EAGLES BEGIN KO CUP DEFENCE
Battered men and machines are being made ready as Eastbourne Speedway riders gear up to defend the National League KO Cup, which the club has won three years in a row.
This year’s campaign begins on Saturday (April 21) with the home leg of the first round tie against the Isle of Wight Warriors.
The away leg is on April 26.
Last weekend, the Forman IT Eagles were involved in three matches in three days which took a toll on riders and some equipment.
Charley Powell and Charlie Brooks were nursing injuries in Sunday’s defeat to Coventry, having crashed the previous night at Arlington in the win over Buxton.
Kelsey Dugard blew an engine at Plymouth on the Friday before racing began and Georgie Wood had ignition problems on Saturday.
Eastbourne Forman IT Eagles team manager Connor Dugard has been forced into making one change for Saturday.
Danny Ayres is drafted in at No 1 in place of Mark Baseby who is unavailable as he will be at close friend’s wedding.
Dugard said the aim on Saturday was to open up a big lead to take across the Solent for the second leg.
“We need to get a grip on this tie right from the opening heats on Saturday.
“Last weekend was pretty good with two wins out of three but I felt we suffered a bit because we missed out on all three of our opening challenge matches due to them being rained off.
“Those races would have probably got rid of the engine gremlins and helped the lads get race fit.
“As it was, we had to go straight into competitive matches but that burst of matches means we are ready to defend the KO Cup.”
The visitors also bring in a guest at No 1 – Josh Bailey, who rides for Mildenhall this year but last year was an Eagle.
He takes the place of Ben Morley who will be riding for his more senior club, Lakeside at Ipswich.
By coincidence, both the Eastbourne and Isle of Wight guests ride this year for Mildenhall.
Eastbourne: Danny Ayres, Kelsey Dugard, Tom Brennan, Charley Powell, Georgie Wood, Charlie Brooks, Jason Edwards.
Isle of Wight: Josh Bailey, Danno Verge, Scott Campos, Chris Widman, Ben Hopwood, Jamie Sealey, Adam Portwood.
The parade on Saturday at Arlington Stadium, just off the A22 at Hailsham, is at 7.20pm. First race starts at 7.30pm.