Speedway: Lightning strikes for the Hammers

AGAINST a back drop of lightning strikes around the Arena Essex Raceway on Friday evening the Vortex Hammer dug deep to snatch a 47-43 point victory with a dramatic comeback over an Eastbourne team who were six points in the lead after ten heats.

After the visitors had initially gained a four point lead after three heats the Hammers returning asset, Kim Nilsson, won his opening race in what turned out to be a shared heat before the Hammers captain, Davey Watt, who was returning to the side following injury, combined with his fellow Australian, Rory Schlein, to claim a maximum 5-1 heat advantage to level the scores.

The Eagles, however, immediately hit back with two 5-1 heat advantages to go eight points ahead but it was then the turn of Kim Nilsson and Lewis Bridger to get a maximum heat advantage in heat eight to reduce the home side’s deficit to four points. By this time the black clouds were rolling in from behind the home straight and following a 4-2 advantage in heat nine to the Eagles and a shared heat 10 the Vortex Hammers were six points behind their local rivals with only five races to go and the with the lightning becoming even more regular the prospects of the Hammers claiming a victory were looking quite bleak.

However, 5-1’s from Lewis Bridger and Rory Schlein in heat 11 and from Davey Watt in heat 13 took the Hammers into a slender lead of two points. Following a shared heat 14 the riders came to the tapes for the vital final heat with the rain falling and lighting all around the Raceway. At this stage the Hammers needed the minimum of a shared heat to claim two League points whilst the Eagles needed a maximum heat advantage to claim victory. To the delight of the home fans Davey Watt roared to victory and with Rory Schlein following home the Eagles No.1, Bjarne Pedersen, the Vortex Hammers succeeded in picking up those two vital League points with the 47-43 win.

It was an evening of some excellent racing in a meeting that started in bright sunshine and finished in heavy rain and a huge thunder storm.

After the meeting the Vortex Hammers Promoter Jon Cook commented: “That was a spectacular comeback, made all the more special played out against the dramatic backdrop of black thunderclouds and lightning rolling in. Some of the racing was exceptional on a good track, in front of a really good crowd. You don’t always want a last heat decider, but that was top class Speedway entertainment tonight to snatch the victory.”

The Vortex Lakeside Hammers 47: Davey Watt 12 + 1 bonus point (5 rides), Rory Schlein 9+1 (5), Lewis Bridger 8+1 (4), Kim Nilsson 7+1 (4), Ben Morley 6+2 (5), Richard Lawson 3+2 (4) and Adam Ellis 2 (3).

Eastbourne Lifestyle Eagles 43: Lewis Blackbird 12 + 2 bonus points (5 rides), Bjarne Pedersen 12 + 1 (6), Timo Lahti 7 (5), Cameron Woodward 7 (6), Joonas Kylmakorpi 4 (4), Daniel Halsey 1 (4) and Mikkel Michelsen R/R.

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