Season starts

The Lakeside Hammers will kick off their 2011 Elite League season tonight with a challenge meeting against Swindon with the weather set fair.

After a chaotic winter off track Speedway Racing will now take its rightful position centre stage as both teams look to blast away the cobwebs and come to grips with the controversial new FIM silencer regulations.

The Hammers are awaiting final confirmation with regards to the availability of Polish star Piotr Swiderski following his country’s decision to ban the new silencer with Eastbourne GB international Lewis Bridger likely to fill the No.4 position.

Swedish international Peter Ljung has caught the eye in training and he is elevated into a heatleader position following his storming end to the 2010 campaign whilst Canadian Kyle Legault will make his official Hammers debut determined to take the early chance to make the No.6 position his own.

The Robins are led by top British rider Scott Nicholls and fellow countryman Simon Stead and also include Hammers legend and former favourite Leigh Lanham as a guest for one of their absent Poles.

Tapes are up at 8.00pm, with junior practice from 6.45pm.

The Hammers Co Promoter and Team Manager Jon Cook commented: “The team looked very good in practice and the new silencer doesn’t seem to present any problems at our Raceway thus far so we are looking forward to getting into the action tonight.

“Piotr’s situation is a worry and we flew him back to Poland on Thursday to see if he could sort things out in person and we hope he will be with us tonight although, more realistically, we need him here for the League campaign, which starts next Friday, 1st April, when Wolverhampton will be the visitors.”

Lakeside Hammers team: Lee Richardson (Captain), Kauko Nieminen, Adam Shields, Piotr Swiderski (or Lewis Bridger), Peter Ljung, Kyle Legault, Robert Mear.

Swindon Robins likely team: Scott Nicholls, Simon Stead (Captain), Leigh Lanham, Cameron Woodward, Cory Gathercole, Justin Sedgmen, Josh Grajczonek.

Picture: Peter Ljung in action on practice day (Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)