This is the moment Jon Cook learnt a bit more about the top man at Eastbourne speedway.

The former Eagles boss turned up for the first time as away manager after defecting to arch rivals Lakeside Hammers.

He had been promised a very tough time on his first return to Arlington for an Elite League showdown which had attracted live broadcast from Sky Sports.

Eagles chief Bob Dugard, unhappy Cook had left him, was not afraid of confrontation and had let it be known he couldn’t wait for what was expected to be a stormy evening.

They went face to face at trackside.

Within minutes they were inside the caravan behind the pits which still serves as mission control on a racenight.

Dugard, the former Eastbourne rider, promoter and manager, died at the weekend, aged 76, after suffering several years of failing health.

He was also well known as director of the family machine tools business, a major employer in Old Shoreham Road, Hove.

With the unceasing support of his wife Margaret, he kept Eastbourne speedway alive and kicking for years.

Cook knew him better than most. Dugard took him under his wing as a young manager and promoter.

Together they took Eastbourne to the summit of the top flight and Cook got to know a lot about Dugard’s famed hard-as-nails style – and the soft centre which lay beneath when you earnt his trust.

Cook, who remains in charge at Lakeside, told The Argus: “I was mechanic for Bob’s son Martin and I was involved in taking a tour to Poland.

“When I came back, Bob said I should get involved in the promoting side and set me off on my career.

“Everything in my speedway life has come from that break Bob gave me.

“But there is more to it than that and I will miss him on all levels.

“My fondest memories probably come from when I was a supporter sitting in the grandstand from 1978 onwards.

“Every time there was a kerfuffle you would see Bob coming down the track pointing his finger. The crowd would be on their toes.

The Argus:

Bob Dugard with son Martin and grandsons Kelsey and Connor

“That was Bob. He was fiery, he wanted to win and it was certainly better to have him on your side than against you.

“We had some fantastic times – the league victories in 1995 and 2000 came about through immense planning and hour after hour of phone calls before every match.

“Preparation was always meticulous and it was a pleasure to be a part of that and a co-promoter with Bob during that period.

“I think my favourite was the Knockout Cup win at Cradley, the first senior silverware for the club.

“I know that was a proud time for Bob because both Martin and his other son Paul were in that team as well as Dean Barker, who was like an adopted son.

“I travelled up to Cradley with Bob and Eric Dugard, from memory, and I think that was a really special one.

“Then we won the league the year after, again with Martin and Deano involved, which was fantastic.

“Bob was a proud family man and that meant everything to him.

“The success of the company and the success of the speedway went hand in hand.

“He was always either at work or at speedway and that was his life.

“His achievements are there for all to see.

“Over the last three or four years I haven’t seen so much of him.

“When I did, we tended to have the type of conversation we did not have back in the day. He told me things which influenced my thinking in a lot of ways.”

When Bob Brimson took over as Eagles promoter ahead of the 2007 season, Cook took all those lessons he had learnt under Dugard to Arena-Essex, who he later renamed Lakeside Hammers.

The move was a bombshell in the speedway world and Lakeside’s visit to East Sussex always looked to be an occasion when sparks might fly.

Cook said: “A couple of months after going to Arena, Martin said ‘Dad will kill you if he gets his hands on you!’.

“(Rider) Adam Shields and myself had both left.

“Adam went down there first on a guest booking and got a bit of a bad time.

“Bob said to him, ‘Tell Cookie I can’t wait until he comes here’.”

So what happened when they went face to face at trackside – and then took it indoors?

Cook said: “I turned up expecting it to be threatening.

“But within ten minutes I was in the caravan with Margaret and Bob and they were asking after my mum.

“That was Bob. When my dad died, Bob’s words then were very comforting.

“You look back on a very fulfilled life and it is sad he didn’t get to enjoy a few more years.