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Hammers legend Lanham ‘honoured’ to ride final laps at Arena-Essex Raceway

PUBLISHED: 13:00 20 September 2018

Leigh Lanham at his Testimonial Meeting in 2005 (pic Gavin Ellis)

Leigh Lanham at his Testimonial Meeting in 2005 (pic Gavin Ellis)

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All-time leading Lakeside Hammers appearance and point scorer Leigh Lanham was honoured to ride the final four laps round Arena Essex Raceway last week.

Leigh Lanham of Lakeside Hammers (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Leigh Lanham of Lakeside Hammers (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

The speedway club held their final-ever meeting at the track last Friday when they welcomed Glasgow Tigers for a Championship clash where they sealed a 50-40 victory with fans favourite Richard Lawson winning heat 15 to a huge applause.

After 34 years of racing it was all brought to an end with a final 15 heats of racing before the club legend did four laps of his own to say farewell to the track he called home for many years.

“It was nice, it was a good night and I’m honoured to be asked to do that,” Lanham said.

“It was good, a little bit of a drawn out night, but obviously the boys got the win but I was kind of just waiting around for it.

“I felt a bit nervous out there as I haven’t ridden for a couple of years but it was lovely to do it.”

The 41-year-old, who spent ten seasons at the Purfleet-based club from 1998 to 2008, says it’s sad to see the Raceway go but he hopes the future is bright for the club.

“It’s a sad affair really, but let’s hope the future holds good things for the club, and hopefully they can build their own stadium.

“Finish this year and maybe next year in Rye House and then see what happens.”

The Ipswich-based rider spent time at a number of clubs during his career including his hometown team Ipswich Witches but insists the Hammers were his home club.

“I’ve got some brilliant memories, this is my home club even though I don’t live here, it’s been my home club and I spent the majority of my career here.

“It’s been good to me and the club have been good back as well so I’m over the moon to spend as many years as I did here.”

He praised the riders that the Hammers had over the years including the likes of former Grand Prix stars Andreas Jonsson, Kryzstof Kasprzak, Mark Loram, Gary Havelock and Tony Rickardson during his time.

“Not really any that stand-out, I’ve raced with some fantastic riders over the years, I mean every year the team changes but we’ve always had some really good lads, whether it be Grand Prix riders or premier league riders, we’ve been graced with good teams here.”

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