Eastbourne will urge Ellis Perks to play a key part in helping them take 39 steps to the National League title.

The IT First Eagles have switched Perks to ride in heat 13 of their Grand Final second leg at Birmingham tonight (7.30pm).

Perks has a good record at Perry Barr, which was his home track when he rode for Cradley last season. Eagles take a 50-37 lead from the first leg, meaning 39 points tonight will secure the title.

Team manager Connor Dugard said: “We have put Ellis at No.5 because he has been there four or five times this season, against Jake Knight’s two or three, and he goes well there.


“Both riders are in form but we think Ellis can help Adam (Ellis) in the big heats just a bit more.”

Perks was voted most improved rider at the club’s end of season dinner.

Ellis was fans’ rider of the year, Tom Brennan was riders’ rider of the year and Knight was clubman of the year.

But the most important silverware of the year – and of Eastbourne’s two seasons to date in the National League – goes up for grabs tonight.

Dugard said: “The track caught us out a bit early on in the first leg but we were very happy to win by 13 points.

“We know we have got a lot of work to do because we had a bit of luck at Birmingham when we lost there by six in the cup last week.”

Nathan Stoneman is set to replace Georgie Wood, whose partner is due to give birth, in the Eagles line-up while Danny Ayres guests at No.1 for Brummies.

Eagles: Ellis, Cottham r/r, Knight, Stoneman, Perks, Powell, Brennan.