Speedway – First impressions

The Lakeside Hammers Community Programme has teamed up with the University of East London to provide two of their Sports Journalism students with opportunities to gain some ‘real-world’ experience of producing articles and editorial pieces that we will share across the club’s various media platforms.

As part of this project, first year student Jack Giordmaina will be writing occasional pieces for the match day programme and the club’s website with a special focus on looking at speedway from the viewpoint of young people. Jack attended his first ever meeting recently and we are delighted to publish his first impressions of speedway and the Hammers below. 

Fellow student Mitch Young has been working on producing material for local community radio and has already sent meeting reports and interview material to Romford based Time FM for broadcast in the News and Sports shows.

Speedway – First impressions  Jack Giordmaina

I  have been following Speedway for the last couple of months on TV, but it is nothing compared to being in and amongst the crowd on race day.

My first visit to the Arena Essex raceway was against the Hammers local rivals Eastbourne Eagles. The atmosphere that was created by both sets of fans amazed me. The sound of horns and cheers as the riders took to the start line created the sense that something big was going to happen; and I must say we were treated to a great race meeting on Good Friday.

The one thing that struck me more than anything was the sound of the bikes and how loud they were as they exited the pit lane. With 30 minutes to go before the start of the first heat, I wandered into the middle of the pit lane and stood at an equal distance between the two sides and let the roar of all the engines ripple through my body, as I watched the smell of fuel colliding with the air. It is an experience that I will not forget for a long time and one that I would recommend for any petrol head.

Another aspect of the sport that I really enjoyed, is how the fans can get right up to the riders before and after the race meeting. I saw fans talking and taking pictures with the riders before the pit lane was closed for the start of the race meetings, as well as the fans being able to see the teams pack up and congratulate the riders on their performance at the end. In today’s modern sporting world this is very unique, as normally you would need a pass to even access the pit lane.

I have been following all types of motorbike racing for many years now from Moto GP to Motocross and know about Speedway. However, nothing can prepare you for the sheer bravery and commitment that the riders have to ring the neck out of their machinery, whilst knowing that any mistake can lead to a serious injury.

Mikkel Bech soon became my favourite rider, as I could see how hard he was pushing his bike towards the limits, whilst also using his brain to find the best lines on the track that could put him into a position for an overtake. This was proved in heat 12 when he pulled off a stunning overtake on Daniel Halsey.

I could see him plan the move in his head before he executed it. He took the outside line going round the first turn knowing he was going to get a better drive on the exit, then he switched to the inside and completed the move on the inside of turn 2. It was truly stunning.

I am thoroughly looking forward to the next time I am at the Arena Essex Raceway. I hope I can become a solid part of the Lakeside community throughout the season.

Jack Giordmaina

To learn more about the Lakeside Hammers Community Programme, click here

Main Image: Mikkel Bech of Lakeside Hammers – Lakeside Hammers vs Eastbourne Eagles, Elite League Speedway at the Arena Essex Raceway, CREDIT: Rob Newell/TGSPHOTO