Eagles will start as underdogs vs Poole

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EASTBOURNE Speedway team gets back into action tomorrow (Saturday) for what is bound to be one of their toughest matches of the season.

Even though the match is at Arlington (7.30pm), the Lifestyle Eagles will start as underdogs.

The visitors are defending league champions Poole.

The Dorset side have not lost in the league this year (at the time of writing).

They have the top two riders in the league – Darcy Ward and Chris Holder.

Eagles will be without No 1 Joonas Kylmakorpi and third heatleader Simon Gustafsson, both taking part in a world championship qualifying event.

Rider replacement will be used to cover for Kylmakorpi, who has made his return from injury by racing in Poland at the weekend, and the guest for Gustafsson will be Jason Doyle.

Doyle was not the name on everyone’s lips when it came to choosing a guest and, I believe, team boss Trevor Geer, has found it difficult to persuade some riders to take a guest booking on Saturday night.

In the circumstances, Doyle is a canny choice.

He’s ridden for Poole in the past and has put in some pretty decent scores around Arlington. He’s a bit of a gater but if he gets away can be hard to overtake.

You have to say that any bookmaker would make Poole pretty hot favourites to take the match but the visitors are not without problems.

Their match-winning No 5, Adrian Miedzinski, is also missing from the match and they will use rider replacement to cover his rides. Ludvic Lindgren takes a reserve slot instead of Sam Masters, who has done well in the past at Eastbourne.

Geer admitted this week that Eastbourne would have to be at the very top of their game if they are to beat Poole but believes his side will rise to the occasion.

The heady mixture of local derby, intense rivalry between the clubs over the years, Doyle wanting to show his former ‘masters’ what they are missing and a backs-to-the-wall fighting attitude from the remaining Eagles could be enough to do the trick.

Lewis Bridger and Cameron Woodward are in pretty good nick; both recording successes in Germany at the weekend.

Lukas Dryml has requested a practise before Saturday – such sessions seem to give him confidence to carry over into the meeting.

Geer accurately summed up the situation when he said: “We have been a thorn in their side in the past and there’s no reason why we cannot pull off a result on Saturday.

“We need all our boys to be fired up and if they are, we certainly stand a chance of winning.

“We are ready and the lads know we cannot afford any slip-ups if we are to win.”

The funeral for Lee Richardson will take place in Hastings on June 7.

This is for family and invited friends.

Following the service, a wake starting at 3pm will be held at Eastbourne’s Arlington Stadium to which all are welcome. Casual dress code.

The wake is likely to attract a number of riders, I believe, such is the grief felt throughout the sport by Richardson’s death in a track crash in Poland last month.