Riders head for Europe as Eagles take a break

Timo Lahti impressed Eastbourne's opponents Poole last weekend and guested for them against Swindon on Wednesday.
Timo Lahti impressed Eastbourne's opponents Poole last weekend and guested for them against Swindon on Wednesday.

Most people would sail sea and high waters for a three week holiday in the middle of June, but the Eastbourne Eagles’ riders have other ideas.

While the Eagles take a break from Elite League action until June 25, the riders are all dispersing across Europe to continue racing at every opportunity.

Cameron Woodward battles with Poole's Darcy Ward

Cameron Woodward battles with Poole's Darcy Ward

They will travel to the likes of Sweden, Norway and Poland to get extra practice before returning to domestic action against Lakeside at the end of the month.

Joonas Kylmakorpi, in particular, is taking advantage of being fit again and will be racing in Finland this weekend for the Long Track World Championship before heading to Norway the weekend after. Add to that stints in Poland and Sweden and the Eagles’ number one rider will barely have time for breath.

Eastbourne team manager Trevor Geer said, “Joonas is now fully back from injury and has been scoring very well lately. We just can’t wait to have him back.”

Kylmakorpi and Simon Gustafsson both missed last Saturday’s meet to race in the World Grand Prix Qualifying rounds and while Kylmakorpi was successful, Gustafsson was unlucky to miss out.

“Unfortunately for Simon, a rock hit him in the hand and he was unable to continue.

“They thought he’d broken his hand but now I don’t think that’s the case. It’s swelled up to the size of a balloon and he’s in a lot of pain.

“It’s a shame because he was doing great up until that point and it’s a huge disappointment for him. He won’t be riding for at least another week now.”

Geer will be praying his riders return from their European escapades all in one piece so that he can finally have a full team for their next fixture – a luxury he hasn’t had since the opening meet of the season.

“I think, providing everyone stays fit, we can really kick on our season from here and surprise a few people.

“Once we have a full team back, we can really start to pick up points, particularly away, and really challenge for the play-offs.”

The Eagles were left frustrated against Poole as rain called a halt to proceedings after heat 12, with the score standing at 37-35 in favour of the visitors.

“It was very frustrating but it was the correct decision because the riders’ safety comes first. We were ahead for most of the meet but Poole had taken the lead at that crucial moment and that’s what counts.

“There were a few incidents here and there, like falls for Lukas (Dryml) and Cameron (Woodward) that didn’t help us, but we can’t dwell on those.”

Promising young rider Timo Lahti, who has top-scored at the Eagles’ previous three meets, clearly impressed Poole as they acquired him to guest in their meet with Swindon on Wednesday night.