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. 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.
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. The Arena Essex Raceway was built in 1978 to stage banger racing.
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. 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.
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.
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 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 Hoddesden raceway to complete their fixtures.
The team finished in 4th place out of 10, qualifying for the play-offs, making it the 4th time in 5 years.
The team finished 4th from 10, making the playoffs; however, they were eliminated by Eastbourne in the semi-finals.
The 2010 team finished in 5th place from 9 teams, narrowly missing out on the playoffs.
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.
(DU) Riders doubling-up between Premier and Elite League
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.
The revamped Lakeside Hammers finished 5th from 10 teams (after the closure of Oxford).
Arena Essex finished 11th out of 11, placing them bottom of the Elite League for a second consecutive season.
The 2005 side finished bottom of the Elite League.
Although the team finished 8th from 10 in their first season in the Elite League, they were 14 points above 9th place.
The team finished 7th out of 18 teams. It would be their last at Premier League level.
- "DOUGLAS TO STEP ASIDE - British Speedway Official Website". speedwaygb.co.uk. Retrieved 23 December 2019.
- Bamford, R & Jarvis J.(2001). Homes of British Speedway. ISBN 0-7524-2210-3
- "Changing Fortunes". BBC. 30 October 2007. Retrieved 10 December 2007.
- "The Hammers". Lakeside Hammers.com. Archived from the original on 20 February 2007. Retrieved 27 October 2007.
- "New owner for Arena Essex". BBC. 4 December 2006. Retrieved 10 December 2007.
- Ranson, Jacob. "Lakeside Hammers join the Championship".
- "RACEWAY FAREWELL - British Speedway Official Website". www.speedwaygb.co.uk.
- "EMOTIONAL NIGHT AT ARENA - British Speedway Official Website". www.speedwaygb.co.uk.