Pride is at stake for the Eastbourne Eagles when they take on Peterborough at Arlington tonight (Saturday).
The team needs to show fight and determination to beat the East Anglians and help wipe out the memories of the terrible beating they suffered at home to Poole a fortnight ago.
That result doesn’t get much less painful as time goes by. There’s no doubt about it, heads went down as the Poole onslaught reached full force and the Eagles buckled. To be fair – and to put the result in some context – Belle Vue didn’t do an awful lot better when they met Poole a few days later.
Peterborough will prove an interesting challenge. They are bottom of the league despite having a wealth of riders on their books. It does look as if they picked the wrong ones for 2013 but in speedway things are often not as simple as that.
There used to be a time when Peterborough were traditionally poor at Arlington. The only thing to be decided, it seemed, was how many points beyond 60 would the Eagles score. Those days have gone and the Panthers usually provide good entertainment and a close match.
They, like Eastbourne, have injury worries. Linus Sundstrom and Kenni Larsen are both out but they have Eastbourne track expert Kenneth Bjerre at No 1.
Eagles use rider replacement for Lukas Dryml at No 5 with new signing Kim Nilsson moving to the No 2 position. Timo Lahti drops to reserve.
Lahti is proving to be an enigma. In 2011 he joined the Eagles and struggled big time. Last year, particularly from the reserve berth, he could not stop scoring points.
This year he has scratched around a lot of the time but has still proved he can win races. It’s all about consistency. The 2013 Eagles are good enough – if (and that is proving to be a big if) they all ride to their ability at the same time.
That is something they have singularly failed to do away from home and at Arlington for much of the time. Tapes up tonight at 7.30pm.