A sparkling performance in the Championship Shield semi-final has Eastbourne Speedway fans buzzing ahead of Saturday’s (July 27) league match at Arlington Stadium.
The Fineprint Eagles take on Somerset on the back of a narrow first leg defeat at Glasgow which displayed huge fighting spirit and puts them in a great position to go through to the final.
Somerset are in third place in the league table and are looking good for the end-of-season play offs which will decide the title.
At present, Eastbourne are seventh and will need to keep winning at home – and pick up victories on the road – to make the play offs.
The Eagles hand a home professional league debut to 16-year-old Jason Edwards on Saturday.
Edwards won his first race at full professional level in the Shield semi-final at Glasgow and went on to score five points.
The youngster from Essex is relishing the opportunity to return to Arlington where he had a successful National League campaign last year.
He said: “It’s great coming back to Eastbourne.
“Obviously, being here last year and having the success that we did was amazing, especially in my first year.
“I have been watching all the Speedway Portal videos and interviews from Eastbourne this year and the whole atmosphere, although under different management, seems unbelievable.”
Edwards said his job now was to get used to the new level of speedway, adding: “Realistically, this is all about trying to get a point in every ride.”
Eastbourne will be using rider replacement to cover for Georgie Wood who has been “stood down” from racing by the speedway authorities after missing a meeting for his National League club, the Isle of Wight, through illness.
In such circumstances, there is a mandatory ban from all UK speedway.
The use of rider replacement has given the club an opportunity to give another of last season’s exciting young riders, Charlie Brooks, a taste of Championship speedway.
He will be No 8 and is eligible to take any of Wood’s rides, if selected by the team manager.
Edward Kennett, R/R for Georgie Wood, Kyle Newman, Lewi Kerr, Richard Lawson, Alfie Bowtell, Jason Edwards; No 8: Charlie Brooks.
Rory Schlein, Todd Kurtz, Valentin Grobauer, Nico Covatti, Chris Harris, Anders Rowe, Henry Atkins.
*The “token’ collect in the match-day programme continues on Saturday with No 3 appearing on page 3.
*There will be a collection for the Speedway Riders’ Benevolent Fund during the meeting.
Main image credit: Mike Hinves