Georgie Wood is back with the Eastbourne Forman IT Eagles for 2018.
He started riding speedway with the club when they joined the National League and was an instant hit on track and with the fans.
Wood has progressed through the ranks and at one time last year held down the No 1 race jackets as well as captaining the side to the 2017 KO Cup.
One hugely impressive ride, in the second leg of the cup final at Mildenhall, stands in the memory as he steadied the Eagles ship, which was under heavy attack from the home side in the early stages, by storming to victory; even though he was handicapped 15m for a tapes offence.
Wood joins Tom Brennan, Kelsey Dugard, Jason Edwards and Charlie Brooks in next year’s team.
Charley Powell has also re-signed for the Eastbourne Forman IT Eagles for next season. It will be his third year with the club.
Powell made significant progress last year with the Eagles as they went on to win the KO Cup and finish runners-up in the Play Off Final. He finished the year with a 5.62 average. Powell, nicknamed The Missile for the way he used to sometimes corner in a straight line, continues the strong grass track racing theme running through next year’s team. Highy-rated youngster Charlie Brooks will also slot into the side at reserve meaning Kelsey Dugard will ride at number two when the club comes to tapes in the spring.
Brooks, who is 16, comes from Norfolk and is the world long track No 3 in the 250cc class. It means the Eagles’ class of 2018 will have youth on its side. The club has already announced the signing of Tom Brennan (aged 16), Jason Edwards (15) and Kelsey Dugard (19). Team manager Connor Dugard said: “Charlie is a natural and comes recommended by Olly Allen [a former Eagle who now plays a major role in a speedway apprenticeship scheme] and the grass track boys.
“Just as it is for Jason, there’s no pressure on them. We want them to go out there and enjoy the experience of being an Eagle.”
Dugard is thought to be in a position to complete his team, although it is known there will be no return for two of last year’s stars, Josh Bailey and Jake Knight.
Knight tweeted, “Gutted not to be back with Eastbourne next year but that’s speedway and have to move on to the next chapter and see what the next few months bring up. Thanks to all the fans and sponsors that have helped me out down there hopefully see you all next year at some point.”
Meanwhile the Eagles face the Isle of Wight when they begin their National League KO Cup defence. The draw was made and pairs the Eagles against the Warriors in the first round in home and away ties.
If Eastbourne are successful, they will face Coventry in the quarter finals. The Eagles have won the National League KO Cup for the last three years.
FIRST ROUND: Eastbourne v Isle of Wight, Kent v Stoke. QUARTER-FINALS Birmingham v Mildenhall, Buxton v Belle Vue, Coventry v Eastbourne or Isle of Wight,
Plymouth v Kent or Stoke.