Hammers tame the Wolves
Lakeside Hammers cruised to victory in front of the Sky Sports TV cameras last night as they thrashed Wolverhampton Wolves. The home side put in one of their best performances of the season as they showed signs of a team that should be battling for a play-off position rather than fighting at the rear end of the Elite League table.
The Purfleet-based side managed the tricky conditions well to secure victory after a maximum in heat 12, which made it two wins in a row for the Hammers after their success over King’s Lynn. The hosts where lightning at the start of the meeting as they secured two 5-1s to give them an eight-point advantage going into heat three. Mikkel Bech was promoted to number two for this meeting and took the victory in the first heat, with Andreas Jonsson forcing his way past Fredrik Lindgren at turn one to finish in second.
Adam Ellis got a great start in heat two to take the lead going into turn one. And team-mate Ashley Birks had to hang his bike around the outside of turn three and four in order to pass Lewis Blackbird to secure the Hammers 5-1. The rain began to fall heavily before the start of heat three, but the meeting went on with Wolves creating a big dent into the home side’s advantage with a 5-1 of their own. Former Hammer Peter Karlsson ran way with the victory, but there was an immense battle for second place.
Kim Nilsson got the better of Tobias Musielak at the start, but the Polish rider didn’t give up and pulled off an amazing move round the outside of turn two to get a great drive out of the corner and be ahead by turn three. Heat four was delayed as the rain continued to fall on the track. But once the action restarted it was Birks who claimed victory with both Wolves riders finishing in second and third to share the points. As the riders got used to the new track conditions the points where shared in the next three heats with American rider Ricky Wells winning heat four, Bech taking heat five and Edward Kennett winning heat six.
That left the score 20-16 in Lakeside’s favour going into heat seven and the home side turned up the power again as they came away with another 5-1.
Jonsson and Nilsson hit the front after the first corner and were in a race of their own to the chequered flag, with Nilsson coming out on top. Hammers stamped their authority on the meeting again in heat eight with another maximum as Birks and Richard Lawson led the way, but Musielak had a hairy moment on the exit of turn two. The Polish rider went on to crash on the final lap, injuring his left wrist, and to make things worse for the visitors they suffered another 5-1 defeat in heat nine as Bech and Birks ran away with it to put Hammers 35-19 up with six heats to go.
Wolves used Lindgren on tactical ride in heat 10 in order to try and claw back some points and the Swedish rider was leading the race in the early stages.
But Kennett had other ideas as he pulled off a stunning overtake on the exit of turn two. The Englishman carried more speed into turn one which caused him to run wide at turn two, but he was able to pick the bike up quicker than Lindgren and used the extra speed gained to blast past. Heat 11 saw the points shared, but heat 12 put the meeting beyond doubt as Hammers claimed their sixth 5-1 of the evening with Adam Ellis winning the reserves race.
The points were shared again in heat 13 and the penultimate race caused some interest with Musielak crashing into Kennett. The Hammers rider was excluded, which led to some confusion in the pit-lane, but Musielak crashed all by himself in the re-run as Wolves cut the gap by just a single point. Heat 15 also had its fair share of drama as Wells completely lost control of his bike coming out of turn two. Luckily Karlsson or Bech didn’t collect him or his bike as they went through and the Hammers claimed their final 5-1 of the night to complete an emphatic victory.
The Hammers travel away to King’s Lynn on Thursday and then welcome Leicester Lions to the Arena Essex Raceway the following night to complete a busy spell of four meetings in a week.