National League experience was key to Mason signing for Eagles

David Mason
David Mason

Eastbourne Speedway have named David Mason as their No 1 for next year’s National League campaign.

Mason, who lives less than five minutes from the Arlington track, is probably the country’s most experienced and successful rider at this level.

Club chairman Martin Dugard said, “As David himself admits, when it comes to the National League he has ‘been there, done that and got the teeshirt’.

“His knowledge and experience is fantastic for the club to have as we start a new era. He knows his way round this league like no other and we are delighted he has finally ‘come home’ to race for the Eagles.”

Mason, 38, nearly made his debut for Eastbourne in 1995 but was robbed of the chance by a track crash.

He and Darren Shand were vying for a reserve position that year and were pitched into a best-of-three contest to decide who would step up.

In the deciding third race, Mason was leading and then there was a big crash. It put Mason out of action and Shand into the team.

Mason’s first speedway rides were on the Eastbourne training track as a nine year old. For two years he was the club mascot.

He is the top points scorer at National League level and has won the league’s match race championship (the Bronze Helmet) more times than any other rider.

Mason said, “Martin (Dugard) contacted me to see whether I wanted to ride. I took it with both hands, really. It is a dream come true.

“It is absolutely perfect. It fits 100 per cent and I am looking forward to it.

“The team is shaping up well and we are going to be in with a shout for honours.”

Mason said he had already been able to help Eastbourne’s preparations for 2015 and would continue working with Martin and Connor Dugard in the build-up.

He also pledged to help the younger riders in the team. “I will always lend a hand. They can always ask me for advice. I love helping the kids out.”

In past years, Mason has been a familiar face in the Eastbourne pits having acted as a mechanic for Lewis Bridger, Lukas Dryml, Timo Lahti and Denis Gizatullin.

Sussex-born Marc Owen also joined the Eagles for the club’s 2015 campaign.

He was born in Burgess Hill, little more than half-an-hour from the Arlington track where he took his first rides in speedway as an eight-year-old.

Owen, 20, graduated through the 125cc and 250cc ranks before moving on to the 500cc machines.

Last year he rode for the King’s Lynn Young Stars in the National League where he finished with a 6.11 average.

He has also ridden for Newport (2009), Rye House Cobras in 2010 and Hackney in 2011.

The following year he went to the Isle of Wight but suffered a serious head injury and was ruled out of racing for nearly two years.