Elite League: King’s Lynn Stars 45, Swindon Robins 45
King's Lynn Stars drew their second thrilling meeting in a row against Swindon following a final heat decider in front of the Sky cameras last night.
The hosts were two points ahead going into Heat 15, but visiting Dane Peter Kildemand beat Lynn spearhead Niels-Kristian Iversen, while Troy Batchelor pipped home skipper Mads Korneliussen to ensure a share of the spoils.
Before the meeting Stars stadium owner Keith 'Buster' Chapman – who at next week's Peterborough home derby celebrates 20 years with the club – said he thought the Stars faced their toughest meeting of the season so far.
The result against second in the table Swindon keeps Lynn's Elite League play-off hopes in the balance.
Earlier, Lynn reserve Matuesz Szczepaniak had starred with a paid 16 return after some stunning reserve replacement rides including defeating former Star Lasse Bjerre in the penultimate shared race to keep affairs poised on a knife-edge.
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On the second bend of the opening race, Iversen soon sped into an unassailable lead. Lynn drew first blood in the fastest time of the night (59.72) with a 4-2 helped by Swindon skipper Hans Andersen pulling up and retiring at the start of the final lap.
Danish teenager Bjerre, who top scored for Swindon, soon made his mark by winning a shared Heat Two ahead of third spot Ulrich Ostergaard in his first ride for his new club.
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Following a long delay after Heat Four due to the sun Andersen was excluded after knocking off Maciej Janowski who poleaxed teammate Kevin Wolbert. Janowski easily won the three-man re-run in a 4-2.
Bjerre inflicted a rare defeat on Iversen at the Norfolk Arena in Heat Six. Batchelor's victory and Simon Stead's last-gasp passing of scoreless Daniel Nermark immediately bagged the first heat advantage for the visitors who reduced the deficit to two points.
In Heat Nine Janowski was sent into the bend two air fence by Dawid Lampart, who was excluded. Kildemand – one of six Danes on display – ensured damage limitation by winning the re-run.
However, Lynn team manager Rob Lyon pulled off a masterstroke by immediately replacing Korneliussen with in-form reserve Szczepaniak, who brilliantly held off Stead and Batchelor to fire the Stars to the first maximum 5-1 heat win behind Iversen. Janowski smashed his second bike in Heat 12 and the Bjerre/Stead pairing gave Swindon their first maximum which left two points in it.
Stars: Niels-Kristian Iversen 13, Mads Korneliussen 2+1, Maciej Janowski 8, Kevin Wolbert 4+1, Daniel Nermark 0, Ulrich Ostergaard 4+1, Matuesz Szczepaniak 14+2.
Robins: Hans Andersen 4, Jason Doyle 6+2, Simon Stead 5+2, Troy Batchelor 9, Peter Kildemand 9+1, Lasse Bjerre 11, Dawid Lampart 1+1.