Kerr's broken collarbone mars Eastbourne Eagles' cup victory
Eastbourne Eagles took a huge step towards the next round of the Championship Knock-Out Cup.
They beat Kent 58-32 in the first leg of their first round tie. The HG Aerospace Eagles took the match by the scruff of the neck from the off, establishing a 20-4 lead after four races.
The mauling continued until mid meeting when the home side lost captain Lewi Kerr to an awkward crash in heat nine. Medics initially diagnosed a broken collarbone. At that point, the score was 38-16. Some drawn races followed before the Eagles eased further into the distance in the closing stages.
Kent’s only heat advantage came in the last race when Scott Nicholls and Paul Starke managed a 4-2. Drew Kemp arrived at Arlington Stadium in the nick of time having travelled from Gdansk, Poland, where he was instrumental in Great Britain picking up the bronze medal in the World U-19 Pairs Championship. His efforts for the Eagles saw him pick up the rider-of-the-afternoon award from sponsors, HG Aerospace.
Eastbourne team manager Trevor Geer was surprised at the margin of victory. He said: “I thought it would be a real tight meeting but to take 26-point lead to Kent for the second leg is fantastic. The KO Cup a competition we always like to do well in. Eastbourne have always thrived on it and it was good all-round team effort. The injury to Lewi, however, rather marred it for us.”
Top scorer for the Eagles was Tom Brennan and Geer commented: “Tom has come on leaps and bounds from 18 months ago. He looks really good.”
Brennan said: “I think the whole team is settling in now. It was unfortunate about Lewi and we wish him all the best and hope he will be back soon. For me, getting out of the starts was key and also trying to ‘read’ the track as best we could. I have a great team behind me. Kyle Cummings has been amazing for me and is setting up the bike up perfectly.”
Brennan said that after every meeting there is a major debrief with his team to analyse everything that happened. “We look to see what we can do better. We take baby steps forwards every week.”
Geer played tribute to the track staff who managed to keep the meeting dust free. “They did exceptionally well,” he said. “We had baking sun all afternoon and there wasn’t a bit of dust; unlike the old days when I was riding and you couldn’t see for dust. “They did a brilliant job.”
Scorers: Eastbourne 58: Tom Brennan 13, Richard Lawson 11, Drew Kemp 9+2, Kyle Newman 7+2, Jason Edwards 7+2, Edward Kennett 6+3, Lewis Kerr 5.
Kent 32: Scott Nicholls 12, Paul Starke 10, Broc Nicol 3+1, Jack Thomas 2+1, Ben Morley 2, Paul Hurry 2, Tom Bacon 1.