Hammers see off old rivals

Elite LeagueLakeside Hammers 57 Eastbourne 36THE Hammers turned in a polished display to see off their local rivals in this, another entertaining clash at the Arena Raceway that saw the home side move up to third in the Elite League table.

Elite League

Lakeside Hammers 57 Eastbourne 36

THE Hammers turned in a polished display to see off their local rivals in this, another entertaining clash at the Arena Raceway that saw the home side move up to third in the Elite League table.

The Eagles went into the meeting with recently crowned British Under-21 champ Lewis Bridger, but were depleted through the loss of Simon Gustafsson and David Norris.

The home side made the best possible start, opening with a 5-1 through Adam Shields and Jonas Davidsson. They looked set to repeat the dose in heat two when Robert Mear and Stuart Robson hit the front - only for former Hammers favourite Ricky Kling to pass Robson for second place.

The action hotted up in heat three when Lee Richardson made the start on Bridger, only for the young Eagle to find a way past and set what looked to be an ominous standard.

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Richardson made amends when he won heat five, but the Hammers missed an opportunity to pull further ahead when Robson fell whilst holding a comfortable second ahead of a struggling Davey WAtt.

Lukas Dryml was the shock winner of heat six in a race that the Eagles had looked set to dominate, only for Shields and Davidsson to pass Kling but fail in their bid to overhaul the Czech.

Watt did not re-appear on medical grounds and Hammers made the most of their rivals' misfortune, putting together three consecutive 5-1's through heats 8 to 11 and producing some exciting racing to boot. Richardson produced an excellent ride to pass Dryml in heat nine and Shields was supreme in passing Woodward in the next race, a heat which saw Eagles' tactical ride effort through Bridger thwarted.

There was some much-needed respite for the away side in heat 11 when they finally got things right, producing a maximum 8-1 through a tactically inspired Cameron Woodward. This was followed by another excellent heat, a race which saw Richardson plot his way from third to first past Bridger and Kling as Mear kept his cool to claim an impressive third place of his own.

The meeting finished on a high for the Hammers, Davidsson producing an excellent effort to try to pass the lively Woodward in the penultimate race before Shields and Richardson combined for their first final race maximum of the campaign.

"We made the most of Eastbourne's misfortune tonight and things are starting to come together for us as a team," said Hammers boss Jon Cook.

"We are really missing JK (Joonas Kylmakorpi), though, and rider replacement really isn't ideal. We're looking forward to seeing Joonas back in action when he will return to the saddle in our home meeting against Coventry on Monday 18th May."