The Eastbourne Eagles are all fired up and raring to go ahead of their challenging meet with Poole Pirates this weekend.
The south coast rivals battled it out for the Elite League title last year, with the Pirates just edging out the Eagles to claim the crown.
Now, the sides meet again on Saturday night in a mouth-watering tie expected to attract a big crowd to the Arlington Stadium.
The Eagles head into the match somewhat the underdogs with Poole boasting top spot in the table and an unbeaten record so far this season.
However, with the Eagles also enjoying a recent good run of form, an upset may not be too far away.
Eagles boss Trevor Geer said, “If the guys all ride to what they’re capable of, there’s no reason we can’t get a result.
“They’re all determined, they’re all confident and they’re all ready for the challenge. It’s easy for them to get fired up for big meets like this.”
The Eagles, however, will be without Simon Gustafsson and Joonas Kylmakorpi who are both away in Austria racing in a Grand Prix World Qualifying round.
Geer has drafted in Jason Doyle, a Somerset and Swindon rider, to guest for Simon Gustafsson and will use rider replacement to fill in for Joonas.
Geer said, “Jason is in a great bit of form lately so I think he could do a job for us. Then the other guys can all take one of Joonas’ four rides each and hopefully step up to take the points.
“Joonas is fit again after a good weekend of riding in Poland and now we’re just looking forward to having him back.”
Kylmakorpi wasn’t the only rider to be in action over the weekend, with Cameron Woodward, Lewis Bridger, Timo Lahti and Lukas Dryml all squeezing in extra practice in preparation for Saturday’s meet.
“Cameron and Lewis both had quite successful meets in Germany over the weekend, so that was good. Timo, unfortunately, didn’t do very well but he was put into the top league in Poland and I think it was a real eye-opener for him. He’s still very young.
“Lukas is also showing good determination and has asked to get some extra practice at Arlington before Saturday.”
Poole have their own obstacle to overcome ahead of this weekend’s match too though.
A very tight schedule sees the Dorset outfit host Wolverhampton and then travel to Peterborough on consecutive nights in the week leading up to their trip to Eastbourne.
While Geer believes this could work in their favour, he will also be hoping for a defeat for Poole in order to halt the momentum they are currently building. After Saturday’s clash, the Eagles face what Geer describes as ‘the longest mid-season break I’ve ever seen’ as they don’t race again until June, 25 when they host Lakeside.