Eastbourne today confirmed Mark Baseby as their captain and No.1 for the new season.

And they have declared their new line-up is good enough to challenge for the National League title.

Baseby, whose 2017 season was curtailed by a broken arm, is the final piece in the seven-man jigsaw for next term.

The experienced former Isle of Wight and Mildenhall rider heads a team featuring five members who started the 2017 season.

He takes over the captaincy from fellow heat-leader Georgie Wood.

Tom Brennan, Charley Powell and Kelsey Dugard return in the top five while Charlie Brooks and Jason Edwards join as a youthful reserve pairing.

The team-building points limit of 39 means big-scoring Jake Knight misses out.

Josh Bailey, a big hit in the second half of last season, has joined Mildenhall.

Mattie Bates, who skippered the team from reserve on occasion last season, has taken over as team manager at his local track Plymouth.

Eagles boss Connor Dugard said: “I think we can win the league. I certainly can’t see why we can’t do that.

“Team chemistry will be one of the big factors for us.

“We have five grasstrackers in the team if you include Tom.

“We also have the youngest team I have ever put together. The average age is about 21.

“Mark was a really good character for us around the pits last year so I thought he was a good choice to captain to take some pressure off George.

“We wanted to keep Mark because of his average.

“In the first month of last season he was struggling with his engines but, once he got going, he scored double figures every meeting except one, when he dropped a chain when he was leading.

“He has been doing a lot of training.”

Wood has been a key man for Eagles since joining at the start of their National League adventure in the 2015 season.

He graduated from the junior reserve berth to be No.1 at one stage.

But his availability and, at times, his performances, were adversely affected last season when he opted to double-up with Championship track Sheffield.

Wood helped Sheffield win the title but missed Eastbourne meetings and was sometimes tired when he got to race for the Sussex track.

Dugard revealed Wood would not be dividing his loyalty in 2018.

He said: “George won’t be riding in the Championship this year. That is part of the deal.

“Last year it really affected the team when we didn’t have him.

“I wouldn’t want to stop him riding at that level but I told him it was one of my biggest factors in terms of putting him in our team.

“I can’t afford to be without a heat-leader who is on the sort of average George has.

“Rider-replacement does not cover him or you have to have a lower-end guest.

“He understands that. He enjoyed doing the Championship but it got on top of him towards the end of the season health-wise. It was too much to take on.”

The absence of Knight will be a disappointment to many fans.

His missed the start of last season but starred after returning to the side in mid-season.

Dugard said: “Jake was in Brighton on Saturday so I went to meet him.

“He said he had a few offers but nothing he wanted.

“I think he would only ride for Eastbourne. He prefers weekend tracks.

“If someone gets injured or something, he could be back here. Never say never.”