Eastbourne Speedway captain Edward Kennett pulled off one of the best rides of his career to send the Eagles through to the semi-finals of the Championship KO Cup.
He won a last heat decider tonight (July 5) at Leicester when the two-leg tie was on a knife edge.
Kennett, who lives only a couple of miles from the Fineprint Eagles track at Arlington Stadium, can expect a hero’s welcome tomorrow (Saturday, July 6) when he appears before his home fans.
Eastbourne take on Edinburgh in a Championship league match but to start with all the home fans will be talking about how the Eagles’ captain took his team through to the KO Cup semi-final.
Eastbourne took a 57-33 lead from the first leg to the Leicester Lion’s Paul Chapman and Sons Arena.
On the face it, a 24-point would seem sufficient but the Eagles expected an avalanche from the home outfit. And so it proved.
With one race to go, the score on the night was 53-31 and a home maximum heat advantage would have sent the Lions through.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man and Kennett put in a true captain’s performance in the last race.
Kennett led from the tapes but home No 1, Scott Nicholls nipped past. It looked like curtains for the Eagles because Ryan Douglas had got the better of Richard Lawson.
And then it all happened. Kennett looked back to see Lawson in last place and then went on to re-pass Nicholls while Lawson found new speed to take him past Douglas.
A 4-2 for the Eagles saw them defeated 55-35 on the night but the crucial statistic was the aggregate result: Leicester 88, Eastbourne 92.
Eastbourne co-promoter, Trevor Geer, said: “Edward Kennett pulled out a most fantastic ride just when we needed it. That was true captain’s performance.
“I can’t praise him enough.
"Just when we needed it, Edward delivered. What a captain we have.”
Scorers: Leicester: Scott Nicholls 4 (5), Connor Mountain 11+3 (7), Ryan Douglas 11 (6), Ellis Perks 9+1 (5), Chris Harris 9 (4), Joe Lawlor 1 (3), rider replacement for Josh Bates.
Eastbourne: Edward Kennett 12 (5), Richard Lawson 8 (5), Kyle Newman 4+1 (4), Lewi Kerr 5 (4), Georgie Wood 4 (4), Alfie Bowtell 2+1 (5), Ben Morley 0 (3).