King’s Lynn 43, Eastbourne 46
King's Lynn's heartbreaking final heat Elite League defeat tonight was compounded by a suspected dislocated shoulder injury for skipper Olly Allen.
The Norfolk-bred ace hit the deck two corners into his first race in heat three but walked back to the pits before confirming his early retirement.
Allen later revealed he had suffered a recurring collarbone injury which rules him out of Thursday's Elite League trip to Birmingham and the Stars' captain must also be a serious doubt for this weekend's league return against the leaders.
Lynn looked to have overcome their numerical disadvantage to set up a thrilling finale but Kenneth Bjerre's engine failure with the Stars' on a maximum gifted Eastbourne the victory.
'We had no luck all night and the referee's decisions were awful,' said frustrated Stars' team boss Rob Lyon. 'I really don't know what meeting she was looking at, if I'm honest with. That is the way it goes sometimes. The decision to exclude Mads (Korneliussen) was strange. No-one in the pits could understand that one.
'We fought our way to the end but in heat 15 when it looked like we were going to nick a win Kenneth's engine goes. We had a problem when Olly crashed and that made it a backs-to-the-wall job so with that and no luck at all to take it to a last heat decider was not too bad an achievement.'
Kenneth Bjerre appeared to have put his Elite League Pairs woes behind him with an opening cruise but Tomas Topinka ran wide exiting turn two to gift Bjarne Pedersen second.
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Cameron Woodward and Timo Lahti proved too quick for the hosts' bottom-end pair in a portent of what was to come.
Korneliussen won an eventful heat three re-run after Allen's exclusion after tangling with Simon Gustafsson. Korneliussen drove inside the Eastbourne pair to dictate before Lewis Bridger crashed out on the final lap of an awarded tour. Niels-Kristian Iversen opened his account in emphatic fashion.
Korneliussen was then controversially excluded after Pedersen squeezed the Dane out, but Lasse Bjerre reeled in Lukas Dryml to split the visiting duo. Older brother Kenneth reduced the early arrears with a sharp sub-59 second tour. Iversen's second flag of the night moved Lynn back in front for the first time since the opener – courtesy of Lasse Bjerre's workaholic efforts to subdue Gustafsson in the rear. Topinka replicated the youngster's heroic rearguard action to anchor another slim home heat advantage. Filip Sitera jousted with Lahti but held the Finn at bay as the theme of the night continued with Joonas Kylmakorpi comfortable at the head of affairs.
Topinka dived into Kenneth Bjerre's tyre tracks but the Eagles' duo swarmed past the Czech who looked a forlorn figure as he trailed in casting anxious glances down at his machine. Lasse Bjerre proved he was no respecter of reputations with an impudent attempt around the outside of grand prix racer Pedersen before his countryman re-asserted his authority to move Eastbourne back within a point.
Gustafson and Lahti anchored a painful maximum for the home fans to wrestle back control of this table-topping contest. Pedersen inflicted a first defeat of the night on Kenneth Bjerre to underline the shifting balance of power. Woodward was excluded in the penultimate tour after tangling with Lasse Bjerre who hauled himself off the track to partner Korneliussen to a dramatic maximum to cut Eastbourne's lead to a point.
Kenneth Bjerre and Korneliussen went to the tapes needing any sort of heat advantage to complete a remarkable comeback and the Danes rocketed out of the traps but Bjerre senior agonisingly trundled to a halt around the bottom bend and with him went Lynn's unbeaten home record.
• Stars: K Bjerre 11, Topinka 3, Allen 0, Korneliussen 10, Iversen 6, L Bjerre 11+1, Sitera 2+1.
• Eagles: Pedersen 12, Dryml 4, Gustafsson 7, Bridger 4+1, Klymakorpi 10+1, Lahti 2+1, Woodward 7+1.