Elite League: King’s Lynn Stars 50, Belle Vue Aces 43
- Credit: Matthew Usher
Heat leader Kenneth Bjerre shook off his early-season rustiness to inspire the Stars to a hard-fought home win over travel-sick Belle Vue.
Lynn's number five failed to record a race win during his side's first two Elite League fixtures of 2015. But it was a different story tonight from the moment the little Dane powered out of the traps in his opener to record a morale-boosting victory.
Bjerre never looked back and went on to produce the type of match-winning display that saw him push team-mate Niels-Kristian Iversen all the way for club bragging rights during the early part of last term. Both, plus captain Rory Schlein, more than played their part this evening though as Lynn's big hitters did the business together.
It was a good job they did because Lewis Kerr and Ashley Morris contrived to produce a rare off night for the Stars' usually dominant reserve pairing. Since the Fast Track Draft was introduced the Adrian Flux Arena outfit have dominanted at the bottom end of their team.
However, the number six and seven – who only scored five from eight rides between them – were overpowered by Aces' pairing Steve Worrall and Stefan Nielsen. In the end it didn't matter though as Lynn, managed by stand-in boss Dale Allitt for the final time, bounced back from their away defeat at Lakeside Hammers on Friday to make it two Saddlebow Road triumphs in a row.
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Iversen, Bjerre and Schlein just had too much speed for the Aces' top trio – skipper Scott Nicholls aside – all clash. Matej Zagar was well below par while former Star Simon Stead had a rotten return to a track he usually performs well on. Had it not been for their captain's 12-point haul, supported well by Max Fricke's tactical-ride boosted haul of 11, paid 12, their hopes of taking something back to Manchester would have been long gone before heat 13.
A 5-1 maximum in that encounter was secured with Bjerre blasting out of the traps and Iversen slicing between Zagar and Stead like a knife through butter. The Stars' top pair were never going to be caught once they hit the front and as they crossed the line it continued Lynn's 100pc record over the Aces following their return to the top flight in 2011.
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Mark Lemon's visitors failed to record a triumph on the road last term and it's now back-to-back defeats away from Lancashire to start the new campaign. But if they can get Zagar and Stead firing they'll surely begin to pick up some points on their travels.
Fricke showed why he is one to watch while seven-time British champion Nicholls is still, on his day, as good as any. However, their outfit's strength in depth was lacking in comparison to the hosts. Lynn could even afford to lose 5-1 in the nominated ride and still triumph by seven.
Robert Lambert's eight, paid nine, and Nicklas Porsing's seven plus one were more than handy and backed up their illustrious compatriots. Yet it was the return to form of Bjerre which will have pleased everyone connected with the Stars most.
After just seven, paid nine, from eight rides before tonight Bjerre showed he can still dominate a meeting from start to almost finish. And with Schlein and Iversen in more than decent form beside him that's always likely to provide a winning formula for the Stars.
Lynn: N-K Iversen 9, R Lambert 8+1, R Schlein 10+2, N Porsing 7+1, K Bjerre 11+1, L Kerr 3, A Morris 2
Belle Vue: M Zagar 4, M Fricke 11+1, S Nicholls 12, C Cook 3+1, S Stead 1, S Worrall 7, S Nielsen 5+1