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Buzzing Eagles shine on the road
Eastbourne boss Trevor Geer has his sights firmly on the Elite League play-offs after his side scored their biggest away win in years last night.
Eagles romped to a 52-38 success at Coventry Bees with guest No.1 Seb Ulamek winning four races out of five and Timo Lahti adding 11 points from reserve.
Eagles had 5-1s in heats 12, 14 and 15 to take home all four points on offer.
Ulamek, the former Coventry rider, was an inspired choice as stand-in for Joonas Kylmakorpi, who competes in a GP qualifier in the Czech Republic today.
He capped his night by winning heat 15 while impressive skipper Cameron Woodward came through from the back to complete the 5-1.
But there were impressive displays all the way down the Eagles card.
Geer knows his men need wins on their travels if they are to hang on to their top-four berth.
This was their second away success in a row, albeit 38 days after the victory at Belle Vue.
Geer said: “I’m elated. It was a good result and an excellent all-round performance.
“Once we got ahead we seemed to get the scent of victory in our nostrils and there was no way we were going to let it go.
“Lukas (Dryml), who hasn’t had the best of times recently, had a couple of good rides and Denis (Gizatullin) looked better.”
The excellent Lahti replaced Gizatullin for the heat 12 5-1which put Eagles six points clear.
Geer said: “I really didn’t want to take Denis out of that race. It was a bit hard on him but we really needed to win the meeting.”
Lahti and Woodward went to tapes for heat 14 with Eagles six points up and scored the 5-1 over Henning Bager and Adam Roynon which made sure of the win.
Ulamek played a matchwinning role for Birmingham at Coventry earlier this season and proved to be decisive again.
Geer added: “He did a superb job. He was my No.1 choice as guest for this meeting and he agreed to do it for us straight away.
“I know his Polish club wanted him back there for practice so before he accepted the booking he had to ask them.
“But they cleared it and he did just what we wanted. He rode like a true No.1 and our boys gave him great backing.”
Bees were missing Chris Harris and Kenni Larsen, who ride in the same GP qualifier as Kylmakorpi, while Scott Nicholls looked below his best as he recovers from injury.
Geer added: “Scotty wasn’t 100%. But I thought we were excellent.
“Cam passed Edward Kennett in the last heat and you just don’t do that around Coventry.
“We have been saying all along we need away wins if we are to make the play-offs.
“Let’s hope we can do the same thing at Poole next Wednesday.”
Lahti and Simon Gustafsson are at Vojens tonight for a GP qualifier. Lahti is a late entry, having originally been reserve. Gustafsson now takes his spot as reserve.
Coventry: Stead 9+1 (6), Kennett 9+1 (6), Nicholls 8 (4), Summers 4+1 (5), Bager 4 (5), Roynon 4 (5), Harris r/r.
Eagles: Ulamek 12 (5), Lahti 11+2 (5), Woodward 9+2 (5), Gustafsson 8 (4), Dryml 5+1 (4), Bridger 4+1 (4), Gizatullin 3+1 (3).