Sixteen-day break for Eagles sees their lead in Elite League being eroded

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EASTBOURNE Speedway are in the midst of a 16-day break and are seeing their lead at the top of the Elite League eroded.

Poole fired in a big win at Coventry in front of the TV cameras on Monday while two days before the Lifestyle Eagles slumped to a shock home defeat at the hands of King’s Lynn.

It came two days after the Sussex club had put their season back on course with an impressive win at the Norfolk track.

Last Saturday was the first time this season that the team has been hit by FIM/continental calls on a Saturday and the gaps just could not be filled.Lukas Dryml, Simon Gustafsson and Joonas Kylmakorpi were all away. Captain Cam Woodward was still suffering the after effects of an horrendous crash at King’s Lynn. Man and machine were still feeling second-hand in the return at Arlington.

The Norfolk side went into a lead in the first heat and the Eagles could just not get back on level terms.

It was a pretty disappointing display all round; only brightened by Lewis Bridger who came on strong as the meeting developed. He took six points with a tactical ride in heat 14 and won heat 15 to give some respectability to the scoreline (45-48).

And while talking of Bridger it is worth noting that he has an important engagement in Eastbourne town centre tomorrow (Saturday) where he is supporting his aunt at a book signing session.

Trisha Bridger, from Uckfield, wrote Why Can’t I Fly for her young daughter Niamh and has published it to raise money for Diabetes UK.

Trisha and Lewis will be signing books at Waterstones in Eastbourne from noon until 1.30pm.

Lewis (pictured) said: “When I first found out my cousin Niamh had diabetes it was a great shock as she was so young.

“She is extremely brave and I am so proud of her.

“She is always smiling and is very bubbly despite of her diabetes.

“When I first heard about my aunt’s book, I thought it was a brilliant idea, especially as it is raising money for diabetes.

“The story is great fun for all young children and it is about children wanting to bounce on everything and trying to fly.

“It also has a clever message within the book about not giving up on your dreams.”

Lewis added: “I hope everyone will come and support the signing. I know my Auntie Trisha has been very busy with all her book signings around the country and she is doing a great thing for raising awareness and money for diabetes which is an important charity.

“I am very much looking forward to doing this book signing with her.”

As a side-note, one of the Eastbourne Eagles’ legends, Gordon Kennett, discovered he had diabetes while riding.

Eastbourne are back in action a week on Monday (May 23) when they host Peterborough; a match being broadcast live by Sky Sports.

It is the first of what is usually two Sky matches at Arlington during the season. However, they may be back more often if the Eagles continue to run at the top of the table and go on to make the play-offs.

It is a bit of a balance for the club: TV exposure is welcome but generally crowds are much lower than they are for matches held on a Saturday night.

In the winter club senior promoter Bob Dugard appealed to fans to try and get along to the Sky meetings, so as to lift the atmosphere.

Sky obviously compensate clubs where they film live (as well as paying for the overall rights to broadcast) but it is touch and go at best if the night’s compensation from Sky covers the loss of supporters.

Monday week’s meeting should be more popular than most – it heralds the return of Nicki Pedersen to Arlington; leading the Peterborough side.

More of that next week.