SPEEDWAY 2011-style ticked all the right boxes at Arlington on Sunday, writes Shaleman.
The Eastbourne Lifestyle Eagles won the opening challenge match against Poole with plenty to spare.
There was a decent crowd, it stayed dry and, most importantly, exciting racing was served up.
Club officials felt it had set everything up for a realistic challenge for Elite League honours. The boot was on the other foot on Wednesday when Poole extracted their revenge in the return challenge match, winning 54-39.
On the limited evidence of two challenge matches we have:
Eastbourne – good at home and struggling away from home.
It’s a familiar story and one the club will hope to change as the league season gets under way.
The home resolve will be put to the test tomorrow (Saturday) when the league campaign begins with a match against Wolverhampton (7.30pm).
Traditionally Wolves put up a good show at Arlington and with a top three of Freddie Lindgren, Tai Woffinden and track specialist, Peter Karlsson, they will prove doughty opponents. On paper they don’t have the strength in depth that Eastbourne have but come Saturday night at 10.30pm, we will better be able to judge the Eagles’ hopes for this year.
I have steered clear of the two hot topics in speedway: Coventry/Peterborough – are they back in the Elite League; and the new silencers.
Developments on both could happen between me writing (Wednesday evening) and publication on Friday morning.
All I will say is this: Coventry/Peterborough: Hope you really are back and that is (has) officially announced. Silencers: To my ear, not much difference but racing times were slower at Arlington on Sunday.
Is it my imagination, were the races that bit closer?
Polish speedway seems in total dispute with FIM over this. It’s a topic I will revisit during the season.
Sunday’s match in a nutshell
Result: Eastbourne 57, Poole 33
KO moment: Being flippant, when Dawid Lampart caused Poole riders Davey Watt (heat 4) and Renat Gafurov (heat 8) to fall and take no further part in the meeting.
In reality, this was one-way traffic and the home team won with plenty in hand. Fastest time: 57.2 by Lukas Dryml in heat one. urprise: Dryml blasting away to win heat one
Surprise (2): Lewis Bridger completing a meeting in total (almost) control of his bike. I will forgive him the wheelie late-on when romping to victory.
This was a head down, score-points show from Bridger. His style was good, not flamboyant – just how a points-piling machine should be.
Lewis, you can turn it on and give us all the moves when the match and points are in the bag – we’ll lap it up. But in the meantime, keep doing what you did on Sunday.
Sublime moments: Joonas Kylmakorpi in full flight, out on his own, winning races.
I have always loved the way this guy rides but on Sunday I was in raptures (OK, I haven’t seen speedway for a long time - but he looked great).