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King’s Lynn Stars bring in former world champion Chris Holder as number one

Chris Holder will ride for King's Lynn Stars in 2017. Picture: Ian Burt

Chris Holder will ride for King's Lynn Stars in 2017. Picture: Ian Burt

Former world champion Chris Holder has been unveiled as the headline signing of the off-season for King’s Lynn Stars.

Chris Holder at Saddlebow Road. Picture: Ian BurtChris Holder at Saddlebow Road. Picture: Ian Burt

The Australian will be Lynn’s new number one in the 2017 season, as Niels-Kristian Iversen will not be able to ride in England next year.

Stars co-promoter Rob Lyon feels securing the 2012 world champion’s signature is a serious sign of intent.

“It’s a big coup for us, a star name, a former world champion and Australian champion,” Lyon said.

“When the news came through that Niels-Kristian Iversen was unlikely to be able to ride due to rules in Poland we knew we needed a replacement.

Chris Holder leading heat one during Poole's visit to the Adrian Flux Arena in September 2016. Picture: Ian BurtChris Holder leading heat one during Poole's visit to the Adrian Flux Arena in September 2016. Picture: Ian Burt

“We’re looking forward to it, Chris is a great number one and a leader to get the fans excited so it’s fantastic that we’ve been able to bring him in.”

Danish star Iversen spent six seasons at Saddlebow Road and was always reliable, winning 60 of his 104 heats last season to finish with an average of 9.74.

Injury problems and inconsistencies saw Lynn slump to sixth in the Elite League but Iversen leaves with his status as a fan favourite in tact.

“He’s been great,” Lyon continued. “It’s quite sad that it’s taken a turn for the worse in terms of not being able to race in this country.

“I think he is disappointed and the fans will be but we’ve brought in a top replacement.”

Holder brings with him a similar standard, having averaged 9.53 when helping Poole Pirates finish second last season.

The 29-year-old will arrive in Norfolk to race for the Stars in the re-branded SGB (Speedway Great Britain) Premiership – and Lyon is looking forward to seeing his impact.

“He’s Australian so naturally he’ll bring some team spirit with him and some flamboyancy,” the Stars chief continued. “But he’s a good team man as well so it will be good to see him shepherding some of the young boys round.

“There will be some great 5-1s and he’ll be an exciting addition, that’s for sure.”

Holder was announced at an unveiling at the Adrian Flux Arena this evening, with Troy Batchelor, Robert Lambert and Lewis Rose also continuing as Stars riders, following on from the recent signings of Nicklas Porsing and Kai Huckenbeck.

“It’s always nice to include local riders and Lewis and Robert are very much local so it’s nice to announce both of them,” Lyon continued.

“They both rode in our National League team, came up through the ranks, and that local connection is important for the club and the fans. It’s something we’ve always tried to encourage in recent years with the National League team.

“Troy started off with a bad injury in the close season and it certainly affected him more than he thought it would, so he was playing catch-up and wasn’t 100 per cent.

“But towards the end of the season he was nearly over it and he started to get back to the Troy that we know.”

The Stars now have one final berth to fill in their line-up ahead of next season but Lyon says that decision will not be rushed, as he continues his adjustment to becoming co-promoter during the winter, with Dale Allitt succeeding him as team manager.

“It’s been pretty full on,” he added. “We finally sorted my role at the end of November and it’s been full on before and since.

“There’s lot I want to improve but I can’t do it all at once.”

• Tickets for the Monster Energy FIM Speedway World Cup event at King’s Lynn on July 1 are on sale, and fans who book by March 31 can save over 30 percent.

The Adrian Flux Arena will see this year’s SWC silver medallists Great Britain take on arch rivals Australia, USA and the Czech Republic. For full details, go to monsterenergyswc.seetickets.com

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