Elite League: King’s Lynn Stars 51 Leicester Lions 42
Rob Lyon admitted he was a relieved man after the Stars saw off a spirited Lions effort.
Lynn, missing captain Rory Schlein through injury, failed to fire on all cyclinders tonight against a determined Leicester side. The visitors, inspired by guest Freddie Lindgren, were only three points behind going into the 13th heat and still had a chance of taking a losing bonus point home ahead of the nominated ride.
But a below-par Niels-Kristian Iversen and his colleague Robert Lambert clicked as a pair from the tapes to slam in a maximum 5-1 heat advantage to deny Norrie Allan's side.
It could have been so, so different though had former Star Nicolai Klindt's stunning showing not ground to a halt during his fourth outing.
The Dane had breezed to three wins in a row and looked unbeatable before his engine blew up while he was leading the eighth. It turned a possible 4-2 Lions triumph into a 5-1 Stars return and with Klindt failing to pick up another point despite a trio of rides, Lynn dug deep to eventually find a way to glory.
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'Workmanlike is the word I would use really,' said Lyon on his side's display.
'I think bringing Freddie in strengthened them. Having said that they run R/R (rider-replacement) for (Szymon) Wozniak which could have gone better for them. But at the end of the day you've got to ride what's in front of you I guess and we managed to pull a win out which is the main thing.
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'I think Nicolai's retirement was the moment the meeting really changed in our favour. It's the best I've seen Nicolai ride, consistently, for a long, long time. The engine goes bang and the second bike's never the same and he was a completely different rider.
'It was the difference. But I do think they were stronger with Freddie in place of (Sebastian) Ulamek. We knew that would probably be the case. But we did what we did and we managed to pull a win out which is the most important thing.'
Like last week against Coventry, the Stars got across the line despite not being at their best. And that's clearly all that matters for now as Lyon seeks the best formula to drive his Elite League club forward.
Schlein's eight to 10-week injury lay-off means Lyon is likely to be pressed into signing a replacement – especially as Troy Batchelor's return from a winter motorcross accident will not see him race until mid-May.
Iversen was only expected to start the campaign to help the Stars out. Yet it is not yet know if he will hang around for longer once the Grand Prix series gets under way a week on Saturday. It all adds up to testing period for the Stars so any points, like the three they picked up this evening, could go a long, long way when things really start to hit top speed.
Lyon added: 'Wins are the bottom line. That's what it's about. The ironic thing is we could go to Leicester on Saturday and do exactly the same thing.
'It's a strange old situation really. We're quite capable of winning at Leicester. When you sit down and look at the whole squad, it's not an easy fix.
'But we want to get it right when we do make that change. We'll know a little bit more after the weekend.'
Lynn head to Leicester for the return looking to collect their maiden away victory of a season that has started with complications and can surely only get easier for Lyon.
Lynn: 1 Iversen 11, 2 Korneliussen 8, 3 Lambert 11+1, 4 Huckenbeck 5+1, 5 Masters (Guest) 4+2, 6 Wilkinson 6+3, 7 Rose 6+1
Lions: 1 Hougaard 8 (included tactical ride), 2 Starke 1, 3 Summers 8+1, 4 R/R, 5 Lindgren (G) 10, 6 Klindt 9, 7 Auty 6