Lakeside Hammers roar past Tigers as they say farewell to Arena Essex Raceway
PUBLISHED: 10:09 15 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:09 15 September 2018
Lakeside Hammers roared their way to victory against the Glasgow Tigers with a 50-40 victory in their final-ever meeting at the Arena-Essex Raceway.
The Purfleet-based outfit put all the emotions behind them to take another step towards qualifying for the Championship play-offs.
Although, majority of night was spent reminiscing about the 34 years of memories for most over the Raceway, including club legends such as Leigh Lanham, Andrew Silver, Martin Goodwin, Peter Thorogood and Troy Pratt along with plenty of others all showing up to say their farewells.
Back to the action, the Hammers got off to a strong start as they sealed a 4-2 advantage in the opening race, as captain Richard Lawson took the chequered flag despite immense pressure from Grand Prix star Craig Cook in second place.
The Tigers then returned the favour and picked up a 4-2 of their own with American Broc Nicol winning the race ahead of Zach Wajtknecht and his partner Jack Thomas finishing third ahead of Alfie Bowtell.
The hosts then picked up a 4-2 in heat 3 before sealing a 5-1 in the fourth race thanks to Nick Morris and Alfie Bowtell – they did have some luck on their side as Chris Harris had to go from 15 metres after touching the tapes.
In heat five, the sides settled for a share of the spoils after Cook cleared away from the pack, but Adam Ellis and Wajtknecht beat Nicol round after he came in to replace James Sarjeant who was excluded for also touching the tapes.
Cook went back-to-back race wins as he came in to replace Jack Thomas, beating Lawson, fellow team-mate Harris and Morley to seal a 4-2.
Morris then made a fantastic start out the gate and flew round the first lap in the lead as Claus Vissing and Wajtknecht battled intensely.
It all ended in disaster for the Hammers when Wajtknecht battled so hard to get back past on the final bend after swapping throughout the race as he picked up and went flying into the air fence hard.
The race was awarded as Morris, Vissing, Starke and Wajtknecht at the back with that putting an end to his night.
After a long delay of repairing the fence, Lakeside made it 27-21, after sealing another 4-2 race advantage thanks to Morley and Bowtell.
In heat nine, 16-year-old Jason Edwards made his Championship debut, as he came in to take a rider replacement ride for Kyle Newman.
Harris won the heat with Ellis chasing him down hard while Edwards just fell short of picking up a point as he battled with Thomas for third but locked up a bit too much – but it was a terrific effort from the teenager.
Lawson and Morley then cruised to a 5-1, before Cook caused the Hammers problems with another race win, and then Ellis and Bowtell managed a 4-2 in heat 12 to make it 41-31.
Cook once again took the chequered flag in heat 13 with Morris and Lawson coming second and third to make it a 3-3 ahead of Harris.
The Tigers then made it a tighter finish as Starke roared his way to victory with Nicol finishing third in between Ellis and Bowtell.
Heat 15 was everything the Hammers would have hoped for with long-serving captain Lawson flying to victory ahead of the in-form Cook with Morris picking up third ahead of Harris to seal a 4-2 race advantage and a 50-40 win on the night.
Former Hammers rider and club legend Leigh Lanham then took to the race and rode the final four laps at the Raceway.
Lakeside Hammers 50: Richard Lawson 12+1, Adam Ellis 12, Nick Morris 11, Ben Morley 7+1, Alfie Bowtell 5+2, Zach Wajtknecht 3+1.
Glasgow Tigers 40: Craig Cook 16, Paul Starke 7+1, Broc Nicol 7, Chris Harris 4, Claus Vissing 4, Jack Thomas 2, James Sarjeant 0.