Late drama sees Lakeside win a thriller
Elite League BLakeside Hammers 48 Swindon Robins 45THIS cracking meeting had everything.Excellent racing with a tense atmosphere underpinned by the ebb and flow of the fluctuating scoreline.
Elite League B
Lakeside Hammers 48 Swindon Robins 45
THIS cracking meeting had everything.
Excellent racing with a tense atmosphere underpinned by the ebb and flow of the fluctuating scoreline. A comeback by the determined Robins, two league points for the home side and, most of all, plenty of controversy.
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The Robins had clawed their way back into contention by slamming home two consecutive 5-1s in heats 13 and 14 to ensure they remained firmly in touch going into the final race at just three points down.
Swindon were undoubted favourites going into the last heat with the unbeaten Matej Zagar and the twice defeated Leigh Adams taking to the inside gates. As the tapes rose, Hammers star Jonas Davidsson got the drop, edging ahead of Adams only for the Aussie to pull off a move to pass the Swede on the third turn. Davidsson found himself in an awkward position on the third corner and lost ground, allowing Zagar to storm past with Swiderski close behind.
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Going down the backstraight for the second time, Swiderski and Zagar touched and - to the not so understated delight of the home fans - the Slovenian pulled up, clearly incensed and blaming the Pole for his determined riding and the impact that caused him to lose power.
With home fans delirious, Swiderski cruised home for second place despite the best efforts of Zagar to impede him from the centre green during race proceedings.
So, in the space of one lap the Hammers went from zeroes to thoroughly deserving heroes, just reward for the hunger shown on the night throughout the course of the meeting.
The final heat controversy was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, with fans treated to some superb on track action that started as early as the second race when Robert Mear produced a determined effort to re-pass ex-Hammer Paul Hurry before Hurry himself endured a ding-dong battle with Stuart Robson for second place.
'Robbo' was at it again in heat four, passing Hurry to ensure the home side maintained their early advantage. They went one better in the next when Davidsson outgated Adams and held off the strong challenge of the Robins' No.1 one as he made every attempt to pass.
Zagar's comprehensive second win was matched by an equally encouraging victory for Swiderski in heat seven, who went it alone after Robert Mear came to grief challenging Travis McGowan.
Hammers hit a high at the halfway stage through Robson and Joonas Kylmakorpi to move their side 10 points in front, affording Alun Rossiter the pleasure of using Zagar as a tactical ride in heat nine.
Zagar claimed his expected double pointer, but home fans were again cheered when Kauko Nieminen, enjoying a profitable evening, passed Luke Bowen and ensured damage was limited.
Lee Richardson got in on the act in the very next clash, riding a brave outside line to storm past McGowan and move the Hammers nine points to the good.
The meeting reached boiling point in heat 12 when Swiderski edged inside Adams, exiting the second turn of the first lap. The popular Pole ensured that he maintained his position at the front - a move that clearly angered the visiting number one who proceeded to confront his opponent after the race and on the journey back to the pits.
Pavlic's dismal form was clearly not helping proceedings as far as the visitors were concerned, his tumble at the back of the race completing a miserable evening.
There was further controversy in heat 13 when Adams moved at the gate, leaving himself floundering. The Hammers pairing gated first but, agonisingly, left a big hole for the Aussie to go though on the second corner and assume the lead. Zagar then produced an excellent pass to get himself into second place ahead of Swiderski as Richardson retired, but home fans were aggrieved that the race was not recalled following the starting infringement.
Things were still very much in the home side's favour going into the penultimate race, but disaster struck when Hurry and McGowan hit the front and produced, to their credit, a superb display of team riding. Davidsson tried every inch of the track to get past but to no avail and home fans were left with the inevitable feeling that Adams and Zagar would make it a hat-trick of Robins' 5-1s in the last heat.
The result of that particular encounter ensured the Hammers collected another couple of league points as they continue to battle for a place in the end of season play-offs.
Lakeside: Richardson 6+1, Kylmakorpi 6, Nieminen 7+2, Davidsson 10+1, Swiderski 11, Mear 4, Robson 4+2.
Swindon: Adams 13, Pavlic 0, Stead 4+1, McGowan 5+2, Zagar 14+1, Bowen 1, Hurry 8.