Eastbourne Eagles have unwrapped a great Christmas present for fans with the announcement that Lewis Bridger has signed a contract to ride at Arlington for the 2011 season.
Bridger, 21, has spent most of his career riding for the Sussex club but last season was on loan to Peterborough before moving to Coventry where he helped the Midlands side win the Elite League.
His name is the second one on the Eagles’ team sheet. Dane Bjarne Pedersen has already been confirmed as the club’s No. 1 for next year.
Club co-promoter Mike Bellerby said, “Obviously, it is excellent news that Lewis is returning to Arlington.
“He has ridden many stunning races here and we believe he comes back to the club as a stronger and much improved rider.
“His early-season problems in 2010 at Peterborough were well documented. Lewis recovered from those extremely well and made a significant contribution to Coventry’s success.
“His average of 5.10 makes him a very attractive proposition for us. We know Lewis can regularly score double figures at Arlington and believe last year’s experience will help him boost performances on away tracks.
“We also believe he will benefit from riding in the same team as the vastly experienced Bjarne Pedersen.”
Bridger, a former British Under 18 and Under 21 champion, last rode for the Eagles in 2009 and for a brief period held the No. 1 race-jacket, gained on the back of a string of stunning performances.
Team boss Trevor Geer said, “We are very pleased to have Lewis back. He is good enough to start the year at reserve and finish as the No. 1 rider.”
Bridger said, “If I am at reserve that means I can be banging in big points and earning some big money early in the season.
“But I don’t intend to stay down there for too long.”
Bridger has also agreed to ride for Polish outfit Gniezno.
The Eagles are believed to be interested in bringing back Joonas Kylmakorpi on a full transfer.
The ‘Flyin Finn’ was on loan at Arlington from Lakeside last season but the Essex outfit have confirmed he is not part of their plans for 2011.
Bellerby added, “I can assure supporters we are working hard behind the scenes both on team building and commercial matters.
“We have Lifestyle Europe back as our title sponsors and earlier this week announced four Partner Sponsors - Robins of Herstmonceux, Turner Engineering and V8 engines.eu, iGadgitz.com and Coastline Poster Services Ltd.