THERE’S only one man to talk about in this week’s column: Lukas, Lukas Dryml (as his support club are apt to sing).
It’s a cliché but Dryml is on fire. Twice in three days he was the man who saved the Eastbourne Lifestyle Eagles from some terrible embarrassment.
He’s dropped to reserve this month for the Eagles but is riding like a heat-leader.
The Czech Republic rider notched 17 points (plus three bonus) at Arlington on Saturday night in the 50-40 KO Cup quarter-final win against Wolves. He was only once headed by an opponent.
On Monday night, in front of the Sky TV cameras, Dryml was at it again, scoring 20 (plus one bonus) points from seven rides; this included one six-point haul as a tactical ride.
Dryml is something of an enigma. He made the Grand Prix series before a serious injury halted his progress.
Out of the GPs, he struggled for form. Known as a “big track” rider, the news three years ago that Dryml was coming to Eastbourne was greeted by surprise in some quarters and derision in others.
But Eagles’ chief Bob Dugard knew his man. Dryml has repaid that faith and made those who sneered look silly.
Dryml will have you know that he is the fastest man around Arlington at the moment – the figures back that up and you can see it with your own eyes.
In the lead he stretches away from the very best.
Chasing opponents, he can close gaps like lightning but trouble comes when a team-mate is in front and Dryml has to tuck in behind.
This he finds hard. A couple of weeks ago he fell when behind Joonas Kylmakorpi and against Wolves he and Lewis Bridger got into an awful muddle in one race.
These problems were caused by, as much as anything, his team-mates not appreciating how fast Dryml was going.
On Saturday the Eagles forged a ten-point lead from the first leg of the cup tie.
It leaves the second leg nicely poised, although team manager Trevor Geer fully believes the Eagles can go to the Midlands later in the season and win the second leg.
Monday was bitterly disappointing, losing out on a bonus league point by only one race point (final score: Coventry Bees 46 Eastbourne Eagles 39).
And Eastbourne reserve Timo Lahti also fell in one race. As there were only three riders going round, if he had stayed on, Eastbourne would have secured that precious league point.
The Finn’s team position is in jeopardy. On Saturday he showed a flash of his possible form when heading Arlington specialist Peter Karlsson for three laps but he will need to do much more in what could be his last match for the Eagles next month.
The problem over Lahti’s form is complicated by the rules. He came into the team with an assessed average of four points because he had not ridden in the UK before.
New rules brought in this year means riders brought in on assessed averages have to complete a minimum number of meetings before they can be replaced.
What makes the situation worse for Eastbourne is that they will only be allowed to replace Lahti with a three point rider. This is because he has scored so few points.
So the Eagles could be looking for a three point rider. Who might it be? I don’t know – there are no obvious candidates and the fans will be looking for the management team of Dugard, Geer and Bellerby to pull a rabbit out of the hat.
There’s no action at Arlington for a while. The meeting scheduled for July 2 has been postponed because five of the Eagles are in a GP qualification round and the week after there is no EL speedway because of speedway’s world cup.
So, no column for a while but I’ll be back when the bikes are ready to roar again at Arlington.
Watch this space for any developments in the interim.