Eastbourne kick-started their Championship campaign with a fine win tonight (July 2) at Redcar.
The HG Aerospace Eagles led all the way after Kyle Newman and Richard Lawson gave them the best possible start with a 5-1 in the opening heat.
At the half-way stage, Eastbourne were 12 up and then were hit by a fierce Redcar fightback.
The two sides traded 5-1s in heats 12 and 13 before birthday boy Tom Brennan hit the front in heat 14 to win the race. With Drew Kemp second, the points were secured.
The final score was Redcar 43, Eastbourne 47.
Eastbourne team manager Trevor Geer said the reshuffled riding order had worked well.
He said: “Right from the word go, we had them.
“It rained before the meeting and it certainly suited us more than Redcar.
“You could see their heads go down and they had a few falls. They were struggling with it and we just kept at it.
“The new riding order seems to suit all of our boys.
“Tom Brennan didn’t have a great meeting but he deserved a lot of points and at least he ended up with a good win which pleased me.
“We have lost a few on the road this year which we should have won.
“Now, I think we will surprise a few teams.”
The Eagles are back at Arlington on Sunday (3.30pm) when they face the table topping Glasgow Tigers. Entry is via on-line ticket only, which are available here until 9am Sunday morning (or until tickets are sold out if stadium limits are reached).
Here’s how Kevin Ling saw the meeting unfold.
Heat 1: Flying start for the Eagles. Richard Lawson and Kyle Newman leap from the start. Charles Wright pulls up down back straight first time round. The Eagles lead James Sarjeant by quarter of a lap. Kyle comes inside Richard on the final two bends for the win 1-5, 58.3
Heat 2: This turns into a great scrap. Anders Rowe emerges clear out of second bend and he leads Drew all the way. Jason Edwards was ahead of Jordan Jenkins for first lap but the Redcar rider comes inside him entering lap 2 for a home 4-2, 5-7, 57.8
Heat 3: Stopped. Eagles trap again with Tom Brennan and Edward Kennett leading in a 5-1 position. Sarjeant falls bend four, leaving Jake Allen with nowhere to go and they end in an untidy heap. Sarjeant excluded – both Bears riders appear okay
Re-run: Better gate from Allen but it was the Eagles who still led into third bend. Allen brought the home crowd to their feet though coming through on Tom’s inside heading into lap 2 and then getting the better of Edward on the back straight of the final lap. A fine race; 3-3, 8-10 59.0
Heat 4: Eagles lead again from the off. It’s Lewi Kerr from Drew with Michael Palm Toft (MPT) applying pressure – MPT makes it past Drew so the 4-2 looks on – then the Bears rider’s machine dies heading into final lap gifting Eagles 5-1 with Jenkins trailing; 1-5, 9-15, 58.5
Heat 5: Brilliant cut back from Richard on bend one to go from last to second joining Kyle at the front, Rowe third and Allen bringing up the rear – that was how it stayed, though Allen pulled up out of second bend second lap, 1-5, 10-20, 59.4
Heat 6: Another fine start for Lewi and he leads former British champion Wright from gate to flag. Sarjeant comes home in third but Jason never gave up the chase, 3-3 ,13-23, 58.9
Heat 7: Edward led from the off but MPT made his way through out of second bend – Eagles holding minor places but Tom suffers engine failure on lap 2. Rowe gives chase to Edward but a home 4-2 it remains with MPT taking the win; 4-2, 17-25, 56.8
Heat 8: Stopped. Re-run all four. Sarjeant crowding in on Kyle at the start gate – Kyle clearly not happy. The Bears looked to have the better of things heading into first turn but bit of a melee ensues and it’s Sarjeant who hits the deck. Now he doesn’t seem happy but up and okay to take his place.
Re-run: Men on a mission. Drew flies from the gate with Kyle in second. Sarjeant rounds Kyle out of second bend – Kyle gets him back heading into lap two and despite Sarjeant’s best effort a 5-1 it stays. However, Sarjeant takes a swing at Kyle at the pit gate – soon parted, 1-5, 18-30, 58.2
Heat 9: Lewi leads pretty much all the way but Rowe rides a brilliant race to round him down back straight . Our captain tried to counter but Rowe took the win on the line. Allen takes third for Bears, 4-2, 22-32, 58.3
Heat 10: MPT rides as a tactical substitute in place of Sarjeant. MPT leads with Edward and Tom giving chase. Wright gets the better of Tom on second lap and it’s Bears in first and third. Tom gets back past Wright but inexplicably cuts across him between bends 2-3 on second lap. Race stopped and Tom excluded – correct call (unfortunately). Re run with three riders to come.
Re-run: It’s a 5-1 to the Bears who make good use of the T/S. Wright takes the win from MPT with Edward giving his all to get on terms. Good team riding from the home riders; 5-1, 27-33, 59.0
Heat 11: Meeting resumes and straight away the race is stopped. There are problems for the Bears as Rowe spins around and falls on first bend. He stays down for a time but is excluded. Rowe up and walking back to pits now and checking the starting gate as he goes past.
Re-run: Race is shared as MPT takes the win in comfortable style from Richard and Kyle; 3-3, 30-36, 57.5
Heat 12: Brilliant simply brilliant – Allen leads out of bend two with Rowe sizing the Eagles duo. In what looks like a double burst of speed, Edward and Drew go between the pair of them. Edward takes a glorious win from Drew, Rowe third with Allen giving up the chase on the run in. Just wow! 1-5, 31-41, 58.7
Heat 13: Bears bite back. MPT riding out of his skin and so is Wright now he’s found his feet again they lead Richard throughout with Lewi chasing shadows. There’s still life in this match, 5-1 36-42, 57.2
Heat 14: Well folks, Tom hits the front and leads Allen with Drew third and is buzzing round Allen’s back wheel. The second lap puts and end to things however – Jenkins comes down at the back and race is stopped. Jenkins excluded and race awarded as 4-2 to Eagles so we know what that means don’t we – Eagles lead 38-46 heading into final race. Golly we’ve won – no time and well done lads – Jenkins up and okay.
Heat 15: Tumble at first turn as Wright and Newman seemed to collide. Wright appeared to fall first and catch Kyle to this reporter’s eye but it was the Eagle who was excluded by referee Sean Wilson (no I don’t think that one). Both Kyle and Charles up and seemingly okay
Re-run: Richard battled hard to get the better of Wright for the first lap and then a slight lapse of concentration saw MPT get the better of him in the mid part. Final heat goes 5-1 in favour of the Bears but Eagles win 43-47, 57.7
Redcar: Michael Palm Toft 13+2 (6), Charles Wright 10+1 (5), Anders Rowe 9 (6), Jake Allen 6 (5), James Sarjeant 3+1 (4), Jordan Jenkins 2 (4)
Eastbourne: Drew Kemp 10+2 (5), Kyle Newman 9+2 (5), Richard Lawson 8+2 (5), Edward Kennett 8 (4), Lewi Kerr 8 (4), Tom Brennan 4+1 (4), Jason Edwards 0 (3).
Image credit: Lee Kilby