The Lakeside Hammers intend bouncing back tonight when the Belle Vue Aces visit the Hammers Arena-Essex Raceway for an important Sky Sports Elite League fixture following two defeats away from home earlier this week against the Aces and current league leaders Poole.
The two away defeats were very disappointing, especially the extent of them, but against two of this season’s top performing sides it was probably not unexpected.
With the late withdrawal of Hammers No.1, Krzysztof Kasprzak due to illness from the Poole match and not being able to find a suitable guest replacement the Hammers were always going to be up against in down in Dorset.
These two defeats mean that there is additional pressure on the Hammers riders to bounce back in Friday’s home match against the Aces, who undoubtedly will arrive with added confidence following their victory against the Hammers on Monday evening.
Once again, the Hammers will have to go into a meeting without their No.1 as Kasprzak has an important meeting in his native Poland the same evening. This time, however, a guest has been booked in and Poole’s Davey Watt will wear the No.1 race jacket. The remaining six members of the Hammers side will line up in their usual racing order.
The Belle Vue side will show at least two changes from the side that competed against the Hammers up in Manchester earlier this week. Their Danish rider, Patrick Hougaard, will be missing as he is involved in a U-21 qualifying meeting overseas whilst former Hammer Leigh Lanham has not recovered from the injuries he sustained in the crash involving the Hammers captain, Adam Shields, in Monday’s match between the two sides. His place at reserve with be taken by the Aces official No.8, Australian Josh Grajczonek, who combines his duties with the Aces with that of competing for Glasgow in the Premier League.
Hougaard’s rides will be covered by utilising the ‘Rider Replacement’ facility, which will allow any of the Aces riders, apart from Hans Andersen, to take an additional ride. In addition, at the time of issuing this Press Release the Aces Management have announced that there is some concern over the fitness of their veteran Swede, Peter Karlsson, who was involved in a crash in his homeland on Tuesday. A decision still has to be made as to whether he will be fit enough to take his place in their side.
Jon Cook, the Hammers Co-Promoter and Team Manager stated this morning: “Obviously the defeat on Wednesday at Poole, even without a number one, is an embarrassment to everyone at the Club and we look to the riders to put that right this Friday as the Aces will be sensing we are there for the taking. In the short term we still believe the current seven Hammers riders can show the pride needed to represent this Club as they are more than aware that long term Stuart and I won’t allow our fans or our non racing staff to be let down on track and if that means changes then they will be made.”
The action at the Arena-Essex Raceway gets underway on Friday at the usual time of 8pm with the parade of riders scheduled for 7.50pm. As announced earlier this week the new price structure for 16 to 18 year olds will come in for the first time on Friday. This means that 16 year olds will now need to pay the child’s admission price of just £3 whereas 17 and 18 year olds will now need to pay £10 instead of the student price of £12 or adult price of £16.
Friday’s expected line-ups
Lakeside Hammers: Davey Watt Australia) – Guest for Krzysztof Kasprzak (Poland), (Stuart Robson (Great Britain), Kauko Nieminen (Finland), Jonas Davidsson (Sweden), Adam Shields (Australia), Paul Hurry (Great Britain), Daniel Davidsson (Sweden).
Belle Vue Aces: Hans Andersen (Danish, Rider replacement for Patrick Hougaard (Denmark), James Wright (Great Britain), Tobias Kroner (Germany), Peter Karlsson (Sweden)– if fit, Josh Grajczonek (Australia), William Lawson (Great Britain