The Lakeside Vortex Hammers kick-off their start to the new Elite League season with three home points, after a 56-36 victory over the King’s Lynn Stars at Arena Essex.
Lakeside dominated the early heats which played the part in securing the Hammers victory with three 5-1 maximums in the first third of the meeting.
Neils Kristian Iversen won the opening race of the afternoon, as he proved to be Lakesides headache with Andreas Jonsson in hot pursuit to be beaten by half a wheel’s length at the finish to split the heat 3-3.
The opening reserve race needed a rerun, as Carl Wilkinson collided with Lewis Kerr which swept out Rob Mear as a result. Mear then put the throttle down and took the rerun with Kerr in support to take Lakesides’ first maximum of the season.
The hosts made it back-to-back 5-1’s, as Kim Nilsson got his first race victory with Lewis Bridger holding on for second on his Elite League return – to take an early 13-5 lead.
Richard Lawson grabbed his first win, as he got to the first bend in front and capitalised but Kerr struggled as he slipped out of the points as Mads Korneliussen took second and Lewis Rose third.
The Hammers then got back to the race maximums in heat five, for their third of the night as Piotr Swiderski sped to victory and Mear snatched second on the final bend off Kai Huckenbeck.
King’s Lynn then played their tactical ride, with Iversen in the chequered helmet. Bridger was unfortunately excluded for stopping the race after his fall, so Lawson stepped up for damage limitation as Iversen took his second victory of the day and Lawson secured second – for a 2-7 heat with the score at 23-16.
Lakeside won the next two heats courtesy of Nilsson and Lawson but split both races to maintain their seven-point advantage.
The home side then opened up their lead once again, as Swiderski got his second race victory and Mear once again put up a fight to take third for a 4-2 lead.
Nilsson got his hat-trick of wins in heat 10, as the Hammers finally found a route past Iversen and Bridger aided in third to open up a 11-point lead at 37-26.
Heat 11 was full of drama, as Rory Schlein was excluded for stopping the race. On the rerun Robert Lambert looked to have clipped Swiderski, as the race was stopped again but all three rider’s returned.
On the third attempt, the race was stopped again as Lambert was then disqualified for causing the race to stop as Swiderski fell again. The Hammers then battled it out between themselves for a 5-0, as Jonsson won with Swiderski settling for second and opened up a 16-point advantage with the scores at 42-26.
The next three heats were split 3-3, as Mear rode a superb race to take his afternoon double. Iversen grabbed his hat-trick of victories in race 13 and Korneliussen took heat 14.
The Hammers finished in fine style for their fourth and final maximum of a glorious afternoon at Arena Essex, as Lawson took victory and Nilsson second – to complete the 56-36 overall win.
Lakeside now take the dash to Norfolk for the second leg of the Good Friday double to face King’s Lynn at the Adrian Flux Arena, in search of some vital away points.
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