrong and unethical to ask Richard to choose between the two clubs he has graced all season, so we have reluctantly accepted that on this occasion he has to ride for Ipswich.”

Nick Morris Guesting for The Eagles

Eagles have managed to secure Nick Morris to guest for Richard and will line up with the following 1-7: Edward Kennett, Georgie Wood, Kyle Newman, Lewi Kerr, Nick Morris (G), Connor Coles (G), Jason Edwards.

Jordan was also eager to update Supporters on further plans for Saturday night.

“We will welcome a full strength Brummies side including ex- Eagles star Adam Ellis and will have the usual end-of-season farewell for our regular Riders. 

“They will chat to the crowd from the Centre Green immediately after the meeting there will then be a “Meet the Riders” Press Conference in the Club House approx 15 minutes after the meeting ends where riders and management will be available for about 20-30 minutes to answer questions about 2019 and look ahead to 2020.

“There are also a couple of major announcements anticipated regarding the plans for 2020 on and off the track and all fans are welcomed to attend in the club house after the meeting to hear the news which we believe is entirely positive.”

There will also be the Pit Board Auction (silent bids to establish a reserve price for each Board can be made via the Club website (click here for info) up until midday on Friday and if the reserve is not met the silent bid will win, ideal for supporters or collectors not able to attend on the night) that will be held after the match but before the Press Conference in the Club House.

For one night only the old “Track Shop” Location adjacent to The Turnstiles (weather permitting) will be OPEN and a Sale of 2019 items with Discounts of up to 50% on Normal Prices will be held. 

The Meeting is also the final opportunity to purchase the few remaining (public) tickets for the End of Season Presentation night at Herstmonceux Castle on Saturday November 16, and all Management / Riders / Staff and Sponsors will be contacted next week to formalise and confirm their Ticket Requirements after which any remaining public tickets will be put back on sale via the club website.

*Everyone who has collected 6 programme vouchers in second half of the season should listen out for a special announcement on Saturday and it will be updated on the club website on Monday.    

Image Credits: Tiffani Graveling Photography and Mike Hinves