The Lakeside Hammers became the first team to book their place in this year’s Elite Knockout Cup Semis Finals last Friday after a steam roller performance that saw the side hit the 60 point mark for the second successive home meeting as they completed a double leg win over Birmingham.
The team now await the Preliminary Round meeting between Peterborough and Coventry and the Quarter Final clash between the winners of that tie and Belle Vue to see who they will face in the Semi Final. The home leg of this Semi is scheduled to take place at the Arena-Essex Raceway on Friday 16th September.
Reviewing the two matches against the Birmingham Brummies Lakeside Hammers Co Promoter Jon Cook said: “We really couldn’t have had a better reaction from the team after a break during which the pressure was on to come back with a big performance. Every rider gave their all and showed exactly why we, and they, wanted to be Hammers this year. Our opening heats up at Birmingham last Thursday set the tone for the ties and it would be churlish of me to continue to talk of team changes, subject to Adam Shields’ injury, after the boys have shown that sort of commitment. We asked for a big response and that’s exactly what we got. It followed on from a great last home win in the League, against King’s Lynn, and, realistically, we now have to make sure that the levels we have shown in these three meetings are repeated week in week out in July and August, to extend our League season into September along with our Cup campaign.”
On last Friday’s home leg against the Brummies Cook said: “It really was one of the very best meetings of the season in terms of racing. Birmingham certainly didn’t go down without a fight and the amount of overtaking belied the scoreline, with the Heat 11 clash between Piotr (Swiderski) and Krzysztof (Kasprzak) being the best race of the year thus far. It’s a great shame that our win the night before at Birmingham and the absolutely torrential rain showers everywhere (except at our Raceway) meant that many of our fans missed a terrific meeting on Friday with the crowd being nearly 500 down on our season average of 1325. That’s understandable, given those circumstances and the Club’s chequered history of not running in inclement weather, but those fans who took the chance and came to the Raceway were rewarded with a fantastic night and the extension of our season.”
The Hammers take a two week break due to the Grand Prix Qualifiers next week and the British Grand Prix the following week in Cardiff. The Young Hawks, therefore, take centre stage this Friday 17th June when they take on the Isle of Wight Islanders and there is a well deserved break for track staff the following Friday 24th as the Club will have staged 14 home meetings in the first 13 weeks of the season.
Picture: Heat 7: Piotr Swiderski (red) and Ulrich Ostergaard – Lakeside Hammers vs Birmingham Brummies – Elite League Knockout Cup at Arena Essex Raceway – 10/06/11 – (Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)