EASTBOURNE Eagles keep rising to the challenge but this week the bar seems to get significantly higher.
Earlier in the year, in the A fixture, Peterborough ran the Arlington boys close.
In Michael Jepsen Jensen and Linus Sundstrom, Peterborough have two of a new wave of young Danish riders who could keep their country on top of the world for years to come.
They are certainly a huge threat around Arlington and I really had an uncomfortable feeling about the match, until I saw the Peterborough team.
No Jepsen Jensen (international call), no Allen (injured) and none of their usual “double uppers” (required by parent teams).
So maybe it will not be quite such a test but I still think Peterborough will run the Eagles close.
Let’s look at the head to heads:
No 1s – Joonas Kylmakorpi v Kenneth Bjerre: You have to fancy Bjerre to be top dog. He’s had brilliant nights at Arlington in the past – he’ll be hard to catch if he gates.
No 2s – Lukas Dryml v rider replacement: All but Bjerre can take a ride in place of Jepsen Jensen but Dryml is once again on fire so he should win this battle.
No 3s – Simon Gustafsson v Jason Doyle: Doyle comes in as a guest for the injured Allen and although he will try hard, our Swede will win this hands down.
No 4s – Cameron Woodward v Linus Sundstrom: Woody will have to find his gating gloves in that shed of his if he is to win this battle. Verdict: Sundstrom.
No 5s – Lewis Bridger (or rider replacement) v Krzysztof Buczkowksi.
Bridger is due to have a try out on the day of the match to see if he is fit to take his place in the team.
The Eagles did well last week from R/R but a full seven-man team is better than just six riders.
When you ride one short, another injury usually spells disaster.
Peterborough’s No 5, Buczkowksi, is a top dog on his home track but may find the technical Arlington track a bit tricky.
Verdict: Clear success for Bridger (or R/R)... as long as Bridger is fit for ALL his rides. What we don’t want is him coming out for one heat and then withdrawing.
No 6s – Denis Gizatullin v Todd Kurtz: Another guest for Peterborough and Gizatullin should be in the points tonight.
No 7s – Timo Lahti v Norbert Kosciuk: Another Pole who may struggle at Arlington giving Lahti a chance of another big score.
Overall Hudson prediction: Eastbourne 54, Peterborough 38
My gut feeling about King’s Lynn proved true, up to a point.
I said their sum was greater than the individual parts and that looked to be the case over the opening races last Saturday.
With Ulrich Ostergaard and Kevin Wolbert winning races, an upset looked on the cards – until the home boys asserted their authority and then ran away with the match.A last race 5-1 reverse put a better gloss on the scoreline (53-37) but was probably deserved given their earlier effort.
So, the Lifestyle Eagles rose to the challenge and they certainly will have to do that on Saturday, with the match starting at 7.30pm.
After the Elite League meeting there is a junior challenge match against Lakeside. There is also a collection for the speedway riders’ benevolent fund.
Next week Eastbourne go Wolverhampton on Monday to take on a Wolves team who look to be at full strength, with both injury doubts, Nicola Klindt and Tai Woffinden, named in their team. On Wednesday, the Eagles are at King’s Lynn.
Points on the road are vital and Eastbourne must come back to East Sussex with something in their back pocket from these trips.