Thursday, November 29, 2012
King’s Lynn Stars last night signalled their Elite League intent by announcing six members of their 2013 line-up.
At a packed supporters’ meeting, Stars’ chiefs proudly welcomed five new riders – and one from last season’s team – who will be looking to drive Lynn to glory next year.
Australians Rory Schlein and Kozza Smith, Swede Sebastian Alden, Dane Nicolai Klindt and popular English ace Simon Stead are the quintet who arrive at the Norfolk Arena after agreeing to join the club.
2012 captain, Mads Korneliussen, was also unveiled after putting pen to paper again as he prepares to begin his third season with the Saddlebow Road club.
The Stars’ hierarchy admitted their seventh signing - which will complete the Stars’ team - is tantalisingly close to be completed. However, last season’s flying number one Niels-Kristian Iversen’s return has been held up by parent club Peterborough.
Owner Buster Chapman, who hopes paperwork on the Grand Prix star’s return can be finalised soon, said: “Niels is gutted he couldn’t be here. He didn’t want to come and say anything and put his foot in it. He’s committed to us. If he can’t ride at King’s Lynn he has said he doesn’t want to ride in England.”
Schlein’s arrival caused the most excitement at King’s Lynn Town Football Club’s Linnets’ Lounge as he completed a full transfer from league rivals Coventry Bees.
The 28-year-old, the only signing who attended the event, endured a nightmare campaign with Belle Vue last time round as the Aces struggled at the foot of the table for almost the whole year and finished bottom.
The Stars’ asset - who also broke his foot last season - was the Manchester club’s captain and number one and scored a huge chunk of their points as he looked to lift the gloom around Kirkmanshulme Lane.
Team boss Rob Lyon said of his new heat leader: “The last two or three years has seen Rory blossom as a rider and become an out-and-out number one. He’s made the step up.
“He’s been much a much sought after rider and he’s more than capable of doing a fantastic job for us.”
Schlein has established himself as one of speedway’s best riders in recent years and has won Elite League titles as well as lifting the much-coveted riders’ championship in 2010.
Following the likeable Aussie into the Norfolk Arena - at a place he can now call home - is fans’ favourite Korneliussen.
The 29-year-old admitted he had an up-and-down season and was looking to bring his away form to the Saddlebow Road track - where he sometimes struggled at times last term.
The Dane is however, a popular figure and did enough to convince Buster, Lyon - who only recently pledged his future to Lynn - and co-promoter Jonathan Chapman - to give him another shot.
He will be joined by close friend and fellow countryman Klindt and the duo are likely to be paired at three and four in their side’s line-up.
The 23-year-old and former European Under-19 champion has spent the majority of his career with parent club Wolverhampton but has now decided to move to Norfolk.
After missing a large part of 2012 with a broken shoulder blade, the youngster is looking to hit next season at full speed.
Another of the new arrivals, of sorts, looking to make up for lost time is 24-year-old Australian Smith. He is no stranger to the Saddlebow Road track having initially signed for the Stars’ last winter.
However, Smith broke his leg in the Australian Championships and was forced to return to his homeland to recuperate. He will start life back with Lyon’s men as a reserve.
His return was greeted with cheers and Lynn’s team boss said his “infectious attitude” will bring some much-needed rider and fan interaction back to the club.
The Down Under star will be joined at reserve by 2012 Elite League title-winner Alden. He scored an impressive 13, paid 17, for Swindon Robins in their play-off triumph over Poole Pirates after spending much of this year shining in the Premier League for Berwick.
He will have a familiar face in new surroundings when fellow Robins’ team-mate Stead, 30, dons the Stars’ colours. Yorkshireman Stead has ridden in Britain for the last 14 years, but after spending the last four of those at Swindon, was released after helping the Abbey Stadium outfit lift the title. The three-time British Under-21 champion will now be looking to inspire his new club to success next season.
Maciej Janowski, Kevin Wolbert, Mateusz Szczepaniak, Daniel Nermark and double-up pair Ulrich Ostergaard and David Howe are the riders who made way for the new arrivals.