GOOD FRIDAY speedway at Arlington was anything but good – in fact, it looked very much like a horror story as Eastbourne lost the first four races 5-1 to Lakeside.
The Eagles had also lost the away match in the afternoon and there was a pretty numb feeling around the terraces.
Without records to prove the point one way or the other, I’m guessing it was the worst start to a league match by Eastbourne at home – ever. Trevor Geer, the long-standing team boss, certainly could not remember such an awful beginning. Eastbourne did edge back into the match through use of the double points tactical rule (and no, I don’t change my opinion from last week) and a home 5-1 in the last race did prevent Lakeside taking an extra bonus point for winning away by more than seven points.
What went wrong?
Eastbourne didn’t have a number one rider and the rider replacement rule was, in the circumstances, about as much good as a chocolate fireguard. With Joonas Kylmakorpi out injured and with every Elite League club in action, the Eagles had no option but to use R/R to cover his rides, but it was a painful experience.
Kylmakorpi is hoping to be fit and back on track in early May in time for the home match against Coventry. With some topsy-turvy results over Easter, the Eagles can still get back into the thick of the fight for the Elite League in the next week.
They face Wolves at home tomorrow (Saturday, 7.30pm) with the return fixture on Monday.
Then follows a quick home and away double with Peterborough with the East Anglian club due at Arlington a week on Saturday.
Quite rightly Geer said he was targeting wins in all four matches.
If that happens, the Good Friday massacre will be but a bad memory.
Eastbourne draft guest Edward Kennett into the No1 race jacket on Saturday, with Birmingham’s Danny King taking the job at Wolverhampton.
Kennett, who was brought up close to Arlington and learned his trade at the club, should ensure the Eagles have plenty of fire in the home match.
Wolves Fredrik Lindgren and Tai Woffinden should prove plenty of entertainment but after that the visitors do not look too much of a threat and it should be a routine day at the office for the home boys...
However, on the evidence so far, the whole Eastbourne team have problems in making good starts and that could be theirAchilles heel.
They certainly don’t need anyone to tell them that... they see it for themselves – every time they go out on track. As you would expect, the riders are working hard to eradicate the problems but some of them seem a little “spooked” by the home track not being as they expect it. It’s something you hear from speedway riders from time to time.
The away team just turns and rides what it sees.
The home team turns up and rides what it wants to see. Strange that – best tell the Eagles that any match at Arlington is an away fixture.