Alcock joins Eastbourne Seagulls as Wirtzfeld steps down

Joe Alcock has joined Eastbourne Speedway’s National Development League (NDL) team.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 9:35 am
Updated Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 9:36 am
Chad Wirtzfeld / Picture: Mike Hinves
Chad Wirtzfeld / Picture: Mike Hinves

The Stoke-based rider links with the Seagulls, powered by Save Thurrock Hammers Speedway, as a replacement for Chad Wirtzfeld who has stood down from speedway to concentrate on his growing grass and long-track career.

It is the second setback this season for the team having lost Henry Atkins, one of the division’s brightest prospects with a season-ending injury, in the opening fixture at Leicester.

Alcock grabbed the chance to come to Arlington having last week been dropped from the Newcastle Diamonds Championship team and then finding out 24 hours later that his spot with Newcastle’s second team had gone because the Gems had withdrawn from the league.

Seagulls team manager, Will Pottinger, said: “Joe’s raced for Stoke for a couple of years, so he’s got some good experience in the NDL.

He has a point to prove after being dropped by Newcastle in the Championship so hopefully we’ll benefit from that extra bit of fire in his stomach.

“He’s very keen to get started with the Seagulls and, as we’ve only raced two matches so far, there’s plenty of meetings for him to make an impact.

“I think that he’s a rider that should only improve and potentially make us a little stronger in certain matches.”

Alcock, who has only been to Arlington once – as a mechanic – will be familiar to a handful of Eastbourne fans who went to Stoke on a bitterly cold late October night in 2018 to see the then Eagles beat the Potters. Alcock scored 6+1 as the visitors cruised home 49-41.

The rider is delighted to be joining the Seagulls and coming into the Arlington pits which has a wealth of experience.

“Eastbourne are a big club and I have always heard good things about them,” he said. He believes being around riders such as Lewi Kerr, Richard Lawson, Edward Kennett and Kyle Newman as being a huge advantage. I will be around them, watching what they do and asking questions. I am really looking forward to the experience. I want to progress, get faster on the bike, and keep learning.”

Alcock, who works part-time at a warehouse, promised fans that he would give every race his best shot. “I shall give 110 per cent and I’m looking forward to getting started.”

Atkins has had an operation on his injured shoulder and has just started rehabilitation.