Lakeside Hammers got off to the best possible start in this clash against Peterborough Panthers, racing into a commanding 2-4 advantage after just four races to give themselves a firm foundation to run out comfortable winners.
It simply was the ideal way to ensure that any early home track advantage could be put to good measure whilst the Panthers felt their way around the Purfleet confines. Equally the confidence in the side was a sight to behold as early as heat one when Peter Ljung got away quickly and both he and Lee Richardson held off track specialist Peter Karlsson for a 5-1.
Karlsson was tracked as a guest for Grand Prix star Nicki Pedersen and the Hammers tracked former favourite Joonas Kylmakorpi as a replacement for the injured Piotr Swiderski. Karlsson would recover from his opening blip to record three straight wins whilst Kylmakorpi faded towards the end after a bright start.
Top scorer for the home side once again was Swedish starlet Kim Nilsson who is quickly proving a firm favourite amongst the home faithful. Another spectacular score of paid seventeen points ensured he topped the home scorechart for the second week running and he was duly rewarded with a ride in the nominated race during which he held off Karlsson.
There was the welcome sight of Stuart Robson’s return to the colours of the crossed Hammers and he was arguably the most entertaining rider of the evening, earning several points from the back including a couple of notables swoops in heats three and five.
The latter was an excellent race that saw the Panthers pair gate on a 5-1 only for Robson to overtake Linus Sundstrom on lap 2 and Kylmakorpi to take third on the last.
Panthers did finish quite strongly as Troy Batchelor came to life and that should bode well for their own return to the raceway in August as the race for the Elite League play-offs gathers momentum.