National League high flyers, the Birmingham Brummies, were brought down to earth by Eastbourne last night (June 30) at Arlington Stadium.

The Forman IT Eagles inflicted the Second City club’s first defeat in the league this year and in the process moved up to fourth in the league.

There were two big battlegrounds that decided the 49-41 win.

One was at heat leader level where the home side’s Georgie Wood, Tom Brennan and Mark Baseby engaged in a huge fight with the league’s top rider, Tom Bacon, and his support cast of James Shanes and Danyon Hume.

The second battle was at reserve where Kelsey Dugard and Nick Laurence totally outpointed their Brummie opponents.

The heat leaders had a tougher time: early on it was the Birmingham boys who were taking the chequered flag but eventually the Eagles managed to gain some equilibrium and tipped the result in Eastbourne’s favour.

Jason Edward also put in a strong supporting performance for the Eagles.

Captain Mark Baseby said the victory marked yet another upward tick in Eastbourne’s performances this year.

He said: “It was a great performance. I still think we have got a bit more left in the tank.

“Things didn’t go all our own way tonight but credit to Birmingham – they did really well but we are a good side.”

Baseby said the track was a bit slick and he had some bike problems but “basically, we woke up and pulled together and did it”.

He added: “We have a bit of a break now. We are all going to freshen up and sort our engines out.

“I think we still have improvement to come and Birmingham were on their limit.”

Baseby also sent Eastbourne’s best wishes to the Brummies rider Mitchell Davey who was seriously injured earlier in the season.


EASTBOURNE 49: Georgie Wood 11+1, Tom Brennan 9+1, Kelsey Dugard 8+2, Jason Edwards 8+2, Mark Baseby 7, Nick Laurence 6+3, Charley Powell r/r.

BIRMINGHAM 41: Tom Bacon 13, Danyon Hume 10+1, James Shanes 9, Leon Flint 6+2, Callum Walker 2+1, Arran Butcher 1, Jamie Bursill 0.

*Charley Powell had an operation on his broken collarbone this afternoon and was expected to spend the night in hospital.

Here's the Kevin Ling verdict on the action

Eastbourne ‘Forman IT’ Eagles maintained their unbeaten home record in 2018 on Saturday but they were forced to dig deep against lively visitors, the Birmingham Brummies.

The Perry Barr outfit arrived in Sussex vaunting an impressive haul of five straight National League victories from their five outings so far.

This included a midweek win away to the Isle of Wight as well as their becoming the first visiting team to triumph at the National Speedway Stadium in the third tier of racing.

A tight opening to Saturday’s encounter and for a time it appeared they might apply similar strain to Eastbourne’s home dominance.

However, as the match progressed Eastbourne eased clear of their opponents to dispatch them back to the Midlands with no reward to show for their efforts.

They did know however that they had been in a match.

Both sets of heat leaders seemed well matched, each of the team’s respective top three winning races, however the battle was truly won in the lower order.

Jason Edwards turned in another quality performance, outscoring his contemporary Leon Flint.

Reserve strength proved key to the outcome with Kelsey Dugard marking a wholly productive return from injury to record two heat wins and two vital 5-1s in heats two and eight which ultimately proved the difference between the teams.

Nick Laurence also put in another shift as a guest for Charlie Brooks to record paid nine-points from his six outings.

One of the sections leading lights, Tom Bacon, put a marker down right from the get go, inflicting a rare Arlington defeat on home number one Georgie Wood for an opening share of the spoils.

Dugard and Laurence duly combined to do the necessary in race two, a comfortable 5-1 at the expense of Arran Butcher and Jamie Bursill, putting Eastbourne 8-4 to the good.

Deadlock was immediately restored however as recent Brummies capture James Shanes, together with Flint posted an immediate retort; Eagles skipper Mark Baseby unable to make up the ground following an early tussle with Flint.

The scores remained for each of the next four races, the Brummies Danyon Hume and Bacon in particular showing their worth, the duo sharing duties to prove the first man home in each of the next three.

Hume got the better of Tom Brennan and Dugard in the fourth, forcing his way to the front down the back straight of lap one.

Bacon then made it two out of two in a restarted race five, seeing off Baseby’s challenge with Dugard again followed in third.

Wood had his colours lowered for a second time, this time by Hume in heat six though Edwards secured the odd point to keep the match scores level at 18-18.

Brennan halted the Brummies apparent stranglehold on heat wins in the next as he powered home ahead of both Shanes and Flint to maintain equilibrium.

Dugard and Edwards provided some daylight between the two sides with maximum points in race eight to set the scores at 26-22.

Hume secured a third race win for him personally in the ninth, Baseby and Laurence following him to the chequered flag and still the 4-point disparity remained in place, the scores now moving to 29-25.

Wood returned to his winning ways in heat ten, Shanes playing second fiddle to the home number one.

With Edwards also getting the better of hot prospect Flint, 6-points was now the difference, the Eagles now leading the Brummies 33-27.

Brennan handed a first defeat to Bacon in heat eleven but the visitors remained within sight of their hosts as Callum Walker was able to keep Dugard at bay.

Eagles moved further to the good as Baseby joined the party with a win over Shanes in the twelfth. With Laurence seeing off Butcher the resultant 4-2 saw Eagles move ever closer to the win on the night with the scores now standing at 40-32.

Still the imposing presence of Bacon and Hume stood in their way and still could have had a final say.

Although from the gate, a cracking close fought race saw Bacon take a further win but importantly behind him Wood and Brennan combined to keep Hume at bay, the first points he had dropped throughout the evening.

A brace of 5-1s could still have drawn the Brummies level but although took the win, Edwards and Laurence filled the minor places to guarantee Eastbourne the win on the night, the scores now standing at 46-38 with just the one race to contest.

Bacon took up the early running in heat fifteen but Wood and Brennan followed close at heel applying strong pressure to the Brummies number one.

Wood forced his way past but as Brennan attempted to do similar, Bacon came off the worst and took a tumble.

Brennan was judged to be at fault for Bacon’s misfortune and the Eagle was duly excluded.

Wood was awarded the win with Bacon and Hume second and third but with the final score resting at 49-41 it was the Sussex side who were left celebrating the victory and the Brummies ruing a first National League defeat in Season 2018.          


Eagles: Georgie Wood 11+1(5), Tom Brennan 9+1(5), Jason Edwards 8+2(5). Kelsey Dugard 8+2(5), Mark Baseby 7(4), Nick Laurence (Guest for Charlie Brooks) 6+3(6), Rider Replacement for Charley Powell. – 49

Brummies: Tom Bacon 13(5), Danyon Hume 10+1(5), James Shanes 9(4) Leon Flint 6+1(4), Callum Walker 2+1(4), Arran Butcher 1(4), Jamie Bursill (Guest)l 0(4). – 41