The Eastbourne Seagulls squad rode together competitively for the first time yesterday when they appeared for The Thurrock Hammers in a behind closed doors, interclub challenge against the Crayford Kestrels at Lydd Speedway. The Kent team took the honours with a 69-51 victory in an enjoyable 20 heat contest.
The Seagulls squad of Nick Laurence, Eli Meadows, James Laker, Josh Warren, James Jessop and Cesca Wright, were joined by Rhys Laker and Jack Kingston to complete an eight rider team.
In a competitive meeting, battled out on the tight Kent track in perfect Autumnal conditions, it was Kingston along with Seagulls skipper Nick Laurence who shined for the Hammers.
Former Hammers asset Kingston was only beaten by the opposition once, scoring 14, whilst Laurence, battled the top end of the Kestrels team to score 10.
Eli Meadows and Josh Warren both took their first race to adapt to the track but showed growing confidence thereafter, with both delivering heat victories to score 7 (paid 8), and 6 points respectively.
James Laker often the victim of tight first bends against the Kestrels heat leaders scored 2, whilst Rhys Laker showed his knowledge for the track with a victory and a second place.
The reserve pairing of James Jessop and Cesca Wright both took time to get to grips with the tight confines of the Lydd track, but delivered at the bottom end with 5 and two (paid 3) points, again gaining confidence as the meeting progressed.
For the Kestrels, veteran Rob Hollingworth showed his gating skills and track knowledge with 14 points, with the former Boston Barracuda beaten only by the quick starting Kingston in his first race.
Chris Laidlaw proved a trump card at reserve with 12, backed by Jamie Couzins with 10 (paid 11), Keith Cornell 10, and skipper Chris Watts with 9.
Both teams delivered an entertaining meeting, and whilst despite being on the wrong end of the score line, providing track time and developing a team bond, specifically the Seagulls squad was the key aim for the Hammers.
Hammer & Seagulls Team Manager Mark Sexton commented:
“At the end of a really traumatic year, the meeting was the perfect mixture of high-octane competition on track and friendship & enjoyment off it.
The race format Crayford employ means that races included riders of a similar standard and this ensured close racing throughout.
Nick led superbly from the front, and there were positives throughout the whole team with both Eli and Josh securing their first ever heat wins in a team event.
All in all, a superb day out.”
The Eagles look forward to The Hammers and The Kestrels having a rematch, hopefully at Arlington in the first half of 2021 with if at all possible a crowd present.
Jamie Couzins: 10+1, Josh Couzins: 3+1, Rob Hollingworth: 14, Will Little: 6+4: Chris Watts: 9, Keith Cornell: 10, Chris Laidlaw: 12, Robbie Higgins: 5
Nick Laurence: 10, Eli Meadows: 7+1, Jack Kingston: 14, Rhys Laker: 5, James Laker: 2, Josh Warren: 6, James Jessop: 5, Cesca Wright: 2+1
The meeting was filmed by T2TV with DVD’s soon available here