Eastbourne took some measure of revenge on Saturday night (April 28) for last year’s Play Off Final loss to the Belle Vue Colts.

The Forman IT Eagles swamped their visitors from Manchester in a National League fixture at Arlington Stadium, hitting the 60 point mark for the third time in succession at home.

In fact, they went one better and ran out 61-29 winners, their best result of the season so far.

Both teams are considerably changed from last year’s showdown and the Eagles have demonstrated they are once again going to be very much in the championship chase this season.

Hard fought

Georgie Wood was the star of the show with a 15-point maximum, including a hard fought win in heat 15.

Tom Brennan was again among the points and Danyon Hume was an able guest for Mark Baseby, who missed the fixture because of a pre-booked holiday.

Tom Perry was the best rider on show for the visitors with rising stars Jack Smith and Kyle Bickley having relatively poor nights.

The loss of Ben Woodhull also cost the Colts. He withdrew after falling within a few yards of the start of his first race, badly bruising his foot. 

Eastbourne club chairman, Martin Dugard, said it was a good night for the club but expressed disappointment that his team had won so easily.

“Belle Vue are not the side they were last year.

Strong at home

“We are very strong at home but obviously things can change around when we go to Belle Vue.

“It was a disappointing meeting; great obviously for the club but the score and the racing did not reflect on how good we were at home.

“We are trying to get the season off to a great start with some exciting racing but it feels as if Belle Vue did not turn up tonight,” he said.

“If you get 5-1, 5-1, 5-1 it becomes very boring. Some people like that, some people don’t.

“I like close racing, regardless of what the score is. It is always nice to win but it was a bit of a whitewash meeting on our behalf.”

Wood was involved in a huge battle in heat 15 to complete his five-ride maximum.

He emerged from an extremely tough first corner to fend off opposing No 1 Tom Perry but could not do enough to control the race to help Brennan come through into second place.

Make the gate

Wood said: “I wanted that last race. You battle and win four and then you get to heat 15 and that’s the icing on the cake.

“It wasn’t going to be easy by any means. I hoped I would make the gate, control the race and let my mate (Brennan) past.

“It was bit hard in the first turn. I tried to slow the race up a little bit but the way the track was you needed to go into the corners with 110 per cent commitment.

“You couldn’t ease up. I had to get my head down and do what I did.”

EASTBOURNE 61: Georgie Wood 15, Tom Brennan 12+1, Danyon Hume 9+1, Charley Powell 9+1, Jason Edwards 8+1, Kelsey Dugard 4+3, Charlie Brooks 4+1.

BELLE VUE 29: Tom Perry 10, Joe Lawlor 7, Jack Smith 5, Kean Dicken 4+1, Kyle Bickley 2+2, Paul Bowen 1, Ben Woodhull 0.

Here's what Kevin Ling made of the stunning Eagles' win.

Eastbourne ‘Forman IT’ Eagles sent a clear message to the their National League rivals at Arlington stadium on Saturday night as they put reigning Champions, Belle Vue Colts to the sword.

The Sussex men inflicted a stinging 61-29 defeat on the Manchester outfit, the result in turn proving their biggest win of the campaign so far.

Georgie Wood proved the man of the moment for the home fans tearing through the opposition to secure a 15-point maximum.

In truth, all of the Eagles played their part, each securing at least one win or a paid win apiece.

Number one Tom Perry provided the chief resistance from a Colts perspective, scoring 10-points from his five outings.

Skipper Jack Smith looked set to add to the mix as he secured 5-points from his first two rides, that including a win over Eastbourne guest Danyon Hume in heat six.

Almost unbelievably, bearing in mind their impressive credentials that would prove the last time a Belle Vue rider took the chequered flag as Eastbourne continued to pile on the pressure thereafter.

Indeed Smith himself suffered a fall while leading heat 9 earning a disqualification and from that point he failed to add to his tally.

The Eagles opened a useful 10-point lead by the conclusion of race five but following a brace of shared heats the hosts then stepped things up a gear, four maximum 5-1s and a trio of 4-2s in the remaining eight heats seeing them run out worthy and emphatic winners.

Perry put a marker for the Colts, leading home Hume in heat one but Kelsey Dugard ensured an opening share of the spoils as he came under Paul Bowen on the first bend of lap three.

Ben Woodhull suffered a nasty fall, looping his machine out of the starting gate

The Colts reserve was subsequently disqualified, not for the fall but for having touched the starting tapes.

Concerns still abounded for his welfare and there were sighs of relief as he eventually arose and made his way back to the pits.

The restart saw Eagles youthful reserve duo Jason Edwards and Charlie Brooks leap out of the traps to secure maximum points, thus opening a 4-point advantage, 8-4.

Charley Powell and Tom Brennan then doubled the difference in heat three, Powell posting a gate to flag effort to win.

Behind him, team mate Brennan came from last to second passing Kyle Bickley and Joe Lawlor in turn for a second successive 5-1.

Wood embarked on his unbeaten run riding round the outside of Smith out of bend two.

Edwards might have added to the Eastbourne tally but he lost his silencer at the tail end of lap one and was disqualified after finishing the race.

Brennan lowered Perry’s colours in the fifth and Powell might have done likewise but the Colts number one exploited an error by the Eagle on the second bend of lap two to find a way past.

Nevertheless, the resultant 4-2 saw Eastbourne lead 20-10.

Smith got the better of Hume in race six but with Dugard seeing off the challenge of Kean Dicken, the double figure disparity remained in place.

Wood was an all the way winner of heat seven but behind him Lawlor and Bickley, the latter’s machine clearly showing signs of distress, packed the minor places, the scores moving to 26-16.

Eastbourne continued to exert complete control from that moment on.

Edwards and Dugard combined for the home side’s third maximum advantage in heat eight.

This effort was followed by a like score as Brennan and Powell added a further 5-1, though had Smith not fallen, it could well have been a different story.

Nevertheless, the scores now stood at 36-18 in favour of the Sussex side and the lights had pretty much gone out on any hopes the Colts harboured of taking points from the clash.

Hume rounded Lawlor in fine style to snatch the victory in heat ten and Wood then made it three wins out of three, denying Perry as Eagles secured a 4-2, with Brooks holding third, in the eleventh.

Brennan and Edwards continued to pile on the misery for the Colts in race twelve with a further maximum, one that stretched the scores to 48-24.

Wood carried out regardless with his fourth win in heat thirteen, Hume riding shotgun all the way ahead of Perry and Smith as the Eagles smashed through the fifty-point barrier, the scores now 53-25.

Powell completed a wholly impressive performance, winning the penultimate race ahead of Lawlor while Brooks did likewise against Dicken, the margin now stretching further to 30-points, 57-27.

Wood completed a glorious five ride maximum in the final race, riding under Perry into the third bend of lap one. Behind them Brennan was seeing off the challenge of Smith for a closing 4-2 to the Sussex side and a convincing 61-29 score line against the forlorn Belle Vue Colts.  


Eagles: Georgie Wood 15(5), Tom Brennan 12+1(5), Danyon Hume (Guest for Mark Baseby) 9+1(4), Charley Powell 9+1(4), Jason Edwards 8+1(4). Kelsey Dugard 4+3(4), Charlie Brooks 4+1(4). – 61

Colts: Tom Perry 10(5), Joe Lawlor 7(4), Jack Smith 5(5) Kean Dicken 4+1(6), Kyle Bickley 2+2(4),Paul Bowen 1(4), Ben Woodhull 0(2). – 29


Paul Watson