The Swindon Robins staged a dramatic comeback at the Arena Essex Raceway this evening, pulling back a 12 point deficit after heat 6, to take the meeting 43-50.
The Hammers began the meeting in a dominant fashion, with skipper Andreas Jonsson and guest Poitr Swiderski outgating Swindon number 1 Darcy Ward and then commanding the first and second bends to take a maximum heat advantage.
Guest Fast Track reserve Ben Morley took the flag for the Hammers in a shared heat 2, as Adam Ellis slid off on the entry to bend three on the first lap, whilst Wilkinson and Branford took the minor placings. Jonsson took rider replacement for the injured Kim Nilson in heat three, pulling off a sweet overtake around Troy Batchelor on the entry to the home straight on the end of the first lap, whilst Kennett slotted in ahead of Zengota.
Adam Ellis took his first win of the night in the following race, despite losing his steel shoe on the second lap, with Richard Lawson team riding him home ahead of the chasing Zengota to give the Hammers a 10 point lead. Former Hammers Swiderski and Morley extended this lead further in the 5th, with Swiderski swooping around Blackbird on the third bend of the first lap.
Twelve points down, Alun Rossiter deployed Darcy Ward for a tactical in heat six, with the Aussie teaming up with his compatriot Troy Batchelor to gate and take maximum points ahead of Kennett and Lawson.
Ward returned as rider replacement for the injured Nick Morris in the following heat, delivering a smart first and second bend to join team mate Zengota at the front, whilst Kennett and Jonsson appeared to hinder each other, leaving Jonsson insufficient time to catch the Swindon pairing.
From twelve down, the Robins were suddenly back in the meeting.
Lawson gated in the eighth to take the flag over Wilkinson and Blackbird with Ellis unable to make any impression, before Zengota took victory in a re-run of the nineth, despite the chasing efforts of Swiderski, whilst Morley kept Branford honest for another shared three all.
Ward convincinly won heat 10 ahead of Kennett and Lawson for a third shared race, a score which was then replicated in the eleventh, with Jonsson dominating from the gate, whilst Swiderski was unable to find a way past Blackbird and Batchelor.
Ellis took victory the second reserves race, but with Morley unable to trouble Wilkinson and Branford, the pressure began to crank up on the Hammers, knowing that the Swindon big guns of Ward and Batchelor would be in two of the remaining three races.
And so it proved when the Aussie pairing nailed a maximum 5-1 in the thirteenth over Jonsson and Swiderski, to give the Robinsa three point advantage and the lead for the first time of the evening.
Lawson and Kennett gated in the penultimate race, but when Kennett over cooked it on the second bend, Zengota and Batchelor steamed through the gap to follow Lawson to the flag for a further shared heat, leaving the Hammers a mountain to climb in the nominated heat 15 to salvage the meeting.
Despite being off gates 1 and 3, the Hammers fans could only watch in dismay as Batchelor and Ward again gated to bring home a final 5-1 to the vistors ahead of Jonsson and Lawson, and with it, take the full four elite league points back to Wiltshire.
Scores and heat results
Lakeside Hammers = 43
1. Andreas Jonsson – 3,3,1,3,1,1 = 12
2. Piotr Swiderski (Guest) – 2*,3,2,0,R = 7+1
3. Edward Kennett – 1,1,R,2,0 = 4
4. Richard Lawson – 2*,0,3,1*,3,0 = 9+2
5. Kim Nilsson R/R – ( AJ-3, EK-R, RL-1*, PS-R = 4+1)
6. Ben Morley (Guest) – 3,1,1*,0 = 5+1
7. Adam Ellis – 0,3,0,3 = 6
Swindon Robins = 50
1. Darcy Ward – 1,6^,2*,3,3,2* = 17+2
2. Lewis Blackbird (Guest) – 0,2,1*,0,2 = 5+1
3. Nick Morris R/R – ( GZ-0, DW-2*, LB-2, TB-1* = 5+2)
4. Grzegorz Zengota – 0,1,3,3,2 = 9
5. Troy Batchelor – 2,2*,1*,2*,1*,3 = 11+4
6. Carl Wilkinson (Guest) – 2,0,2,2 = 6
7. Robert Branford (Guest) – 1*,0,0,1* = 2+2
Lakeside win the toss and defer to Heat 15, Swindon choose gates 1&3 in Heat 1.
Heat 01: Jonsson,Swiderski,Ward,Blackbird…57.7 5-1
Heat 02: Morley,Wilkinson,Branford,Ellis(Fell/Remounted)…60.1 (3-3) 8-4
Heat 03: Jonsson,Batchelor ,Kennett,Zengota…57.7 (4-2) 12-6
Heat 04: Ellis,Lawson,Zengota,Branford…60.4 (5-1) 17-7
Heat 05: Swiderski,Blackbird,Morley,Wilkinson(Fell/Remounted)…59.5 (4-2) 21-9
Heat 06: WARD,Batchelor,Kennett,Lawson…59.2 (1-8) 22-17
Heat 07: Zengota,Ward,Jonsson,Kennett(Retired)…59.4 (1-5) 23-22
Heat 08: Lawson,Wilkinson,Blackbird,Ellis…60.0 (3-3) 26-25
Heat 09:(Re-Run): Zengota,Swiderski,Morley,Branford…59.2 (3-3) 29-28
Heat 10: Ward,Kennett,Lawson,Blackbird…58.6 (3-3) 32-31
Heat 11: Jonsson,Blackbird,Batchelor,Swiderski…58.2 (3-3) 35-34
Heat 12: Ellis,Wilkinson,Branford,Morley…60.2 (3-3) 38-37
Heat 13: Ward,Batchelor,Jonsson,Swiderski(Retired)…58.6 (1-5) 39-42
Heat 14: Lawson,Zengota,Batchelor,Kennett…59.2 (3-3) 42-45
Heat 15: Batchelor,Ward,Jonsson,Lawson…59.5 (1-5) 43-50
Updates courtesy of @lakesidelive and @speedwayupdates. Give them both a follow.
Image: Andreas Jonsson. Credit Rob Newell / TGS Photo.