It was Speedway but not quite as we know it
Eastbourne Speedway staged a private practice session in Norfolk. Joint press officer, Paul Watson, was there and considers himself very lucky indeed to have seen some Speedway.
It looked like speedway, it sounded like speedway, it smelt like speedway and the stadium was very familiar to me.
The HG Aerospace Eagles had gleaming bikes and were wearing fabulous new race suits.
Everything seemed normal as we gathered at King’s Lynn Speedway for a practice session.
Lewi Kerr, who lives not more than 15 minutes from the track, was there way before anyone else. Richard Lawson was last to arrive. That was a pattern we became familiar with last year – Lewi the early bird and Richard “fashionably late”.
The Adrian Flux Arena (I still call it Saddlebow Road as I was a regular there from 1965 to 1993) track was being prepped in just the way it is if you arrive early for a meeting.
It looked like a ploughed field but from long experience I knew that this was a tried and tested method of stadium boss and King’s Lynn Stars supremo, Keith Chapman.
Keith and his team team whizzed round and round to grade the surface which eventually became smooth and looked like a speedway track. A few turns round with the water cart followed.
It is fair to say that the Adrian Flux Arena has more tractors and associated kit than some agricultural contractors. Some of the tractors are ancient Zetors, once imported into the UK through the port of King’s Lynn, but others are modern monsters that would not be out of place on any farm.
In addition there is what is termed a “motorway blade” available for major surgery.
The sun shone, the track glistened and we were ready to go, well I was going to say racing but it wasn’t quite racing. Of course, this was just a practice session.
First out on track was one of Eastbourne’s teenage tornados, Tom Brennan, eager to get some laps in on the big circuit in preparation for his Euro title tilts in the coming weeks.
Jason Edwards and Drew Kemp, who also have trips to the Czech Republic lined up, were also quickly in action.
As the session developed Lewi and Richard put in some really hot laps.
Eastbourne had also invited a couple of up-and-coming youngsters to participate in the day, Nathan Ablitt and Vinnie Foord, who both in live in Hailsham.
Keeping a keen eye on the proceedings were Club Director, Ian Jordan, and promoter, Trevor Geer.
Colin Pratt, the Peterborough promoter who lives near to the King’s Lynn track, was there, as was Peter Seaton who is promoting F2 Speedway as a way for youngsters to get into the sport without the huge costs.
Seaton brought with him some F2 bikes and Richard gave a couple a test.
The F2 bikes are 450cc and use standard motocross engines which are low maintenance.
Members of the Eastbourne media team buzzed around shooting videos, capturing audio, taking photographs and generally gathering content.
Word of the practice session clearly filtered to the local newspaper, the Lynn News, who despatched a photographer and reporter.
Obviously Lewi was their focus and he donned his King’s Lynn race suit for them.
Their arrival may also have been sparked by the British Speedway statement which came through while the Eagles were practising.
The news that there would be no Premiership or Championship leagues this year was expected. It wasn’t a bombshell but sad confirmation that what I was witnessing wasn’t normal in any way shape or form.
There was, however, no hint of defeatism or pessimism in the pits at King’s Lynn.
Your Eastbourne HG Aerospace Eagles are model professionals and are totally ready for the moment when the green light comes on at the starting gate, signalling we are moments from the re-start of real racing.
Please note – Saturday Night Speedway is being re-scheduled this week, but watch out for further news in the coming days.