King’s Lynn 50, Eastbourne 42
Lynn edged a last heat decider tonight to clinch maximum Elite League points in their play-off quest at the Norfolk Arena.
Rob Lyon's men head to Swindon tomorrow buoyed by a successful revenge mission against the only side to inflict a home defeat on the Stars this campaign. Lyon revealed afterwards Kenneth Bjerre is an injury doubt for the trip to the West Country after a heavy tumble in the opener.
Lasse Bjerre claimed victory but Bjerre senior was thrown from his bike in the shadow of the tapes. Lynn's Danish Grand Prix ace was able to scramble off the track before managing to walk back to the pits after watching his younger sibling prevail but Lynn's number one was a surprise omission from heat 15.
'He had a problem with his clutch which caused him to flip it,' said Lyon. 'He had a bit of a headache all night and he isn't feeling 100% which means we might be looking at a guest at Swindon. We'll assess him in the morning.
'Someone said to me, 'that was another tough one' but they are all tough this year. Even though we pulled a 12 point lead and looked comfortable I just felt the second half of the meeting would be tough. We pulled it out in the end against a team next to us in the table.'
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Mads Korneliussen deputised for his countryman to lead home Niels-Kristian Iversen to clinch all three league points which moved second-placed Lynn to within four points of leaders Poole after their hard-fought 44-43 win over Lakeside.
'Mads was annoyed with his ride in heat 14,' said Lyon. 'When we looked at the gates for the final race, Niels was gating off pretty much anywhere so it was the right thing for Mads to go off three and they team rode superbly for two and a bit laps. Niels just picked up on the fourth bend which brought Eastbourne back into it. It was sad for Niels because he deserved his max but it was a good race and a good way to finish.'
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Tomas Topinka carried on where he left off against Peterborough with a superb trap to dictate the reserves – compatriot Filip Sitera swinging around Timo Lahti but unable to overhaul Cameron Woodward.
Korneliussen took the ring road to subdue Lewis Bridger behind skipper Olly Allen for an impressive opening home maximum. Iversen scorched to heat four in 58.39 seconds, with Topinka's dive up the inside of Lahti ensuring another home advantage. Lynn powered to a fifth consecutive flag in the next – Allen playing hardball with Lukas Dryml exiting turn two as Korneliussen cashed in on his skipper's selfless act to move the Stars' 12 clear.
Kenneth Bjerre appeared to show no ill effects from his opening tumble in a heat six cruise but Lasse was off the pace in the rear, allowing Woodward and Joonas Kylmakorpi to stem the onslaught for the visitors.
Iversen looked a class apart in heat seven but Bridger and Dryml served further notice Eastbourne had got to grips with the Saddlebow surface. Woodward's timely riposte held Lynn in check after first Topinka and then Lasse Bjerre bailed out – the young Dane shutting the throttle off to avoid a brush with the air fence. Lynn's 'A' team, Allen and Korneliussen, replied in kind to wrestle the initiative again as Lyon's side went into the interval 12 clear. Bjerre senior triumphed on the resumption but Lasse struggled again as the overworked Woodward led home Bridger. Eagles' number one Bjarne Pedersen appeared on a tactical raid but Iversen recovered from a sluggish gate to seal his hat-trick – Dryml expertly driving wide off the final turn to invite Pedersen through for double points.
Eastbourne gamely reduced the deficit to six points when Kylmakorpi and Woodward lowered Allen's colours in heat 12. The imperious Iversen eclipsed Pedersen in a heavyweight heat 13 – Kenneth Bjerre recovering from another heart-stopping moment when he picked up extra grip exiting turn four.
Bridger led home the flying Woodward for an improbable third visiting maximum before celebrating with a clenched fist salute over the finish line to tee up a dramatic heat 15. Lynn's main man Kenneth Bjerre settled for a rare watching brief after his bruising night, but Korneliussen and Iversen delivered in a crackerjack finale to secure maximum league points for the hosts.
• Stars: K Bjerre 8+1, L Bjerre 4, Allen 9+1, Korneliussen 11+2, Iversen 13, Sitera 1, Topinka 4.
• Eagles: Pedersen 9+1, Dryml 6+3, Bridger 7+1, Kylmakorpi 7+1, Woodward 13+2, Lahti 0.