Alfie Bowtell was the centre of attention for Eastbourne Speedway on Saturday as the Eagles defeated Edinburgh Monarchs 54-36.
He showed a marked improvement in form but was also at the centre of an on-track melee.
His improvement was partly down to mechanical changes and to work on his engine by Eagles’ legend, Martin Dugard.
Bowtell’s win in heat two signalled an uptick in performance and he looked ‘racey’ throughout the meeting, none more so than in heat 14 which sparked a mass, but brief, fight.
Edinburgh’s Joel Andersson led and Bowtell tried for an inside pass, which he misjudged and brought the visitor down.
The Fineprint Eagle was immediately disqualified from the race but Andersson jumped up to confront his opponent. Punches were thrown, mechanics and others ran to the scene from the pits and a melee developed.
Order was quickly restored and then referee Christina Turnbull meted out the punishment. The two riders were severely reprimanded, as were their respective team managers, Will Pottinger (Eastbourne) and John Cambell.
After the meeting, Bowtell reflected on the changes to his bike which made such a big difference.
He said: “I have ironed out a few clutch problems I have been having. The scores tonight didn’t reflect how I rode so, hopefully onwards and upwards”.
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The work Dugard did before the meeting was to check and adjust the tappets.
Bowtell added: “They were rock solid. Martin said ‘that’s your problem’ and tonight I have looked a lot more lively. Hopefully, that will resolve a lot of my issues along with the clutch.”
Eastbourne established a lead from the off against Edinburgh. Captain Edward Kennett was unbeaten by an opponent, Richard Lawson suffered just one defeat and Lewi Kerr was also in double figures.
Ben Morley also put in an improved shift, along with Georgie Wood whose resurgence in form is continuing. Kyle Newman suffered bike problems but he won his last ride.
Eastbourne Speedway manager Pottinger commented: “It was a good all round performance. The three heat leaders were all in double figures and everyone else contributed good points.”
There is no speedway at Arlington now until July 27, unless a fixture is slotted in on the 20th.
The Eagles’ quest to open their account in the Championship league away from home continues on Sunday with a trip to Sheffield.