*Rain which is affecting the Eastbourne area is slowly moving eastwards and is due to clear by around 11am.
*Somerset have brought in Ben Barker as a guest and now have a thrilling threesome of Rory Schlein, Chris ‘Bomber’ Harris and Ben Barker to lead their quest for points.
As we said yesterday, Eastbourne Speedway has access to detailed Met Office forecasts.
Here is the forecast issued this morning for the Eastbourne area:
A slow moving belt of occasionally heavy rain will move eastwards across the area from sunrise to mid morning and is due to clear by around 11am.
The probability is that there will then by a sustained period of cloudy but dry and quite warm weather (temperature will feel like 21C) with little wind during the rest of the day and early evening.
There is a 50% chance of a short shower in the late afternoon but this will soon clear and lead to a dry cloudy evening with temperatures falling to a warm 15C by 10pm.
The belt of heavy rain which will clear the East Sussex area by mid morning will remain static over parts of Kent, Essex, London and the Eastern coastal area, moving slowly north and eastwards.
Occasional random short showers are possible away from the Coast.
Note: If you live east and/or north of the stadium in Kent, east London and Essex, this could mean that it is raining where you are but dry at Arlington.
The track was bone dry before this rain after the heatwave.
Somerset team news
The Rebels’ Valentin Grobauer has resigned from British racing and Nico Covatti has not recovered from rib injuries.
Ben Barker guests for Covatti and RR will be used for Grobauer.
Eastbourne co-promoter Trevor Geer said: “Barker is another thrill-maker and his inclusion just adds to the excitement.
“I think this makes Somerset even more of a threat than they were before and we will have to be on our toes against this top three team.”
Eastbourne, as previously announced, give a home professional speedway debut to Jason Edwards.
1. Edward Kennett, 2. Rider Replacement, 3. Kyle Newman, 4. Lewis Kerr, 5. Richard Lawson, 6. Alfie Bowtell, 7. Jason Edwards, 8 Charlie Brooks.
1 Rory Schlein, 2 Todd Kurtz, 3 Rider Replacement, 4 Ben Barker (guest), 5 Chris Harris, 6 Anders Rowe, 7 Henry Atkins.
Here is Kevin Ling’s view of things to watch for tonight.
Following a break of some three weeks around their home circuit, the Eastbourne ‘Fineprint’ Eagles return to Arlington stadium tonight with a 7.30 p.m. start time.
The Somerset Rebels are the team heading to town for what will prove the first ever engagement for league points between the two sides at the iconic Sussex venue
To further set the collective pulses of the discerning Arlington audience racing, that means the return of the Rebels’ powerhouse twin spearhead of Rory Schlein and Chris ‘Bomber’ Harris.
The quest for a top four finish in the Championship table, one that would gain access to the end of season Play Off places, are really beginning to hot up now.
The Eagles have to do work in that regard to atone for a couple of single point early season reverses around their own strip by Leicester and Glasgow.
Tonight most certainly represents a ‘must-win’ fixture for the Sussex outfit.
The weekend match up will also witness a change in the Eagles line up with Jason Edwards making his return to Arlington as a replacement for the outgoing Ben Morley.
Edwards, one of the young stars of Eastbourne’s league and Knockout Cup double winning swansong in the 2018 National League will be assured the warmest of welcomes by the Sussex patrons, especially so following a sensational debut in Eastbourne’s mid-week visit to Glasgow.
Edwards won his opening ride on the big banked Ashfield circuit sharing a 5-1 with Alfie Bowtell – one that offered the Eagles an early lead in the Championship Shield semi-final first leg against the Tigers.
Indeed the visitors still led their hosts, currently lying in second in the Championship table, by a six-point margin with only four heats left to run.
They threatened an upset but the home side rallied in those final races overturning the deficit and claiming an eventual 47-43 margin realising a 4-point advantage that they will bring with them to Arlington for what should prove a titanic second leg next weekend.
It had proved such a superb performance by all six members of the Eagles contingent to keep things so close however and the management are hopeful that supporters will turn out in force to give them all the welcome home they deserve then cheer them on to what they hope will be a handsome victory against the Rebels.
Somerset also find themselves well placed in the current league standings and presently they hold one of the hallowed four Play Off berths.
The Rebels are sitting in third place behind Leicester and Glasgow having strengthened their credentials courtesy of a 47-43 victory at Birmingham’s Perry Barr stadium on Wednesday.
A 50-40 travelling success at Scunthorpe earlier in the campaign is a further example of just what the Rebels are capable of on the road and they will be looking to demonstrate that at Arlington this evening.
Certainly they will be anxious to atone for their early season visit to the venue, the mid-April Championship Shield encounter seeing Eagles run riot to the tune of a 63-27 scoreline.
Though Schlein recorded double figures on that occasion, both of Somerset’s two wins being numbered within his 12-point tally, ‘Bomber’ Harris largely failed to fire.
It will surely prove a different story this time around however and with certain others of the Rebels number also looking to restore any lost pride borne out of that experience it promises to be another closely fought Arlington encounter as Eastbourne look to re-invigorate their Play Off chances while the Rebels will be seeking to augment their own.
Teams: (in alphabetical order)
Eagles: Alfie Bowtell, Charlie Brooks (Number 8), Jason Edwards, Edward Kennett, Lewis Kerr, Richard Lawson, Kyle Newman, (Rider Replacement for) Georgie Wood.
Rebels : Henry Atkins, Ben Barker (Guest for Nicolas Covatti), Rider (Replacement for) Valentin Grobauer, Chris Harris, Todd Kurtz, Anders Rowe, Rory Schlein.
Image Credit: Tiffani Graveling Photography