Photo gallery: Elite League: King’s Lynn Stars 61, Coventry Bees 31

Stars number one Nilels-Kristian Iversen (left) on his way to winning heat one against Coventry. Picture: Ian Burt Stars number one Nilels-Kristian Iversen (left) on his way to winning heat one against Coventry. Picture: Ian Burt

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
10:00 PM

The rampant Stars won again – but Coventry’s fans should still be proud of their depleted side’s efforts in Norfolk tonight.

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The Bees were hampered before the farcical meeting even started thanks to the ridiculous ruling that forced the visitors to replace two of their heat leaders with lower-level replacements. Hans Andersen and Michael Jepsen Jensen, competing in Denmark, saw their places taken by Premier League pair Simon Lambert and Cameron Heeps – both of whom had to, according to the laws of the sport in this country – have averages of under six points.

Of course they were never going to stand a chance against the Elite League leaders who would probably have been too good for a full-strength line-up, let alone one that was patched up in the most extreme of manners.

Riders like Niels-Kristian Iversen and Kenneth Bjerre compete against the best the world has to offer in the Grand Prix series. The former is world number three. And he hardly even needed to break sweat to pick up a handsome 14 points. Bjerre rammed home a paid maximum – as did the improving Nicklas Porsing – to claim his top Stars score of an injury-affected term since April.

A better-than-expected crowd deserved more than the routine race victories they witnessed for much of the clash. Seven 5-1 maximum race wins out of a possible 15 helped Rob Lyon’s heroes record their largest margin of home victory in 2014 ahead of this evening’s trip to Swindon. But even the majority of those home fans would have been hard pushed not to applaud the commitment of Gary Havelock’s troops for the evening.

Try as they might, Simon Lambert and Heeps couldn’t keep up with any of their opponents and ran in two blanks. They may have been heat leaders in name but they were not in reality. Yet they kept going, and trying, and must have been inspired by their temporary colleagues.

Ex-Star Lasse Bjerre bagged a decent six, and deserved more, while reserve Jason Garrity chipped in with a gritty eight, paid nine. When the meeting was long out of reach he still chalked up a race win as the Bees kept buzzing with pride.

In the final ride, Chris Harris – who had picked up four points going for double as a tactical ride – even ruined Iversen’s hopes of a max. It didn’t really matter, but he showed that Coventry hadn’t come to wave the white flag as their boss joked they might. Even in the races they lost, it would be harsh to say they gave up.

The away side just lacked the quality to live with riders like Porsing who made it look men against boys in the 12th when he blasted from third to first in an instant. His earlier pass of the fixture which took him from fourth to second was too good for any top-flight rider to handle, let alone second-tier try-hard Heeps.

But if proof was needed that the Midlanders were trying, just ask Lewis Rose. Lynn’s reserve was forced to withdraw from the clash with a muscular and hip injury after being forced off for a second time in the seventh. The handicapped Bees may have been stung in terms of the scoreline. The Stars may have been impressive. But the heroes of the night belonged to those from Brandon – and their supporters who came to witness a night which made a mockery of speedway in Britain.

Lynn: N-K Iversen 14, N Porsing 10+2, R Schlein 10+2, R Lambert 7+2, K Bjerre 10+2, L Kerr 10+1, L Rose 0

Coventry: S Lambert 0, L Bjerre 6, C Heeps 0, K Hansen 4, C Harris 11, J Garrity 8+1, J Sarjeant 2+1

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