The Lakeside Hammers were a speedway team who most recently raced in the SGB Championship in 2018. They were founded (as the Arena-Essex Hammers) by promoter Wally Mawdsley and stock car promoter Chick Woodroffe. The team were nicknamed the Hammers after the West Ham Hammers, a speedway team that closed twelve years earlier.[2] The team's home track, the Arena Essex Raceway, closed shortly before the end of the 2018 season and the team did not compete in a league in 2019.[3]

Lakeside Hammers
Club information
Track addressArena Essex Raceway
A1306 Arterial Road
Club facts
ColoursBlue red and white
Track size252 metres (276 yd)
Track record time56.8 seconds
Track record date30 May 2008
Track record holderAndreas Jonsson
Major team honours
British League Division Two1991
BL Div Two Four-Team Championship1991
BL Div 2 KO Cup1991
Elite League KO Cup2009

History edit

From foundation in 1984 until January 2007, the club was known as the Arena-Essex Hammers but new promoter Stuart Douglas renamed them the 'Lakeside' Hammers at the Arena-Essex Raceway.[4] The Arena Essex Raceway was built in 1978 to stage banger racing.[5] The original Arena-Essex Hammers promotion touted them as the successors to or the reincarnation of the old West Ham Speedway which had closed in the early 1970s - the team took the Hammers nickname, the race colours of white crossed hammers on red and blue halves, and the racenight programmes also carried photos of past West Ham riders from the 1930s through to the early 1970s. There was even a direct link to West Ham speedway within the original Arena-Essex team itself - Alan Sage had ridden for West Ham at the start of his career in 1970–71.

The speedway track was unusual because it did not have a safety fence as the stock car circuit acted as a run-off area. It was not until 1991 that a safety fence was installed, but the lack of fence encouraged the riders to ride wider lines than they would otherwise have done.

The Hammers competed in the National League (the second league tier) from 1984 until 1990.[6] In 1991 Arena Essex won the British League Division Two Championship and were promoted to the British League. They remained in the top flight until the end of the 1995 season, when a promotion change meant the Hammers had to drop to the Conference League for 1996. From 1997 to 2003, Arena Essex competed in the Premier League, before moving up into the Elite League, the top league of British speedway.[7]

The team manager is Jon Cook (previously of the Eastbourne Eagles). The Promoter Stuart Douglas, known affectionately to Hammers fans as 'Stan', took control of the club in 2006.[8]

Hefenbrock and Kennett race for the Hammers in 2007

In 2008, the club had one of its most successful years. The Hammers finished joint top of the Elite League table, but due to race points, were in second place. The Hammers lost three of their top four riders with serious injuries towards the end of the season, but still reached the Craven Shield and Elite League play-off finals.[9]

In 2009, the club won their first piece of silverware since 1991. They defeated the Coventry Bees 108–77 on aggregate in the KO Cup Final.

In 2018 the team opted to move up in to the SGB Championship[10] after competing in the National League for 2017. In September 2018, speedway racing ceased at the track, and the Hammers moved to the Rye House Hoddesdon raceway to complete their fixtures.[11][12]

Season summary edit

Extended content
Year and league Position Notes
1984 National League season 14th as Arena Essex Hammers
1985 National League season 6th
1986 National League season 4th
1987 National League season 12th
1988 National League season 9th
1989 National League season 12th
1990 National League season 14th
1991 British League Division Two season 1st Champions & Knockout Cup winners
1992 British League season 11th
1993 British League season 4th
1994 British League season 8th
1995 Premier League speedway season 10th
1996 Speedway Conference League 6th
1997 Premier League speedway season 7th
1998 Premier League speedway season 11th
1999 Premier League speedway season 9th
2000 Premier League speedway season 13th
2001 Premier League speedway season 10h
2002 Premier League speedway season 11th
2003 Premier League speedway season 7th
2004 Elite League speedway season 8th
2005 Elite League speedway season 10th
2006 Elite League speedway season 11th
2007 Elite League speedway season 5th changed name to Lakeside Hammers
2008 Elite League speedway season 2nd PO final
2009 Elite League speedway season 3rd Knockout Cup winners
2010 Elite League speedway season 5th
2011 Elite League speedway season 4th
2012 Elite League speedway season 4th
2013 Elite League speedway season 6th
2014 Elite League speedway season 6th
2015 Elite League speedway season 8th
2016 Elite League 4th
2017 National League speedway season 4th
SGB Championship 2018 4th PO final

Riders previous seasons edit

Extended content

2018 team

2017 team

Also rode:

2016 team

2015 team

2014 team

2013 team

Also rode:

2012 team

The team finished in 4th place out of 10, qualifying for the play-offs, making it the 4th time in 5 years.

Also rode:

2011 team

The team finished 4th from 10, making the playoffs; however, they were eliminated by Eastbourne in the semi-finals.

Also rode:

2010 team

The 2010 team finished in 5th place from 9 teams, narrowly missing out on the playoffs.

Also rode:

2009 team

Lakeside finished 3rd out of 9, qualifying for the playoffs, but lost to Wolverhampton in the playoff semi-finals. The team became K.O Cup Champions by defeating Coventry.

Also rode:

(DU) Riders doubling-up between Premier and Elite League

2008 team

The team finished joint top on points with Poole, but lost the playoff final to an aggregate score of 108 – 75 to the Pirates. They also reached the Final of the Craven Shield, losing to Coventry.

Also Rode:

2007 team

The revamped Lakeside Hammers finished 5th from 10 teams (after the closure of Oxford).

Also Rode

2006 team

Arena Essex finished 11th out of 11, placing them bottom of the Elite League for a second consecutive season.

Also Rode

2005 team

The 2005 side finished bottom of the Elite League.

Also Rode

2004 team

Although the team finished 8th from 10 in their first season in the Elite League, they were 14 points above 9th place.

Also Rode

2003 team

The team finished 7th out of 18 teams. It would be their last at Premier League level.

Also Rode

1998 team

The team finished 11th out of 13 teams.

References edit

  1. ^ "DOUGLAS TO STEP ASIDE - British Speedway Official Website". Retrieved 23 December 2019.
  2. ^ Bamford, R & Jarvis J.(2001). Homes of British Speedway. ISBN 0-7524-2210-3
  3. ^ "Arena-Essex Lakeside Speedway". Defunct Speedway. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  4. ^ "Changing Fortunes". BBC. 30 October 2007. Retrieved 10 December 2007.
  5. ^ "The Hammers". Lakeside Archived from the original on 20 February 2007. Retrieved 27 October 2007.
  6. ^ "British League Tables - British League Era (1965-1990)". Official British Speedway website. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  7. ^ "BRITISH LEAGUE TABLES - MODERN ERA (1991-PRESENT)". Official British Speedway website. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  8. ^ "New owner for Arena Essex". BBC. 4 December 2006. Retrieved 10 December 2007.
  9. ^ "Year by Year". Speedway Researcher. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  10. ^ Ranson, Jacob. "Lakeside Hammers join the Championship".
  11. ^ "RACEWAY FAREWELL - British Speedway Official Website".
  12. ^ "EMOTIONAL NIGHT AT ARENA - British Speedway Official Website".