Elite League: King’s Lynn Stars 51, Leicester Lions 39

Action from King's Lynn Stars v Leicester at the Adrian Flux Arena - Action from Heat 1. Picture: M

Action from King's Lynn Stars v Leicester at the Adrian Flux Arena - Action from Heat 1. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The patched-up Stars beat an understrength Leicester – and the weather – to move back into the play-off places.

In a guest-packed meeting which once again portrayed the state of the sport in Britain negatively, it was the hosts' three replacements that performed far better than their trio of visiting counterparts.

Temporary Stars for the night Kevin Wolbert (seven, paid eight), Dakota North (seven, paid nine) and Carl Wilkinson (eight, paid nine) did team boss Rob Lyon proud after he was forced to draft them into their side for the so-called A47 derby.

That threesome's tidy haul was enough to help get the Adrian Flux Arena outfit over the line as Kevin Doolan (two, paid three), Steve Worrall (eight) and Ben Morley (zero) failed to produce the goods for Norrie Allan's basement boys.

It proved that Lyon got his picks right with four of his regular troops missing – three through injury.

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And while there's nothing that can be done to prevent riders like Robert Lambert, Vaclav Milik and Lewis Kerr having accidents, more has to be done to ensure that supporters do not turn up to their beloved stadium to see only three of their heroes taking to the track.

The situation – which saw Lynn also operate rider-replacement in the place of Lambert – rarely happens in Denmark, Poland or Sweden where speedway continues to go from strength to strength.

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Bigger names, better racing and packed terraces are a pipedream that fans in the UK at the so-called top tier can only dream of.

The solution is not an easy one to find as the powers that be struggle to lift the fortunes of what remains an exciting motorsport on these shores. There are plenty of suggestions floating about of course. A squad system. A smaller league. Same race nights across the country. Cheaper entry.

You name it, it's been suggested as a way of improving a product which is continually leaving the paying public short changed.

But until line-ups are stronger, and containing 14 riders that should be representing the sides on show are present, fans will continue to lose faith in the future of the Elite League.

That accusation cannot be labelled at the Stars fans mind, who turned out in excellent numbers even though they knew the fixture was unlikely to be a classic.

In the end all that mattered to them was that; a) their club picked up three more points and b) the action was completed in time for the result to stand – unlike the last time Lynn faced Leicester at Saddlebow Road.

Credit for that really has to go to Dale Entwistle who forced through 15 heats in one hour and 20 minutes before the heavens opened.

The night's other praise must to go Niels-Kristian Iversen for scoring 15 points, despite not being at his best, and Lyon who played his cards right to see Lynn jump from fifth to third.

The men from Norfolk are now a couple of points clear of Belle Vue having ridden twice less.

With Swindon having plenty of fixtures in hand and destined for a top-four slot, Lyon may have to keep shuffling his deck to ensure injury problems do not derail the Stars' bid to reach the end-of-season shoot-out for a third year in five since returning to the top flight.

Lynn: N-K Iversen 15, K Wolbert (Guest) 7+1, K Bjerre 10, D North (G) 7+2, C Wilkinson (G) 8+1, A Morris 4+3

Leicester: J Doyle 11, K Doolan (G) 2+1, G Walasek 10+1, S Wozniak 5, P Swiderski 3, S Worrall (G) 8, B Morley (G) 0

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