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Hammers ready for home opener

PUBLISHED: 12:30 21 March 2013

The tapes are about to go up on a new speedway season at Lakeside Hammers (Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

The tapes are about to go up on a new speedway season at Lakeside Hammers (Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League images are subject to DataCo Licencing restrictions

New speedway season set to start

The Vortex Lakeside Hammers will open the doors to fans tomorrow (Friday) as they take to the track for the first time this season to entertain Peterborough Panthers in an Elite League challenge match.

The first leg in Peterborough was postponed, but following last season’s successful Open Night, Hammers will again allow their fans and visitors from the Panthers the opportunity to see behind the scenes with the track open from 6pm for pits visit, track tour and the chance to visit the Referee’s Box and see the view by which the meeting is marshaled.

The home team will also be available for a photo session at 7pm in their new race suits and Hammers co-promoter Jon Cook said: “Last year was a great night and this time we have added the competition of a meeting to follow. It seems an unusually long winter and we can’t wait to welcome back the fans and enjoy the first action of the season.”

Hammers have retained four of the riders who made it through to the Elite League Play Off semi-finals in 2012 in Davey Watt, who retains the captaincy, veteran Swede Peter Karlsson, who will wear the No.1 race jacket, his fellow Swede Kim Nilsson and Great Britain rider Robert Mear. Joining them will be Piotr Swiderski, who missed out on last season in this country through an injury sustained towards the end of 2011 but was a member of the Hammers side that year, and two new riders.

Great Britain international Lewis Bridger has spent the majority of his career at Eastbourne, while recent acquisition Richard Lawson will combine his Elite League duties with the Hammers with those for the Workington Comets in the Premier League where he is their No.1 and captain.

Stuart Robson, a member of the Hammers squad since 2009, will race on Friday as Lawson has a prior engagement with the Comets but will spend his 2013 with Newcastle.

Peterborough will be led by Danish international Kenneth Bjerre, who started last season with them after a year away at King’s Lynn before his season was cut short due to injury.

Bjerre failed to retain his place in the Grand Prix series for this year but he will be joined in the Panthers line-up by the returning Norbert Kosciuch, Australian Dakota North and Swedish rider Linus Sundstrom.

The remaining three riders are all new to the club in Dane Kenni Larsen, who joins from Coventry, American Ryan Fisher and Danish rider Patrick Hougaard.

Fisher spent last season in the Premier League with Plymouth, while Hougaard joins from Belle Vue having spent the previous five seasons with the Manchester club.

The main action gets underway with the parade of riders at 7.45pm, with the first of the 15 heats due to start at 8pm.

Admission prices have been frozen from 2012 and remain at £17 for adults, £14 for senior citizens, students and disabled and £12 for Unemployed and 17-18-year-olds.

Entry for children aged 6-to-16 is £3 inclusive, with children under the age of six admitted free of charge provided they are accompanied by a paying adult. Proof of age or status may be requested.

All tickets may be purchased on the night but, alternatively, they are also available in advance online via the club’s website.


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