Shields returns Down Under after tough start to season

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Adam Shields will not be returning to the Eastbourne Lifestyle Eagles team and will head back Down Under to Australia.

In the short-term, the Sussex club has been granted a “facility” to cover his absence and will use the rider replacement rule to cover his rides in Saturday’s match against Swindon at Arlington (7.30m).

Co-promoter and team manager Trevor Geer is sad Shields’s return to Eastbourne for the 2013 season has not worked out.

“He has withdrawn because he felt he was letting the team down and he did not want to do that.

“Adam and the club had high hopes but it was not to be. He has been a fine servant of Eastbourne and I know our fans will still hold him in high regard.

“In his first spell at Arlington he provided some of the most exciting racing you could wish to see and that is the memory I hope everyone will retain.

“He has had a fantastic career; one that many riders would give their right arm for. We knew that signing Adam was something of a risk.

“It has not worked out and that is a disappointment all round.

“On behalf of everyone associated with Eastbourne Speedway, I wish Adam all the best in the future and thank him for his service to the Eagles.”

In the last week, Eastbourne senior promoter Bob Dugard has spent hours on the telephone trying to bring in a new recruit. Up to now, the search has been fruitless.

Riders, not already committed to racing in the UK, will not change their planned programmes.

Often they have flights arranged and do not wish to alter arrangements, especially for a club which races its home meetings on a Saturday night.

Geer added, “We hope to be in a position to make an announcement to fans at our meeting on Saturday. I can assure supporters that we are actively contacting riders across Europe.”

Swindon come to Arlington as defending league champions and with a team that has set a hot pace at the start of this year’s Elite League campaign.

The club also hopes to have news on Saturday of an updated fixture list, following two postponements at Arlington and a date for Sky to broadcast a match live still to be confirmed.

Co-promoter Mike Bellerby said, “We fully understand that fans like early notice of fixtures so that they get the dates in their diaries but until the position with the Sky date is known we cannot finalise other dates.”