THERE has been plenty of good news coming out of Europe for Eastbourne Speedway fans.
The most important is that No. 1 rider Joonas Kylmakorpi has returned from injury and been in fine form. He’s been fit for quite a while now but due to a fixture clash and the long June lay-off for the Eagles he’s not been back to Arlington.
In his absence, the Lifestyle Eagles have had to use guest riders as replacements or the rider replacement rule.
It’s been OK – up to a point. The difficulty has been that it has been really awkward to get a guest on occasions. Finding a rider with the right average has proved to be only part of the problem.
The foreign riders have not seemed keen to break their schedules to takes an extra match in the UK and there have been cases of English riders turning down the chance or some extra rides and some extra money. All very strange, in my view.
Kylmakorpi is due back for the Eagles on Monday, June 25, when Eastbourne take on Lakeside at Arlington in an Elite League B fixture.
It is set to be the first time the Eagles have gone into a match with their full team since their second match of the season when Kylmakorpi crashed out of heat one and suffered shoulder injuries.
Team manager Trevor Geer said: “The injury to Joonas took longer to heal than both he and we expected. The good news is that he has been fit for the best part of a month and has come back brilliantly.
“I spoke to his Polish promoters at the funeral for Lee Richardson last week and they were very impressed.
“In the last couple of weeks he has come second in a world championship qualifier in Austria and won the opening round of the world long track GP series.
“These results show he is fully recovered and in superb form. It is great to have our No. 1 back and I certainly looking forward to putting out our full team against the Lakeside Hammers.”
In the Elite League A fixture on Good Friday, Lakeside won both the home and away matches and Geer is looking for his team to exact some revenge for those defeats in front of the Sky Sports TV cameras on Monday, June 25.
Eastbourne have a free meal deal in place for the Lakeside match. Every adult, concession and youth supporter passing through the turnstiles that night will receive a special voucher that can be redeemed for a free meal at one of the stadium’s three food outlets.
As previously announced, season ticket holders will also receive a voucher at the turnstiles. Only admissions on the Kids A Quid scheme are excluded.
Sports editor’s note: This is Shaleman’s last speedway column for the Express. He’s written thousands of words for us about the Eagles over recent years and I thank him for his contributions. Other commitments mean he no longer has time to write for us but our coverage of the Eagles will continue with our new writer introduced next week.