Eastbourne Eagles Co-promoter Trevor Geer wants the club to get back to its roots as they prepare for life in the National League.
After their Elite League license was put on hold for a year, the Eagles will compete in what is essentially the sport’s development league and, while Geer is disappointed at having to drop out of the top league, he wants to use it as an opportunity to encourage more young locals into the sport.
“That’s what we need and what Eastbourne needs to survive,” he said.
“Eastbourne has been at the forefront in bringing through young riders but it has been a bit stagnant in the last ten years or so.”
Geer was a rider for the Eagles himself in the 1970s and 80s.
He was part of the team, affectionately known as the kamikaze kids because of their on-track antics, consisting largely of local riders.
“Let’s get it back to how it was in the 70s & 80s,” he added.
“We had mostly riders from Sussex and Kent. Nearly the whole team was local and we want to get it back to that.
“That’s what excites local people and is the thing that will get the crowds coming through the gates again.
“Speedway is also one sport where people can earn a decent living if they can reach the top.””
Getting fans on side is one of the key challenges facing the team next year.
Dwindling attendances played a part in the club’s demise as the Eagles found themselves financially crippled as a result.
A club spokesman echoed Geer’s words and said that competing at a lower level will help the club financially.
The spokesman said, “It is well documented that it will not be viable for us to compete in next year’s Elite League competition and it has been agreed that our Elite League licence can be put on hold for a year.
“We see the National League as the perfect way of continuing speedway racing at Arlington.
“The costs will be significantly lower and international events will not affect our meetings as they have done in recent years.
“The National League will also enable us to run a team with a more local flavour which, we hope, will be attractive to supporters.”
Fans are still awaiting exact details about the running of the National League but the spokesman said they would be made public soon.
It has been confirmed that the application to joint the National League is being made by the current operating company and does not involve any third parties.
Elsewhere, the club are set to hold their annual presentation nigh tomorrow (Saturday).
Tickets are going fast and fans are being asked to vote for their rider of the year.
You can vote by going to their website: http://www.eastbourneeagles.co/.
You must vote before 5.30pm on Saturday, September 27. Any votes cast after that time will not be counted. The winner will be announced on the night.
Admission to the night is free for everybody but you must book your place by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.