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Gustafsson can see the ups and downs of being let go
Simon Gustafsson admits he has had his ups and downs away from Eastbourne.
But the Eagles asset reckons he will be a better rider in the long run after his stint at Swindon.
Gustafsson returns to his parent club’s colours as a guest tonight as Belle Vue make their second visit of the season to Arlington (7.30pm).
He put himself first in the queue to stand in for Cameron Woodward with an impressive 15-point haul for the Robins in East Sussex two weeks ago.
Eagles boss Trevor Geer sounded out the young Swede straight after that meeting for potential guest bookings.
He comes in against Aces with Woodward away at a Grand Prix qualifier in Ljubilana.
Gustafsson had started the previous six campaigns at Eastbourne, his first English club, and admitted: “It has been a big change this year.
“Not so much on the track. That’s the same wherever you go.
“It’s the things around the speedway. I always used to enjoy staying in Eastbourne so that has been an adjustment.
“I had a really good time at Eastbourne so it’s all a bit different.
“But it is nothing that should affect my speedway.”
Asked if he was disappointed to be left out of this year’s Eagles one-to-seven, he said: “Yes and no. I had a really good time at Eastbourne but I think it’s good to change sometimes.
“You can get comfortable in one place all the time.”
Gustafsson first rode for Eagles in the closing weeks of the largely forgettable 2007 season.
He made steady progress year by year but appeared to have stagnated last season.
That poor form initially continued in his new colours and he was being warned by boss Alun ‘Rosco’ Rossiter he needed to up his game ahead of the trip to Arlington.
Clearly fired up, he dropped just three points out of 18 and was his side’s saving grace as they lost convincingly.
Gustafsson said: “That sort of form is where I want to be. I didn’t just do it for Rosco. I wanted to go good for myself and I wanted to score points and continue to progress my career.
“It’s not like I score points just because Rosco wants me to.
“It has got to come from inside me and that is what happened.
“I’ve had a couple of good meetings recently, both here and in Sweden. Things seem to be back to normal.”
Tonight’s line-ups will not go down well with some punters as Belle Vue miss two regulars to the GP qualifiers.
British hope Craig Cook, riding at Berwick, and Matej Zagar, at Ljubilana, are both absent but Aces have brought in dangerous guests in Ben Barker and Davey Watt.
Their previous meeting this season was the best so far this year at Arlington with Eagles claiming both the win and the bonus point with a 5-1 in heat 15.
Another test could be in prospect.
Geer said: “Belle Vue turned it on in the A fixture back in April and we only just managed to get the three league points.
“I expect a similar tough challenge this week.
“Like us, Belle Vue have a very strong home record this year and it is vital for our hopes that we take another win and three points.”
Mikkel Michelsen, also ambitious to break into the GP series, rides his qualifier on Monday at Abensberg in Germany.
So he is available for Aces’ visit.
Eagles: Pedersen, Lahti, Kylmakorpi, Gustafsson, Michelsen, Blackbird, Halsey.
Belle Vue: Barker, Toft, Nicholls, R.Worrall, Watt, Nielsen, Payne.
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