Peterborough nearly spoiled the party tonight as King’s Lynn squeezed to a derby victory on Buster Chapman’s special evening.

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The Stars were eight points up before their foes scrambled back into it and took the clash into a final heat-decider, which was tied.

The evening was always going to be a special one, such is the fierce A47 rivalry between Lynn and Peterborough. But with the meeting coinciding with Chapman’s 20th anniversary, there was certainly a magical feeling in the air.

A host of ex-riders took to the microphone to pay their own tributes to a visibly emotional Chapman who enjoyed a special parade before the start of the action. Stars legend Terry Betts said the Norfolk Arena supremo had done a “wonderful job” at Saddlebow Road since taking over in 1992 - and not many would disagree with him.

As the sound of Chapman-devoted air horns drifted into the night sky, the racing began with Rob Lyon’s men desperate to avenge a miserable Good Friday derby double-header defeat to the Panthers in April.

Ex-Star Kenneth Bjerre breezed to a race win in heat one but the Stars responded in fine fashion winning the next three heats to storm into an eight-point lead.

Mateusz Szczepaniak and Ulrich Ostergaard enjoyed race wins as the Stars found their gating rhythm that has so often eluded them at home this season. And it was more fast starting that saw Lynn gain their first maximum 5-1 race victory as Daniel Nermark and Szczepaniak led from the front to win heat four.

Captain Mads Korneliussen continued his side’s electric start as he saw off Bjerre to secure a fine win while the latter just did well to stay on his bike after smashing into the air fence on the final turn.

But just as it looked like the celebrations would continue all night, the Panthers impressive Krzysztof Buczkowski decided to become a party pooper. He won three consecutive heats to claw Peterborough back to just six behind at the interval.

Chapman’s dream evening looked like it might turn into a nightmare after the restart when Michael Jepsen Jensen and Linus Sundstrom stormed to a 5-1 to reduce the deficit to two.

With the scores all level after 12, an off-the-pace Niels-Kristian Iversen won his first race of the night to edge the Stars back in front. And two shared heats ensured both teams took home Elite League points with Lynn squeezing to a narrow win and picking up two, while Peterborough earned a valiant one.

King’s Lynn: Niels-Kristian Iversen 9+1, Ulrich Ostergaard 7+2, Mads Korneliussen 13, Daniel Nermark 9+1, Kevin Wolbert 2+1, Mateusz Szczepaniak 6+2

Peterborough: Kenneth Bjerre 13, Michael Jepsen Jensen 7, Linus Sundstrom 9+1, Krzysztof Buczkowski 9, Norbert Kosciuch 6+2, Jason Bunyan 0• Matthew Usher’s pictures from tonight’s meeting will be added to this report soon.

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