Sixteen-year-old Charlie the surprise package for the Eastbourne Eagles
Sixteen-year-old Eastbourne reserve Charlie Brooks was the surprise package for the Forman IT Eagles as they slammed into Stoke and then the Isle of Wight at Arlington on Saturday night.
The pint-sized East Anglian youngster scored paid eight points in the first meeting against Stoke and then hit top gear against the Isle of Wight.
His score of paid 14 was his best yet for the Eagles.
Brooks, who has considerable experience on grass, only began his speedway career this season and readily admits this is the first year of his speedway “apprenticeship”.
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He said: “The whole year has been a learning curve and paid 14 at the end of the night with five bonus points.
“Speedway is all about the team.
“I have been slowly improving and finding the right gearing and set-ups.”
Brooks admitted he still needs to improve the way he rides the Hailsham bend (turns 3 and 4 at Arlington) where he sometimes leaves supporters with their hearts in their mouths as he seems to head towards the safety fence.
“Once I get the hang of that bottom corner, I think I can put a whole race together.
“Early on in the meeting it can be a bit tricky round turn four but once it sickens out, it is not so bad.”
Brooks, in his early days as an Eagle, was often last away from the starts but there has been a noticeable improvement in recent weeks.
“There has been a huge improvement, thanks to Georgie Wood. He came out with me on track and showed me what I should be doing when you come up to the start line.
“His advice has definitely helped.”
Brooks said he had not made major changes to his bike.
“I have slightly different clutch plates but otherwise it is exactly the same.
“The advice [from Wood] about how to sit on the bike, the right amount of revs – that’s what gives you the push out of the start,” he said.
Team manager Connor Dugard said: “Charlie was incredible. Now that he is gating as well, I don’t think many reserves will touch him round here.
“If we can carry that forward away from home, for example round Mildenhall, I think he can beat [Matt] Marson and [Sam Bebee.”
He said that all along he expected his team would net six league points, as long as there were no disasters.
“It is still very frustrating that we couldn’t even get a point at Stoke and Buxton last weekend because of the rain-offs. We only needed one and we would have been pretty much confirmed in the Play Offs by now.”
Note to editors
The top of the National League is extremely tight. The race for the top four places – and qualification for the Play Offs to decide the champions – looks like going down to the wire. The cut off date for qualification is due to be September 23.
We will update you during the coming week.