Coventry 49, King’s Lynn 44
A cruel mechanical failure for Filip Sitera cost the Stars a shot of winning at Coventry tonight – but they did take a consolation point from a dramatic Brandon encounter.
Sitera had worked his way to the front of Heat 14 and a King's Lynn 5-1 looked likely, only for his bike to stop and the visitors had to be content with a 3-3.
The home fans had come out in force to witness the home debut of Emil Sayfutdinov, but the Russian found himself on the deck in a spectacular start to the meeting in Heat 1 as three riders – Sayfutdinov, his team-mate Ryan Fisher and Stars' Tomas Topinka all came to grief on the first bend.
Fortunately there were no injuries and Kenneth Bjerre took control of the re-run as the match opened up with two shared races.
Coventry went in front with a 5-1 in Heat 3, Fisher storming from the gate and Kenni Larsen easing Mads Korneliussen aside off the second bend, and Olly Allen then lost out in a fierce first-bend battle with home guest Tai Woffinden in the next.
Bjerre and Korneliussen reduced the arrears to two points with a 4-2 in Heat 5, having been split by Larsen in the early stages, but a blow came in Heat 6 as the Bees notched another 5-1 from fast-gating Larsen and Sayfutdinov who left Allen trailing.
Then in Heat 7 the visitors gated but Korneliussen inadvertently took Topinka wide on turn two and Woffinden slipped through to lead – with Topinka losing third place on the run to the line when he lifted and Nick Morris passed him.
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Stars would have hoped for points in Heat 8 against the Bees reserves but Sitera fell on the first bend, before Allen prevented further damage with a committed first lap to hold off the challenge of Larsen in another shared Heat 9.
Korneliussen did well to split Sayfutdinov and Woffinden in Heat 10 which gave Stars the chance for a tactical ride in the next, and Bjerre took the full six-pointer with Allen re-passing the enthusiastic Morris for a King's Lynn 7-2.
That halved the gap to five points and a 4-2 in the next with Korneliussen taking the flag kept the comeback on, as Coventry held a narrow 39-36 lead with three heats to go.
Bjerre was finally beaten by Woffinden in Heat 13 but Sitera looked set to become a hero when he took the lead of the next race – but just as Topinka was following him through for a potentially match-turning 5-1, Sitera's bike expired and they were left five points down.
There was huge drama in Heat 15, with Sayfudtinov controversially disqualified when Korneliussen went down, and that effectively secured a point for the Stars even though Woffinden won the re-run.
• COVENTRY 49 : Tai Woffinden 15, Kenni Larsen 10+2, Ryan Fisher 8+1, Emil Sayfutdinov 7+2, Nick Morris 7+1, Justin Sedgmen 2, Przemek Pawlicki r/r.
• KING'S LYNN 44: Kenneth Bjerre 19, Mads Korneliussen 10+1, Olly Allen 7+1, Filip Sitera 4+1, Tomas Topinka 3, Lee Complin 1+1, Niels-Kristian Iversen r/r.