Elite League: Lakeside Hammers 56 King’s Lynn Stars 36
Lakeside's fast-starting Hammers proved to be too good for Rob Lyon's King's Lynn at Arena Essex, writes Marc Gent.
At the start of a busy Good Friday for both sides, their first meeting this lunchtime – ahead of tonight's return at the Adrian Flux Arena in Norfolk – saw the Stars suffer a 20-point defeat.
Lyon had said pre-meeting that the track was one his team did not fear, and from the effort his riders put in, that was obvious to see. Their defeat wasn't a case of not trying it was simply down to not getting out of the start. Lakeside's seven were sharp from the tapes and often led into the first bend.
Lynn fans' favourite Niels-Kristian Iversen kicked-off the meeting with a hard-fought win over Grand Prix rival Andreas Jonsson. But from there on in the Norfolk side were always behind. Consecutive maximum 5-1 race wins for the hosts quickly opened up an eight-point gap after just three races.
Once Lakeside banged in another max in heat five, Lyon wasted little time in pulling out the black and white helmet colour for Iversen. The Dane won his tactical ride in the sixth with Robert Lambert picking up the final point, giving the Stars a 7-2 advantage, which reduced the visitors' deficit to seven points.
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As the meeting progressed into the second half, track conditions became unpredictable and starting become more crucial. Heats nine and 10 went the way of the home side via back-to-back 4-2 advantages with Piotr Swiderski and Kim Nilsson leading the way.
Heat 11 provided the most action with it needing four attempts to get it completed. Lynn's captain marvel, Rory Schlein, got himself excluded for falling in the first staging and then Lambert was adjudged to have taken down Swiderski on the fourth bend, despite the Pole falling in front of the Stars man.
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A resulting 5-0 score for the Hammers put the Stars 16 points behind with four races left. Any hopes of getting something from the season-opener were soon ended with a procession of level races to take the meeting into the final race.
With the defeat confirmed, Lyon put Mads Korneliussen and Lewis Rose out for heat 15, which Lynn lost 5-1.
Lakeside (number of rides): Nilsson 13+1 (5), Lawson 12+1 (5), Swiderski 9+2 (4), Mear 9+1 (4), Jonsson 6 (4), Bridger 5+1 (4), Kerr 2+1 (4)
Lynn: Iversen 14 (4)*, Korneliussen 10 (5), Rose 4+1 (5), Huckenbeck 3 (4), WWilkinson 2+2 (4), Robert Lambert 2 (4), Rory Schlein 1 (4)
*includes tactical ride