Speedway by Shaleman

THREE points bagged by the Eastbourne Eagles at home on Monday night keeps them happily atop the Elite League.

Peterborough made the home team work hard but it was really only the visitors’ success with two tactical rides that kept the scores close.

For the Lifestyle Eagles there were plenty of positives and the big thing is that this team can still get better.

In other words, you ain’t seen othing yet.

Just look at the facts:

n The Eagles scored 55 points;

n Peterborough’s 41 points included six scored by the double points rule;

n Bjarne Pedersen was excluded once for tape touching;

n Lewis Bridger fell off once;

n Joonas Kylmakorpi couldn’t quite get his bike to hook up properly as the meeting went on;

n Cam Woodward has a new engine coming from a super-tuner;

n Lukas Dryml fell off once;

n Simon Gustafsson was some way short of his best;

n Timo Lahti did not score a point but next time out he will powered by Jawa.

At the moment he is using GM engines whereas in Sweden he is used to riding a Jawa power-plant. He is also going to bring his Swedish clutch with him to use in England.

Team boss Trevor Geer still has faith in Lahti; after all the young Finn won his first ever ride in England at the tight Lakeside track and then at King’s Lynn – a wide, fast circuit – popped out with Woodward to take a 5-1 in heat two.

Geer and senior promoter Bob Dugard believe Lahti is worth persevering with and that the change of engine and clutch will see him soon scoring points.

You can see what I mean when I say this Eastbourne team has still got plenty of vroom, vroom in the tank.

They are going to need it. Some of the big guns of the Elite League are getting into their stride. Poole are looking ominous (no change there, then) and Coventry have made one of the most audacious signings speedway has seen for a long time.

Their No.1 Hans Andersen is out injured and they have replaced him with Russian Emil Sayfutdinov – one of the sport’s most exciting riders.

He’s box office: the rider the fans want to see.

He’s sure to put bums on seats when he comes to Arlington later in the year.

One mystery – to me at least – was that Sayfutdinov sailed through the visa restrictions on Russians. When Eastbourne tried to sign Denis Gizatullin we were thwarted because he could not speak English sufficiently well to get a visa; which in any case would take weeks to come through.

Research on the internet, which I cannot separately verify, suggests that Sayfutdinov gained Polish citizenship in 2009 but will continue to represent Russia at international level. As a Pole (an EU country) there are no visa requirements.

Don’t ask: I don’t understand, either, how he can be a Russian at international level and a Pole when it comes to domestic speedway; apparently he is classed as Polish for team-building purposes in Poland.

I’m not complaining; I want to see Sayfutdinov riding in England but I’m just a little bit bewildered.

Returning to Monday’s meeting at Arlington, the disappointment was that Nicki Pedersen missed the match through injury.

Most were looking forward to the return of the three-times world champion who was the star name for the Eagles from 2003 to 2007.

And with no B fixture against Peterborough, the only hope we have of seeing Nicki at Arlington this year is either in the KO Cup or possibly the play-offs.