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Former Hammer announces retirement

PUBLISHED: 11:49 27 January 2017 | UPDATED: 11:49 27 January 2017

Leigh Lanham in action in the semi-final of the British Championship at The Norfolk Arena (pic Ian Burt/EDP)

Leigh Lanham in action in the semi-final of the British Championship at The Norfolk Arena (pic Ian Burt/EDP)

Archant © 2010

Lanham calls time on speedway career

Former Lakeside Hammers captain Leigh Lanham has announced his retirement from speedway after over two decades in the sport.

The 39-year-old Lanham made his senior debut for Ipswich back in 1993 and was associated for the majority of his career with the Witches and Hammers, before his final season in 2016 was spent with Rye House.

Lanham, who rode for the Hammers from 1998 to 2008, said: “I feel the timing is right. I’ve been very lucky to do something I’ve loved doing for the last 23 years.

“I really can’t believe it’s been so long, I’ve got some great memories over the years, I’ve been lucky to race for some great clubs and met so many decent people along the way from fellow riders to supporters, it’s been brilliant.

“I’m also so lucky to have had some awesome sponsors which helped me to have good kit. I want to say thanks so much to all of them.”

A statement from Lakeside added: “The Hammers would like to send their best wishes and thanks for all of the years that Leigh served the Hammers.”

Meanwhile, current Hammers bosses Jon Cook and Kelvin Tatum also thanked supporters who attended their Fans Forum at Orsett Hotel last night.

The pair answered a range of questions, before new signing George Hunter was introduced and spoke about the upcoming National League season.

Cook said: “Kelvin and I were delighted to see such a great turnout on a cold Thursday evening. It’s always good to answer questions in a forum environment and it was great to feel the positivity in the room, which all those involved in the club share as we enter a new experience with the club.”

The 2017 National League fixture list is due to be announced shortly, with Hammers holding their meetings predominantly on Friday and Saturday nights, with some Sunday fixtures also included.

The club will face Eastbourne Eagles in a challenge match on April 14 and admission for meetings will be £13 for adults and £11 for concessions, with £1 tickets available for children aged seven to 16.

*Ben Fund Bonanza organiser Paul Ackroyd has confirmed the opening list of names for the seasonal curtain-raiser at Glasgow on March 12.

The Tigers’ heat-leader trio of Richard Lawson, Aaron Summers and Richie Worrall are all included along with former Ashfield men Ben Barker (now with Redcar) and James Sarjeant.

Amongst other Northern clubs, Berwick will be represented by Kevin Doolan and Lewis Bridger, Steve Worrall of Newcastle is also confirmed, and there will be a trio of Workington riders – Claus Vissing, Thomas Jorgensen and Ty Proctor.

Organisers are also hoping to include a couple of Grand Prix men for the event which raises vital funds for riders suffering injuries when racing.

Ackroyd said: “I’ve invited several of the top riders and I’m hoping to have their answers very soon. They tend to have more commitments to work around.”

*Wolverhampton legends Sam Ermolenko and Ronnie Correy are set to grace the Monmore Green shale once again.

The American duo raced in over 1,000 meetings for the club between them, scoring over 10,000 points in the process.

The two fans’ favourites will be back on a bike at Peter Karlsson’s Farewell meeting (March 19, 5pm) and will line-up against fellow Wolverhampton hero Mikael Max in a series of match races.

Said Karlsson: “It’s going to be great to have Sam and Ronnie there on my special day and to have them both back on a bike will be even better.

“They’ve been two of the most popular riders for Wolverhampton over the years and they always get a warm reception when they go back to the track.

“Having those two and Mikael up against each other will take the fans back a bit and it will break up the main meeting nicely.”

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