The Ultimate Eagle:Fans Poll Results.

Eastbourne Speedway fans have chosen their Ultimate Eagle.

Names from the HG Aerospace Eagles’ illustrious past were put forward by fans at the start of the process.

From the dozens suggested, the seven Eagles who received the most nominations (in alphabetical order) were:

Dean Barker, Martin Dugard, Mark Loram, Kelly Moran, David Norris, Nicki Pedersen

When the final poll opened, votes poured in for what turned out to be a close fought battle which is no surprise with such a star-studded line-up coming to tapes for the final shoot-out.

Our countdown of the top three now reaches the top step of the podium.

Earlier today we announced that Nicki Pedersen had finished third and Gordon Kennett second in the Eastbourne HG Aerospace Eagles’ search for the Ultimate Eagle – voted for by you, the fans.

In first place is:

The Ultimate Eagle: David Norris

Eastbourne Speedway programme columnist, Ray Black, commented:

David Norris was an incredible talent on a speedway bike and such a huge personality that it is no surprise that he is the fans’ Ultimate Eagle.

“His story is very much one of local boy made (very) good.

The fact that he lived close to the track meant he always had a large body of support on the terraces and this poll result shows he has not been forgotten, although he finally stood down from racing more than ten years ago.

Norris made a stunning debut for Eastbourne in August 1988, aged 16, scoring ten points at Arlington against Stoke. Next day, he was with the Eagles at Exeter– a track totally different to Arlington’s tight, technical turns.

The Devon circuit was a high-speed, full-throttle place, with a metal safety fence. Young Norris won his first race round the County Ground.

In 1990, David joined Ipswich for a £12,000 transfer fee but was back where he belonged in 1993 before missing out at Arlington in 1995 when riders were moved around as the top two divisions merged to form one big league.

It was a one-year sojourn at Reading before Norris was back ‘home’.

His best season was 2004 when he out-pointed Nicki Pedersen at the top of the Eastbourne averages.

He also became a hit with fans when he was used by Sky TV on a number of occasions as a summariser at some of their live broadcasts.

At the time of his testimonial in 2010, David said: “”I think I was six years old when I first went and I looked at the Eagles as heroes.

“Eastbourne has been my passion – that’s why I stayed there for so long. It’s been a pleasure to ride for the club.

David Norris holds the record for the most points scored by an Eastbourne rider (more than 5,100), the greatest number of appearances (577) and now he is the . . . Ultimate Eagle.

The Eagles will be celebrating David’s career at Arlington over the next week with a number of special features.

We would also like to thank all of the Eagles fans who voted initially for their Ultimate Eagles team and for over 1,500 of you who voted for your Ultimate Eagle.


Earlier today we announced that Nicki Pedersen had finished third in the Eastbourne HG Aerospace Eagles’ search for the Ultimate Eagle – voted for by you, the fans. In second place is:

2nd Place: Gordon Kennett

Eastbourne Speedway programme columnist, Ray Black, commented:

I would have put a lot of money on Gordon featuring highly in this competition.

He was hugely popular with supporters, a great, great rider and a super guy.

I’m not the only one who is delighted to see Gordon still visiting Arlington to watch the current crop of Eagles, including his nephew Edward.

Gordon exploded into the Eastbourne team in 1970 and by the end of the season had a 6.5 plus average – he was that good.

“It was no flash in the pan and Gordon lived up to his growing reputation by upping his average further in the following two years.

He left the Eagles in 1973 to ride in the top division but was back at his spiritual home in 1979 as Eastbourne joined the British League.

On the world stage, Gordon was a gold medal winner in 1978, winning the World Pairs, with Malcolm Simmons.

He was second in that year’s individual world final at Wembley and was part of the English teams which finished second in the World Team Cups of 1978 and 1981.

Gordon was a huge star and rode at a time when British speedway was at its zenith, dozens of world class riders were on show in every match and Gordon was one of the very best.

On the third step of the podium is

3rd place: Nicki Pedersen

Long-time Eastbourne Speedway programme columnist, Ray Black, commented:

Nicki came to Arlington in 2003 when the club was struggling after Mark Loram crashed and broke his arm on Good Friday.

Pedersen had fallen out with Oxford and his move to Sussex was a surprise to most.

Nicki came with a controversial reputation that some fans felt uneasy about. However, his on-track performances and a willingness to engage with the fans soon had the Eastbourne faithful singing his praises.

Of course, Nicki went on that year to become World Champion for the first time, something he repeated in 2007 and 2008.

Pedersen’s Eastbourne career was brief with his last outing in the yellow and blue in 2007.

In those few years, Nicki Pedersen became a huge part of Eastbourne Speedway and many, many fans from that era would welcome him back with open arms.”

Image Credits: Mike Hinves & Niall Strudwick

2nd place will be announced shortly.