Nikolaj in great form for Lakeside marathon defeat
Lakeside Hammers: 56
Berwick Bandits: 34
First met third in the current league table when the table-topping Berwick Bandits landed on the doorstep of the Lakeside Hammers' Purfleet track last night to meet a team led by Nick Morris, Berwick's top man of 2017 hoping to bounce back from a heavy defeat at Sheffield only 24 hours earlier, which saw two blown engines for Nikolaj Busk Jacobsen and one for David Howe and a multitude of other moments of four luck, however no one realised the ensuing marathon would end just five minutes before 11!
The night didn't start as Berwick would have liked as Morris and Ben Morley shot out of the gate to take an untroubled 5-1 over a good chase from Aaron Summers and Howe while Theo Pijper tried his darndest to pass Alfie Bowtell in Heat Two, but just couldn't manage as Morley took the win in a second home maximum leaving the Bandits trailing 10-2, which descended into the mire when Howe and Kevin Doolan failed to make an impression on Adam Ellis and Kyle Newman as Bandits looked from the wrong end of a 15-3 score.
Richard Lawson and Dany Gappmaier tangled on the first bend of Heat Four and both fell with a re-run with all four called, in which Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen rode the perfect race to win well, but with Gappmaier at the back the 3-3 did little to redress the sizeable early deficit.
However another win from Busk Jakobsen in Heat Six over the powerful Morris and a third for Pijper over Bowtell gave Berwick an very welcome heat advantage, 2-4 narrowing the gap to 14 points, before Doolan and Howe squeezed Morley out of the Heat Seven picture as Lawson won well out in front for another shared 3-3.
In the eighth, Gappmaier fell but clipped Newman who also came down with the referee excluding the Bandit for the stoppage before another delay when Newman needed to be treated for a possible collar bone injury by the medics, after which the re-run, with Morley in for Newman, resumed at 9.50pm, and was a simple win for Busk Jakobsen to bring his total to nine out of Berwick's 17, opposed to Lakeside's 31.
The home 5-1s then continued in Heat Nine for Ellis and a hard ride from Morley over Busk Jakobsen and Pijper, while Howe and Doolan held Bowtell to the rear in Heat 10, won comfortably by Morris taking the score to 39-21.
20-points adrift with four races to go, Ellis out gated Doolan and Pijper to secure the 3-3 taking the score to 46-26, before Summers and Busk Jakobsen briefly led Heat 13 before Morris shot round the pair of them on lap one, with Lawson managing to overhaul Busk Jakobsen half a lap further on in a 4-2 that extended the home lead to 22 points.
Gappmaier again found the tight Purfleet track awkward in Heat 14 as he went down again, bringing Bowtel and Morley down too, and thankfully with no injury, but he was excluded once more with the re-run a 3-3 won by Howe before Summers and Busk Jakobsen tackled Ellis and Morris in Heat 15.
Finishing at 10.50pm after two re-runs, one for Ellis moving at the start and then for a Busk Jakobsen fall, both times called back with all four racers, and in that second re-run Ellis' engine packed in at the gate, as Morris motored on to win in a 3-3 ending the marathon match at 56-34.
Individual riders' Score Chart:
Lakeside: Nick Morris 14, Zack Wajtknecht - Rider replacement, Adam Ellis 12, Kyle Newman (captain) 4+2, Richard Lawson 9, Ben Morley 11+2, Alfie Bowtel 6+4
Berwick: Aaron Summers 7+1, Jye Etheridge - Rider replacement, Kevin Doolan (captain) 5+1, David Howe 7+1, Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen 12, Theo Pijper 3+1, Dany Gappmaier 0