Eagles show faith in kids

Martin Dugard works hard to help young speedway riders

Martin Dugard works hard to help young speedway riders

First published in Sport
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Eastbourne are hoping to help unearth an emerging speedway star or two – even though their own future is under threat.

Eagles host the fourth round of the British Youth Championships at Arlington tomorrow with 40 races from 3.30pm.

They have also revived “second half” racing, essentially youth races staged after Elite League fixtures.

There have been second halves after the last three Saturday night fixtures, with boys waiting until after 9.30pm to get their chance on the hallowed shale.

Some of those racers, including Sussex boys Tom Brennan and Nathan Ablitt, will go for points on Sunday.

Admission and car parking will be free for the three-hour meeting in a bid to give the racers, aged 16 and under, a decent crowd to impress.

Former Eagles star Martin Dugard is an instrumental figure behind youth racing at Arlington.

One of his sons, Kelsey, will be in action tomorrow.

Eagles youth racing organiser Mick Corby said: “Martin is really the one with the drive and the momentum to get the kids racing.

“It’s another plus point for Eastbourne speedway at a time when things are a bit gloomy.

“We used to run second halves with our youth team, the Eaglets, but there are not a lot of boys coming through now.”

Eagles’ future beyond this season is under threat after senior promoter Bob Dugard announced he was seeking a buyer for the club. Corby said: “I am sure Martin would like to keep junior racing going here, whatever happens.

“It’s an expensive business by the time you buy a racing licence to run public speedway but a training track licence would be less expensive.”

Martin Dugard and former Eagles promoter Martin Hagon have introduced “box racing” at junior level, with riders competing on identical, low-cost 150cc engines.

Fans get a chance to see the new support class in operation tomorrow.

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