Hawks go top of the league

The Hackney Hawks take centre stage again at the Arena-Essex Raceway this coming Friday, 15th July, when they face the Buxton Hitmen in National League action.  The Hitmen are the current League Champions having won the Trophy in 2010, a year that also saw them win the Knockout Cup.  The Hawks are currently top of the National League having beaten the Isle of Wight Islanders at the Raceway last Friday and followed that up with a fantastic win at Buxton on Sunday. The seven vital League points gained from these two victories currently place the Hawks four points clear at the top of the table.

Second placed side, the Dudley Heathens, do have two matches this week, one at their Wolverhampton home on Tuesday and then away at Belle Vue on Wednesday, so by Friday the Hawks could find themselves back in second place but a win at the Arena-Essex Raceway against the Hitmen would ensure that they would move back up to at least joint top of the table. Ultimately a top four position at the conclusion of the League campaign will be required for a place in the end of season Play Offs.

A successful weekend started on Friday with the Hawks beating the Isle of Wight 58-35 at the Arena-Essex Raceway, the home of the Lakeside Hammers. This win was gained despite them losing their No.1 Shane Hazelden, following a fall in the opening heat. This resulted in the young Hawks rider dislocating and breaking a finger. The remainder of the team covered for the loss of Hazelden by roaring to the 23 point victory. All the remaining six riders performed well and were led by their captain, David Mason, who amassed a total of 13 points from his five rides. Barrie Evans failed to score in his opening ride due to machine problems with his own bike and eventually came out on Ben Morley’s machine. After that Evans won his remaining three races. With Hazelden out of the match his remaining three rides had to be taken by the reserves with both Ben Hopwood and Brandon Freemantle responding magnificently with Hopwood scoring paid 16 points from his six rides and Freemantle claiming paid 10 points from his five rides. The Isle of Wight Islanders top scorer was Paul Starke who scored 12 points from his five rides, which included six points for a race win whilst on a ‘Tactical Ride’.

Up at Buxton on Sunday the Hawks brought in Paul Starke to cover for the injured Shane Hazelden. The Islanders rider continued his good form from Friday by scoring paid 11 points for the Hawks. However, Barrie Evans top scored with 17 points, dropping just one point in his six rides. These two riders combined in heats 13 and 15 to ensure the win for the Hawks. The final score of 50-40 ensured the Hawks claimed all four of the available League points. Once again the Hawks reserves performed well with Ben Hopwood having to take additional rides as David Mason missed the match. Hopwood amassed paid 12 points from his 6 rides whilst Brandon Freemantle scored paid six points from his four rides.

The Hawks remaining two riders, Ben Morley and Mark Owen, also got amongst the points with Morley totalling a paid 17 points and Owen paid 11 in the two matches over the weekend.

The Lakeside Hammers Co Promoter Jon Cook commented on the Hawks performances over the weekend saying: “The effort of our fans to beat a horrendous day and beat the traffic was rewarded with the best Hawks display to date at our Raceway and it’s great they took that on to Buxton. This Friday’s match at our Arena-Essex Raceway that sees the Hawks take on Buxton will probably be our last home meeting for the youngsters ahead of the Play Offs so we are hoping those fans yet to sample this exciting level of racing will take this opportunity and get behind the boys to keep them top of the League and firmly in sight of the Play Offs.”

The match between the Hawks and Buxton, the reigning League Champions, takes place at the Arena-Essex Raceway this Friday, 15th July, and will see the opening race start at 8pm. The admission prices are: – Adults £12, Concessions £10 and children aged 6 to 16 inclusive £2 with children under 6 free.

Picture: Heat 12: David Mason (red), Ben Hopwood (blue) and Danny Warwick (white) – Hackney Hawks vs Isle of Wight Islanders – National League Speedway at Arena Essex Raceway – 08/07/11 – Rob Newell/TGSPHOTO)