The Lakeside Vortex Hammers suffer a second straight defeat after a hard fought meeting as they lost 42-47 against The Coventry Bees at Arena Essex.
‘The Hammers’ had once again gave away a four point lead with two races remaining, failing to hold on after two reverse maximums to the league leaders as they took three away points back to the midlands.
Lakeside still had riders out injured, as Wolves number one rider Fredrik Lindgren guested in place of Andreas Jonsson – Marc Owen made his first hammers debut in for Steve Boxall.
The home side had a dream start with a 5-1 maximum as Kim Nilsson sped to victory and supported by guest Lindgren.
Coventry found their feet in the reserve race as Jason Garrity won with Adam Ellis in second. Daryl Ritchings tool third to take a 4-2 reverse.
Edward Kennett burst out the blocks in heat three to victory with the quickest time of the night. Mikkel Bech looked to have secured third but overcooked the last bend to allow Joonas Kylmakorpi through, for a split heat.
Last season’s Hammer regular Daniel King had a superb heat four win, as he passed both Richard Lawson and Adam Ellis on lap one at the third bend but ‘The Hammers’ held an even heat.
Nilsson grabbed his second race victory as Stuart Robson followed closely behind for ‘The Bees’ for a third split heat, as Lakeside held a slender lead 16-14.
Lawson won heat six after gating first, Lakeside were on for a maximum but on lap two Hans Anderson took advantage of an opportunity to pass Bech off lap three bend four, to settle for a 4-2 and extend their lead to four points.
Coventry reversed the previous race as King claimed his second victory after a great battle with Kennett, as Kylmakorpi grabbed third.
Heat eight was a second race win for Lawson as both sides split the race, with the scores at 25-23.
The visitors’ were level after the next heat as Garrity got his double race victory with King in third to take a 4-2 heat win.
Kennett had a gutsy ride in heat 10 as he came from third after the first bend to overtake Robson and then Anderson on lap 3 to snatch a split heat.
‘The Hammers’ replicated the first heat with a second maximum through Nilsson’s victory followed by Lindgren in second, to open up a four point lead at 38-34.
The second reserve race was tense, as Garrity won his second race of the night. Adam Ellis came second and Owen claimed a crucial point in third to maintain their four point lead.
Kennett made it a hat-trick of wins in heat 13 but Chris Harris and Andersen kept out Lindgren for a seventh split heat.
Bech was excluded in race 14 for crashing and in the re-run Lawson gated first and lead for two laps until his engine blew, which gave Coventry a 5-0 heat and one point advantage into the final race.
In the final nominated heat Kennett burst to the first bend but was edged out just by King. The Coventry pairing of Harris and King held off ‘The Hammers’ to take three away points and maintain top spot.
Heat 01: Nilsson, Lindgren, Robson, Andersen 58.7 – 5-1
Heat 02: Garrity, Ellis, Ritchings, Owen 58.9 – 2-4; 7-5
Heat 03: Kennett, Kylmakorpi, Harris, Bech 58.5 – 3-3; 10-8
Heat 04: King, Lawson, Ellis, Ritchings 59.3 – 3-3; 13-11
Heat 05: Nilsson, Robson, Garrity, Ellis 58.8 – 3-3; 16-14
Heat 06: Lawson, Harris, Bech, Andersen 59.0 – 4-2; 20-16
Heat 07: King, Kennett, Kylmakorpi, Lindgren 59.1 – 2-4; 22-20
Heat 08: Lawson, Robson, Garrity, Owen 59.3 – 3-3; 25-23
Heat 09: Garrity, Nilsson, King, Ellis 59.2 – 2-4; 27-27
Heat 10: Kennett, Andersen, Robson, Bech 58.9 – 3-3; 30-30
Heat 11: Nilsson, Lindgren, Kylmakorpi, Harris 59.1 – 5-1; 35-31
Heat 12: Garrity, Ellis, Owen, Ritchings (R) 59.9 – 3-3; 38-34
Heat 13: Kennett, Harris, Andersen, Lindgren 58.6 – 3-3; 41-37
Heat 14: King, Kylmakporpi, Lawson (R), Bech (FX) 60.8 – 0-5; 41-42
Heat 15: King, Harris, Lindgren, Kennett 59.1 – 1-5; 42-47