SPEEDWAY News and Fixtures

LAKESIDE are top of the Elite League table after Good Friday's action having picked up a bumper haul of six points from their double-header against Eastbourne.The Hammers won 55-36 on home territory before collecting a 51-45 success at Arlington - having raced into an astonishing 20-4 lead after four races.Lakeside co-promoter Jon Cook said: "Six points in the bag on a day when other fancied teams won away was crucial. When Eastbourne came back at us in the away meeting, we had Davey Watt having problems with his back and we looked on the ropes."But the boys came back strong again and although we could have tied up the extra point, it's also the case that at 12 points up with three heats to run, the home side were actually on three 5-1's before re-runs were called, so we can't be too disappointed."(SPEEDWAY 2)DARCY Ward played a starring role as Poole kicked off the defence of their Elite League title with a Good Friday double against Coventry.Ward secured a crucial tactical ride 8-1 race advantage at Brandon with team-mate Dennis Andersson and scored an 18-point maximum as the Pirates hit back from ten points down to win by five.And in the return fixture in the evening he dropped just one point from five rides with colleague Chris Holder scoring a 15-point maximum in the Pirates' 52-38 victory.Ward said: "It's good to be out there riding and if I can help my partner then I will. I was always told there is no 'I' in team, and if I can help Poole get as many points as possible then that's my job."(SPEEDWAY 3)DANISH youngster Michael Jepsen Jensen inspired a profitable Good Friday for Peterborough as they collected home and away wins against local rivals King's Lynn.Jensen piled up bumper hauls of 16 at home and 17 away, backed up by a paid maximum from Linus Sundstrom at the Norfolk Arena as the Panthers, who failed to win on the road in the league last season, got off to a flyer in 2012.Co-boss Jan Staechmann said: "Michael has had a fantastic day and there were also some other good individual performances, but to be honest the whole day was a real team effort."It's a great start to our Elite League season after going all last year without an away win. We've put that right on opening night and we now look forward to what will be another big test at Lakeside next Friday."(SPEEDWAY 4)SWINDON made a highly impressive start to their away programme with a 53-37 win at Birmingham - finishing the meeting in blistering style.The Robins, who had Peter Kildemand in outstanding form at reserve with 15+1, recorded three 5-1s in the last three races to go well clear of the Brummies and pick up all four points available.Manager Alun Rossiter said: "It was nip-and-tuck for a while but we took the advantage in Heat 8 and after that we put the hammer down. It was pretty impressive from us, and an all-round good team performance."I haven't seen many teams come away and win by sixteen points before so we're really pleased with that, and obviously when I came back to Swindon Peter Kildemand was one person who I was desperate to sign!"(SPEEDWAY 5)BELLE Vue speedway chief Chris Morton apologised to a bumper opening day crowd at Kirkmanshulme Lane stadium after their Elite League match against Wolverhampton had been called off after three races because of an unfit track.Riders asked referee Jim McGregor to make an inspection after they had struggled to handle a heavy, wet surface which made it difficult to control a bike, never mind race it.Morton said: "The riders had struggled to race on it. We had worked so hard to get the first home meeting right but the weather this week caught us out."We apologise sincerely to all the fans who came to the meeting and can only add that we are bitterly disappointed by what happened."(SPEEDWAY 6)CLAUS Vissing romped to a five-ride full maximum as back to full-strength Somerset picked up a 57-38 League Cup win over Rye House.Vissing said: "It was great to get my first maximum for Somerset so early on in the season, especially after having just missed out last week, but I was just one part of what was a great team performance."Meanwhile Edinburgh chief Alex Harkess says the signs are good for his side after a 42-33 win over Newcastle in a meeting curtailed with three heats to go due to rain.Harkess said: "We are developing into a very solid team, and the three heat leaders are going to be very hard to beat on their home track."Elsewhere in the League Cup, a fine last-race win from Richard Hall secured Sheffield a 45-45 draw at Redcar, and Ipswich had Kevin Doolan and Dakota North in high-scoring form as they defeated Leicester 53-40.(SPEEDWAY 7)SHANE Hazelden's first-ever maximum inspired the newly re-born Rye House Raiders to a home win in their first meeting of the season - although they were held to a narrow three-point margin by the Isle of Wight in their KO Cup clash.Hazelden scored 12+3 in the Raiders' 49-46 win and combined with Ben Morley for a last-heat 5-1 after the Islanders had come back from ten points down to lead the first leg tie.Hazelden said: "I've come close to a maximum before, but to finally get it is an absolutely amazing feeling. I've invested as much as I could in my equipment, and I've trained hard during the winter, and it's paid off tonight with the perfect start to my season."This is my third year in the National League, and I really want to push forward to the next level. I'm riding well, I'm gating well, and I'm determined to prove that the Premier League is not far away."(FIXTURES)SUNDAY APRIL 8:LEAGUE CUP: Glasgow v Berwick 4pm, Newcastle v Scunthorpe 6.30NATIONAL SHIELD 1st leg: Mildenhall v Dudley 4.30MONDAY APRIL 9:LEAGUE CUP: Rye House v Leicester 2pm, Scunthorpe v Sheffield 3pmNATIONAL LEAGUE: Rye House v Stoke (follows LC fixture), Scunthorpe v King's Lynn (follows LC fixture)TUESDAY APRIL 10:SKY SPORTS ELITE LEAGUE: Wolverhampton v Belle Vue 7.30CHALLENGE: Isle of Wight v USA Tourists 7.30

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