Lahti and Gustafsson find top form at last

Bjarne Pedersen
Bjarne Pedersen

Eastbourne Eagles defied all the odds to defeat arch rivals, Lakeside Hammers to earn all three Elite League points at Arlington Stadium on Saturday night.

Reserve Timo Lahti and number one Bjarne Pedersen both scored 13-points and a welcome return to form for Simon Gustafsson who returned a further 11 conspired to steer the Eagles to victory against a Hammers outfit, abundant with Arlington track specialists, to claim a result to stay ahead of the game for the fourth spot in the Elite League Play Off race.

Already missing the talents of skipper Cameron Woodward, recent recruit Mikkel Michelsen and the injured Lukas Dryml, the short handed Sussex side’s chances were dealt a further blow as Kim Nilsson was also ruled out of the clash, along with Lakeside’s Sebastian Ulamek following a sixth race crash in the previous nights encounter - one that resulted in a 56-37 victory for the Purfleet outfit, both riders having been ferried to hospital by ambulance.

With regular high flyers around the Sussex circuit, Lewis Bridger, Davey Watt and Peter Karlsson in attendance, expectations weren’t high. But with guests Stuart Robson and Richie Worrall also putting in a shift, the Eagles always seemed to have enough in the tank.

Heat 11 saw the difference extend to 6-points, 36-30 as Lahti headed home Karlsson for the 4-2. The final sting in the tail for the visitors came in the last race.

Pedersen led home Watt and Gustafsson fended off the challenge of the impressive Piotr Swiderski for the 4-2 that earned the Eagles a much celebrated eight-point win.

Eagles: Timo Lahti 13+1(7), Bjarne Pedersen 13(6), Simon Gustafsson 11+1(6), Stuart Robson (Guest for Mikkel Michelsen) 6+4(5), Richie Worrall (Guest for Lukas Dryml) 4+1(3), Nicolai Klindt (Guest for Kim Nilsson) 2(3), Rider Replacement for Cameron Woodward.