Eastbourne Eagles legend Martin Dugard has explained why he is part of a two-man team who have saved speedway at their beloved Arlington Stadium.

Dugard, revered as the Master of Arlington during his racing days, has teamed up with promoter Jon Cook to take over the lease at the motorsports venue near Hailsham.

They have big plans to secure a return on what is believed to be a six-figure outlay.

Eastbourne Eagles speedway and stock car racing run by Spedeworth will continue to be the cornerstones of their operation.

But they are also eyeing new motorsport events and improvements to facilities for spectators.

The future of the stadium has been up in the air since Martin’s dad Bob, joint owner with his btother Eric, died last summer.

Martin told The Argus: “We have known for quite a while this was going to come up, it was just a question of when.

“It basically came down to three options for the stadium.

“It would close, it would carry on with stock cars only or it would continue to stage stock cars and speedway with us.

“We have put a lot in, including in terms of finance, and it’s a big step.

“We appreciate it is also quite a big step for the family to release the stadium to us.

“We have got to make this work but this is something I’ve always thought I would love to do.

“We want to put Arlington Stadium on the map rather than being the best kept secret in Sussex. We’ve got lots of ideas and it’s whether we can pull them off.

“Jon and I have not let a lot stop us in the past.

“All the things we have done, including the indoor speedway at the Brighton Centre, we have never failed yet.”

Cook has returned to Eastbourne for the coming Championship season after 12 years away as promoter at Lakeside Hammers.

He grew up around Eastbourne speedway and is excited about the new venture.

More regular speedway during the peak summer months will be key to the duo’s operation.

Cook said: “It is the 90th anniversary of the racing oval first being created there so it is quite an apt time for us to be coming in.

“Martin and I have had success before with the Brighton Bonanza and we feel our different skills complement each other.

“To have maybe the all-time greatest Eagles racer as proprietor of the stadium along with the chap who spent 12 years there as a promoter can, I think, only be positive.

“The whole of our youth we spent at stock cars on student nights and then speedway racing the rest of the time.

“We will be working in the best traditions of the stadium and we have big plans to make it a major part of the Sussex sporting landscape.”