Eagles go for strength in depth for 2011

EASTBOURNE Speedway have gone for a strength-in-depth team for 2011, writes Paul Watson.

The club announced the final two members of side on Tuesday – Lukas Dryml and Dawid Lampart, both who rode for the Eagles last year.

There’s certainly a sense of continuity about the outfit, with only new No 1 Bjarne Pedersen having never been a member of the team before.

The team is: Bjarne Pedersen, Lewis Bridger, Simon Gustafsson, Cameron Woodward, Joonas Kylmakorpi, Lukas Dryml and Dawid Lampart.

Five of the team represented the Lifestyle Eagles in 2010 with Bridger being out on loan for a year at Peterborough and then Coventry.

Co-promoter Mike Bellerby said: “Last year’s riders really gelled as a team and that’s why we have brought as many back this year as we could.

“The results in the second half of the league season and in the cup were in part inspired by the great relationship the boys had with one another and the club.

“We want that feeling from the start and that’s why we are all having breakfast together at a restaurant near the track.

“It will allow the riders to catch up with one another after being apart during the winter and for the club to set out what we hope to achieve this year.”

The Press and Practice day at Arlington runs from noon to 3pm and is open to fans.

Bellerby added: “Both riders were very keen to come back to Eastbourne this year.

“We have all seen what Lukas can do and he’s a firm favourite on the terraces. Fans react superbly to the way he interacts with supporters during a meeting.

“Dawid will make an excellent No 7. Once he regained fitness last year, we could not fit him back into the team because of the other changes we had made.”

Bellerby believes the Eagles have a team with strength from top to bottom.

“It is no exaggeration to say that all seven of our riders are capable of scoring double figures,” he said.

First meeting for the Eagles will be a challenge match on Sunday, March 20 (5pm) against Poole . The Sussex side travel to Dorset for the return on Wednesday, March 23.

Eastbourne believe the opening challenge matches against Poole will be a good test and help the riders get everything set up for the start of the league campaign.

It also means the Eagles’ new No 1, 32-year-old Pedersen, will have an immediate “reunion” with his former team-mates at Poole.

He joined the Sussex club on loan this winter after riding in Dorset for nine years.

Bellerby said they had chosen the 5pm on a Sunday start time for the opening fixture because the day and time had proved popular at the end of last season during the KO Cup run.

He said: “It seems to work well for families. Children can take part in their usual sporting activities, such as football or rugby, and still get to Arlington in time for speedway.

“And the 5pm start time means youngsters can be home and off to bed ready for school the next day.”

Kylmakorpi is set to stage a testimonial meeting at Arlington during the coming season.

Bellerby said the rider was still working out what to do and to find a suitable date.

“It is difficult for him because he has a lot of fixtures and commitments to fit his own meeting around and get some of the top riders there.

“Once Joonas and we know more, we will keep everyone in the picture,” Bellerby said.

The fan’s forum will be on Sunday, Feburary 27 at noon with the meeting for track staff and officials on the same day, starting at 11am.