Elite League: King’s Lynn Stars 49, Coventry Bees 41
- Credit: Ian Burt
The Stars proved again tonight that if they can sort out their away form they will be a match for any of their title rivals.
Lynn became the first club to ensure early-season pacesetters Coventry failed to take something home from their travels in 2015. And they did it while carrying out-of-sorts heat leader Kenneth Bjerre who failed to record a race win.
Lynn's Dane looked short of confidence, especially at the tapes, and will be desperate to up his game after an indifferent start to the campaign. Because it's evident that when he clicks – like against Belle Vue earlier this month – the heat-leading trio of the 30-year-old, Niels-Kristian Iversen and Rory Schlein will have too much for most, if not all, of the Elite League's seven other teams.
Throw in the improving Robert Lambert and Lewis Kerr and it's easy to see why Rob Lyon's men should be in the mix to reach the play-offs as a bare minimum.
But a fourth Adrian Flux Arena victory on the bounce will count for little if they keep failing to collect points on the road.
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Coventry arrived sitting top of the table having recorded maximum-points victories at Belle Vue, Leicester and champions Poole. They even picked something up during their only away defeat at Wolves on Monday.
However, it was a different story at Saddlebow Road, as they failed to possess any sting in the tail – especially in heat 15.
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To their credit the Bees – hampered by having National League rider Connor Mountain at reserve instead of injured Fast Track Draft rider James Sarjeant – still had a chance of becoming the first side to claim something in Norfolk this term.
Yet they came up against a majestic Iversen when a heat advantage was needed to do so in the nominated ride. Lynn's top gun continued to wind in Joonas Kylmakorpi until he could blast past him on lap three.
And it was a fitting end to an excellent finale which saw all four riders cross the line in a manner which could have seen a blanket thrown over them.
An opening heat maximum 5-1 from Iversen and Lambert had got the Stars off to a flier but it remained pretty tight until the latter and Kerr slammed in the same score in the fifth.
Kylmakorpi was soon deployed as a tactical ride and was going for double. Yet with the pressure on he couldn't live with the home number one who gated like a rocket.
To make matters worse the visiting Finn was set to claim four points for coming second until his bike packed up on the final turn – which allowed Bjerre through to claim his only point of the evening.
Gary Havelock's 2014 grand-final runners-up kept fighting though and ensured Lyon's troops didn't really pull away with Jason Garrity, especially, chalking up his fair share of triumphs.
But they never narrowed the gap enough to be in with the chance of a victory which Lynn secured when Schlein crossed the line first in the 14th.
He couldn't repeat the feat in the last but Iversen did to send the Bees home pointless. And it's clear that they won't be the first, or the last team, to collect nothing in Nelson's County this campaign.
Lynn: N-K Iversen 14, R Lambert 6+3, R Schlein 11, N Porsing 5, K Bjerre 1, L Kerr 8+1, A Morris 4+2
Coventry: H Andersen 4, S Robson 3, D King 5+1, J Kylmakorpi 10, C Harris 9+2, J Garrity 10, C Mountain (guest) 0
A gallery of Ian Burt pictures from tonight's meeting will be added to this report soon.