Coventry Bees 46 King’s Lynn Stars 47: Away drought is over as visitors repel brave fightback
Troy Batchelor held his nerve in a re-started heat 15 to see King's Lynn through to a vital away victory at Brandon last night.
The Australian's colleague Niels-Kristian Iversen fell in the first attempt to run the deciding race, but Batchelor crucially split Krzysztof Kasprzak and Chris Harris in the re-run to prevent the Bees from completing the most astonishing of comebacks.
The Stars went into the meeting weakened by the absence of Robert Lambert, who was kept out by a broken finger. But in every combination of possible results that must have been considered pre-meeting by boss Rob Lyon, what they actually came up with would have been beyond his wildest dreams as the visitors chalked up their first win on the road this term during the start of what has been described as a season-defining week.
Incredibly, after five races, Lynn led 23-7 having carded three 5-1s and two 4-2s against a Bees side who looked totally off the pace on their home circuit.
It took until heat six for Coventry to share the points, Josh Bates heading Iversen for a couple of laps before the Dane swept through, but a 16-point margin was still a sizeable one to defend.
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Coventry did pick the right time to deploy their tactical ride as Harris carded a full six points in the seventh race whilst Kasprzak moved inside the returning Rory Schlein going into lap three for an 8-1.
Iversen lost his unbeaten tag to Harris and Danny King in heat 10 but Lynn were still comfortably nine points ahead going into the final five races – only to find the gap slashed to three across heats 11 and 12 with Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen's impressive winning run ended by a pass by Kacper Woryna for the lead going into the last lap.
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Suddenly the Stars had a meeting to win again, and the gap was reduced to one in heat 13 before Batchelor eased the nerves by winning the next with Schlein in a vital third place. Needing to avoid a 5-1 reverse in the decider, Batchelor was up to the job to secure the win.
Coventry (number of rides): Krzysztof Kasprzak 13+1 (5), Ben Barker 6+1(4), Danny King 6+1 (4), Josh Bates 6 (4), Chris Harris 10+1 (5), Kacper Woryna 4 (4), James Sarjeant 1 (4).
King's Lynn: Niels-Kristian Iversen 12 (6), Kyle Howarth 5+2 (4), Rory Schlein 4 (5), Troy Batchelor 9+1 (6), Robert Lambert r/r, Nikolaj B Jakobsen 10+1 (5), Lewis Rose 7+1 (4).