The history of Eastbourne speedway, in part, is the story of the Dugard family and this association has grown after the latest signing of fourth generation Kelsey.
Kelsey followed in the footsteps of great grandfather Charles, grandfather Bob and father Martin when he was announced as the Eagles’ sixth rider for the 2015 season last week.
After dropping from the Elite League last year, due to financial reasons, the Eagles will turn out in the National League with the 86-year-old club experiencing a transitional period.
16-year-old Kesley, who rode in the Junior British Championships, will look to follow in his father Martin’s legendary footsteps.
Martin was known to the speedway community as the Master of Arlington due to his impressive record on his home track .
Eagles chairman Martin is proud of his son but believes it won’t be an easy ride for the youngster.“It’s great if it goes to plan. He has to make it happen. It’s quiet a big step up for him,” said Martin.
For a family steeped in speedway history, their upbringing was bound to revolve around the shale track. “Most kids are brought up with a football in their garage but ours was always full of motorbikes. We’re not like your normal family.
“Like most people we live for the weekends, but only so we can get down to Arlington,” added Martin, who was the first British Speedway Grand Prix Champion.
Martin, who graced the track from 1985-2001, takes over from his father Bob as chairman of the Eagles for 2015, after a difficult year which saw the club drop to the National League.
Bob said, “We were unable to keep it going at the highest level. We lost £365 000. Now we are right back to where we started.
“But we have had some amazing achievements on the track over the years.”
Bob, who rode from 1958 to 1968, has handed the reigns over to son Martin and seen his grandson named the Eagles newest member.
“It will be very unfair to be compared with his father.
His father was a genuine living legend. Kelsey is very talented. He wants to go all the way, but you need a bit more than just talent,” added Bob.
Charles Dugard, Bob’s father, was instrumental in founding and progressing the club forward.
The Dugards have been ever present throughout the Eagles long and illustrious history. And the Dugard family’s thoughts were never far from Arlington.
“We spent every single minute we had in the stadium,” added Bob.
When the speedway club’s future became uncertain towards the end of last year chairman Martin Dugard decided to change towards a bottom up approach.
Martin said, “We’re trying to go to local schools and speak to kids about getting involved with the sport and the club. We’re hoping to build a junior track, getting junior riders coming through would be great.”