Eagles aim to get back on track after Rico tragedy

Scott Nicholls
Scott Nicholls

Eastbourne Eagles face a tough challenge this week as they meet twice in three days on the back of an emotional week following the death of fellow rider Lee Richardson.

All were deeply saddened to hear about the tragic death of former Eagle Richardson in a crash in Poland last week.

They must now face the difficult task of not letting it affect their performance as they meet with Swindon on Saturday and Belle Vue on Monday.

The Robins travel to the Arlington Arena just the day after they make the trip to Lakeside for their first meet in over a month after eight consecutive postponements.

Eastbourne and Swindon were due to meet at the Abbey Stadium last Thursday but bad weather ensured that meet was duly called off, resulting in Eastbourne not having rode in two weeks prior to their clash on Saturday.

The Eagles have drafted in Coventry’s Scott Nicholls as a guest rider for this weekend’s fixture following the continued absence of Joonas Kylmakorpi.

Kylmakorpi was expected back earlier this month but a recent MRI scan has frustratingly ruled him out for another two to three weeks.

The Eagles are currently struggling to find a short-term replacement for their number one as all the top riders are already tied up to other commitments.

Eastbourne have not yet found a guest rider for Monday when they travel to Manchester for a third attempt at the meet with Belle Vue after two previous fixtures fell victim to the rain.

Like Eastbourne, Belle Vue have lost their number one rider after Rory Schlein broke the fifth metatarsal in his left foot in a fall against Birmingham this week.

The captain must now face an operation and so will be unavailable for the Eagles’ visit on Monday.

Belle Vue are rooted at the foot of the Elite League table without a point to their name so far this season. Eastbourne claimed victory over them in the opening day of the campaign by a 55-40 margin.

However, Eastbourne have yet to pick up points on their travels following three defeats on the road to Kings Lynn, Lakeside and Wolverhampton.

They will be hoping this trend is broken as they look to retain their second-place spot in the table with a double victory weekend.

Swindon and Poole are hot on their heels in fourth and fifth place respectively, although both having played five meets less than the Eagles.

There will be a minute’s silence before the tapes rise on Saturday in memory of former Eastbourne and Swindon rider, Richardson.