Eastbourne Lifestyle Eagles completed their 2013 team this week by naming Timo Lahti and Simon Gustafsson.
They return from last year’s side, along with Cameron Woodward, Lukas Dryml and Denis Gizatullin.
The other two members of the team are certainly not strangers: Bjarne Pedersen, who rode at Arlington in 2011, and Adam Shields, who last rode for the Eagles in 2006.
The signing of Shields was, to me, the greatest surprise. By and large the Eagles don’t do surprises but on this occasion they left me blind-sided.
I thought Shields had retired and had not got wind of his having a skid on the continent and regaining his enthusiasm.
Shields was a highly popular when he rode for the Eagles in the past and his blasts round the outside were legendary.
Some fans might find something of a problem with his return. They cheered him when he was an Eagle, booed him to the rafters when he went to Lakeside. Now he’s back: presumably to cheers.
I’m sad that Joonas Kylmakorpi is not back. He is so spectacular when in full flight but we are to be denied seeing that this year. Instead, Kylmakorpi is to concentrate his efforts on the continent and focus on the world long track championship. Fans have noted that his performances have tailed away at times in the season when the long track is at a critical stage.
You can’t blame him – one suspects that a world long track champion will draw good sponsorship on the continent where the sport is very popular.
Once Kylmakorpi had said he was on his way, the return of Pedersen was no surprise. Things did not go well for him last year at Birmingham and he seemed to find Arlington a “home from home”. There’s a good family atmosphere around and no immediate “slagging off” if things don’t go quite right.
Lewis Bridger moves to Lakeside and he may have talkedhimself out of a place in the Eagles’ team. He spoke publicly about wanting to double up in the Premier League this year. Edward Kennett, touted by many for a team spot at Eastbourne in 2013, did the same.
However, Eastbourne have not – and will not – entertain double up riders from the Premier League. Too many teams in the Premier ride on a Saturday night – clashing with Arlington – meaning they would miss far too many meetings.
So, it looks as if Kennett and Bridger were ruled out at an early stage but both have – to now – been unable to land a Premier League slot.
The major Sussex and Kent new and used car dealer, Lifestyle Europe, is back as the club’s headline sponsor for the fourth consecutive year. That was the big news last week, which I missed while working in the Exeter area.
A few years ago while in that area, I would also go to Exeter speedway; now sadly closed.
That really was a high-speed circuit where if you stood in the wrong place you were truly showered in shale.