Friday play-off crunch match

The Lakeside Hammers will be fired up to put their last heat disappointment at Poole on Wednesday evening behind them when they face Play Off rivals the Peterborough Panthers at the Arena-Essex Raceway on Friday.

The Essex based team and the Panthers are neck and neck in the form guide for the crucial top four finish in the League, ahead of Belle Vue, Coventry and Wolves and with the visitors needing to start scoring away points it’s a meeting of extreme importance in the race for Play Off places in the Elite League.

The Hammers Co Promoter Jon Cook explained: “We need to take the many positives from Wednesday, not least the point we gained, into Fridays match. Whilst the Pirates had their own injury problems for us to lead the whole match up until the last race with just 5 riders and only one heat leader after losing Piotr (Swiderski) in Heat 4 is a sign of how hard the boys are fighting to stay in the title race. All five working tirelessly on track and in the pits to get a result and although it should have been three League points you have to give full credit to Poole’s top three riders who were equally as determined to grind out a result themselves. In the grand scheme of things it’s still a point we weren’t expecting and if we can add three more on Friday we will be the team to beat for a Play Off spot.”

The Club have flown their Polish star Piotr Swiderski back to his homeland today in the hope that specialist treatment to his ankle injury will allow him to return to the line up for Friday’s vital League match. However, hopes are not high and it’s more likely that former Hammer Joonas Kylmakorpi will be called into action as a guest for the long term absent Adam Shields with ‘Rider Replacement’ switching to cover for Swiderski.

The Hammers expected line up is: 1. Lee Richardson, 2. Peter Ljung, 3. Stuart Robson, 4. Rider Replacement for Piotr Swiderski, 5.Joonas Kylmakorpi guest for Adam Shields,  6. Robert Mear 7. Kim Nilsson.

Friday’s Elite League match against the Panthers gets underway at the usual first heat start time of 8pm but will be preceded at 7pm with six heats of racing from ‘The Blast from the Past’ . Friday will see the start of the summer holiday special offer of ‘Kids for a Quid’ whereby children aged 6 to 16 inclusive will be only need to pay £1 to watch a total of 21 heats of Speedway.

Picture: Kim Nilsson (blue), Renat Gafurov (white) and Jerran Hart – Lakeside Hammers vs Poole Pirates – Elite League Speedway at Arena Essex Raceway – 22/07/11 – (Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)