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Kylmakorpi: Why I'm opting out of Elite League
Eastbourne are on the hunt for a new No.1 after Joonas Kylmakorpi revealed he will quit the Elite League.
Eagles’ top scorer in 2012 wants to concentrate on leagues in mainland Europe and his own Grand Prix ambitions in both long track and speedway.
The Stockholm-based Finnish international has been at Arlington for the last three seasons and was promoted to No.1 for the 2012 campaign after Bjarne Pedersen moved on.
His decision means Eagles face the expense of a loan fee to bring in a new top man next summer.
He is not ruling out a return some time in the future.
Kylmakorpi was troubled by a shoulder injury last season but averaged 8.00 – or two points per race, including bonuses.
That put him just ahead of newly crowned rider of the year Timo Lahti in the Eagles averages.
Kylmakorpi told The Argus he will race in both the top-flight Elitserien and second-tier Allsvenskan in Sweden next year.
He is keen to add to his three successive world longtrack titles and break into the speedway GP series.
The 32-year-old said: “I am not riding in England next year. I’m going to do two leagues in Sweden plus the Polish and Danish leagues and long track GPs.
“My plan is to qualify for the speedway GPs in the future and to do that I need to improve my starts and my riding on bigger speedway tracks. To have time for practice means I can’t ride in the UK.
“It has been a hard decision to leave Eastbourne as it is the best club I have ever ridden for. I want to thank (promoters) Bob Dugard, Trevor Geer and Mike Bellerby and all the rest working for the Eagles for a wonderful time there and I hope I will be back there.
“Until then Timo needs to hold the Finnish flag high!”
Lahti polled 100% of votes cast for the rider of the year accolade after a season which saw him increase his average, including bonus points, from 3.06 to 7.29.
Although Eagles are refusing to discuss plans for next season, it is likely they will ask the 20-year-old to stay at Arlington.
However Kylmakorpi’s departure will throw doubt over the Elite League future of Lewis Bridger into sharper focus. The 22-year-old British rider has said he cannot afford to race unless he secures a major sponsor.
However Eagles would be loathe to lose two of their assets over the winter.
Dugard admitted: “If Lewis decided not to ride next year it would leave a big void.”
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