Pedersen returns as Eagles’ number one

Bjarne Pedersen
Bjarne Pedersen

Returning rider Bjarne Pedersen will again go into the Eastbourne Lifestyle Eagles team as their number one, it was announced this week.

After Simon Gustafsson and Timo Lahti put pen to paper to complete the Eagles’ 2013 line-up, it was decided Pedersen will step into the shoes of the departing Joonas Kylmakorpi as the club’s number one rider.

The Dane, who left the Sussex Club in 2012 to join the Birmingham Brummies, led the Eagles to a second-place Elite League finish the year previous, but they narrowly lost out to Poole in the play-offs.

Team manager Trevor Geer said, “Bjarne did an excellent job for us in 2011 and our success that year is a matter of record.

“We believe he will help us once again to put in a serious challenge for league honours next year.”

The 34-year-old, who has been part of the world cup winning Danish teams as well as European GP victor in 2004, moved to the Midlands partly because he had won a place in the 2012 GP series.

Now, though, he will be free from those commitments and able to give his all to the Eagles’ cause.

He will be joined on the track by six other Arlington favourites after it was revealed this week that Gustafsson and Lahti will complete the septet.

By signing the duo, who both rode for the Eagles last year, Geer said he had exactly the team he wanted heading into the new season.

He said, “There’s room for improvement throughout the team and our fans can look forward to an exciting season.

“We have managed to sign the riders we wanted. This is a strong team and everyone will win races and score heavily.

“There will be fierce competition to stay out of the reserve berths but that is great from our point of view. Whoever is at reserve is capable of being a trump card.

“I once again expect us to be challenging for an end-of-season play-off spot.”

The reserve berth will be occupied by Denis Gizatullin and Lukas Dryml after an incredible season from last year’s reserve, Lahti, means he starts the year in the top five.

Of Lahti, last season’s rider-of-the-year, Geer said, “Timo is a quick learner and is always riding. That’s why he has made such great progress since joining us in Easter 2011.

“Of course, it will be harder for him as he starts the season in the main body of the team, rather than in reserve. However, I think he will adapt and continue his rise to the top.

“Simon Gustafsson is still improving and working hard this winter to make sure he has a marvellous season in 2013. He is focusing hard and his performances are still on the up.”

The Eagles will kick start their 2013 season in March.