Hammers back down to earth

AFTER the Hammers home win against Coventry the action moved down to the Sussex coast as the Hammers took on the Eastbourne Eagles at their Arlington Stadium.

Eastbourne 53 Lakeside 40

AFTER the Hammers home win against Coventry the action moved down to the Sussex coast as the Hammers took on the Eastbourne Eagles at their Arlington Stadium.

Having lost the toss for gate positions the Eagles chose gates 2 & 4, which appeared to look the most favourable prior to the start of the meeting. However, the home crowd were silenced when Lee and Kauko stormed to a very impressive 5-1 in the opening heat. The home side then immediately hit back with a 5-1 of their own with Simon Gustafsson and Lukas Dryml looking impressive. Robbo spun around on the fourth bend at the fist time of asking and was excluded from the rerun.

The Hammers used the ‘Rider Replacement’ for Daniel, who was at the track but was unable to move his neck and following Kauko’s good start in heat 1 from the inside gate position it was decided to use him for the first R/R ride, which also meant that he came off the inside gate. However, the Eagles captain Cameron Woodward got to the first bend in front and pinned Kauko to the inside. JD managed to get into second place and Kauko followed him home with Ricky Kling at the back to ensure a shared heat.

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The Eagles took the lead with a 4-2 in heat 4 when Dryml outgated Robbo and with Adam Shields making a mess of the start Joonas Kylmakorpi picked up the third place. Lee Richardson won the next heat but Kauko got squeezed out on the first bend in what resulted in a shared heat. The home side’s lead was then extended to four points in heat 6 when Zagar got the better of Adam whilst Tomasz Jedrzejak kept Paul hurry at the back.

Robbo attempted the wide open spaces in the next heat but there was insufficient grip to allow him the possibility of the outside pass and with JD at the back following a poor gate the home side romped to a maximum -1 heat advantage to extend their lead to eight points.

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Kauko won heat 8 but Robbo fell when his engine gave way. Heat 9 was also shared as Adam claimed the win but Paul could not find any grip to put Kling and Woodward under any pressure.

Robbo came out in heat 10 on Lee’s second machine and managed to keep Dryml behind him but Zagar took the win so the resultant 4-2 to the eagles meant that the Hammers were now points in arrears. Lee cam out in the black and white helmet colour in the next heat alongside Kauko. Lee had to work extremely hard on the first bend to keep the eagles pairing of Kylmakorpi and Gustafsson behind him but in doing so there was no room for Kauko who was then unable to find any way past the Eagles pairing. The subsequent 6-3 reduced the Eagles lead to seven points and that further reduced to just five when JD won heat 12 with Robbo picking up the third place.

Heat 13 looked now likely to be the key to who took what League points. Zagar gated but Adam and Lee tucked in behind to claim a share of the points with JK appearing to struggle at the back on what looked like an increasingly slicker track surface.

That meant the Hammers were five points behind with two heats remaining. A Hammers win was still a possibility but a single League point for a loss by six points or less looked a real possibility. However, those thoughts were dashed in heat 14 when Gustafsson and Woodward made the starts and claimed a 5-1. The hammers now needed a maximum heat advantage in the final heat. The toss for gate positions was lost by the hammers team manager and Eastbourne chose & 3. Zagar and Gustafsson represented the Eagles whist Lee and Adam came out for the Hammers.

Gustafsson made the start with Zagar and Lee vying for second place. In what turned out to be the best race of the night Lee got past Zagar in a fairly hard move but Zagar then returned the complement in a far harder manoeuvre. The resultant Eagles 5-1 gave the home side the win by 53-40 and the hammers left pointless. Those two 5-1’s in the last two heats proved to be the ultimate turning point.

The Hammers claimed six heat wins, two each from Lee and Kauko with one from JD and Adam. It was, however, the reserves that ultimately made the difference with Gustafsson and Dryml amassing paid 25 between them as opposed to the 7 from Robbo and Paul. The R/R rides covering Daniel Davidsson resulted in 7+1 being scored.

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