King’s Lynn 50, Poole 43
Lynn stunned Elite League title favourites Poole tonight in front of a huge Bank Holiday crowd at the Norfolk Arena.
Rob Lyon's men are rapidly turning Saddlebow into a top flight fortress after producing a late meeting surge to sink the Pirates. Darcy Ward claimed the individual honours on a first competitive return to his former club but Lynn's collective strength proved too strong for the shale aristocrats.
Lyon and Stars' chief Buster Chapman embraced on the inner track after watching Lynn nullify Ward's heat 14 tactical success to ultimately clinch victory before Kenneth Bjerre and Niels-Kristian Iversen sealed a maximum home win.
Danish compatriot Mads Korneliussen insisted afterwards Lynn have the staying power to remain the league's surprise package over the rest of the campaign.
'I don't think anybody expected us to take all three points because Poole is so strong home and away,' said Korneliussen, who chipped in with paid eight. 'It wasn't the best of nights for me. I will come back stronger but it was great for the team and a fantastic crowd. It was quite tight all the way through but Kenneth and Niels were going really well so we were always confident of doing well in heats 13 and 15. It was just a matter of keeping the distance.
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'We've spoken about team spirit all year and that is one of the main things. Even if we mess each other up in the first turns we just have a chat about it in the pits and carry on smiling. Before the season everybody wrote us off and now they are talking about us in the play-offs. That is how quickly things can change in speedway and it can change the other way as well. We believe as a team we can do that. In a lot of other clubs, it's the management who think that – not the riders and that is a big difference.'
British grand prix winner Chris Holder dived into turn one to head Bjerre in a heavyweight heat one tussle delayed fully 25 minutes to allow the sizeable crowd into the Arena. Dennis Andersson underlined his reputation with a committed trap before Ward treated his Lynn fan club to a glimpse of former glories – leaning almost parallel to the shale for the extra grip to shoot past Olly Allen.
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Iversen drew the hosts' level on the scoresheets after muscling his way past Davey Watt to dictate heat four. Holder turned heat five into a procession but Allen and Korneliussen team rode smartly to shut out Renat Gafurov. Tomas Topinka rolled back the years to raise the decibel levels when he dipped into the memory banks for the best lines to subdue Andersson.
Poole's Team GB boss Neil Middleditch sensed an opportunity to close the four point gap by deploying Andersson on a reserve switch but Topinka stormed across from gate four to renew acquaintances.
The wily Watt dragged his machine wide in a successful bid to block Allen to keep the visitors in touch at the interval. Topinka sacrificed himself for the greater good when he swung across former team mate Ward to allow Bjerre a wide arcing line around the Aussie. Iversen felled the giant in heat 11 to break the spell of shared heats - with the previously untouchable Holder needing all his racing powers to fend off battling Lynn guest Josh Auty after a concerted last lap onslaught from the Sheffield ace.
Bjerre exacted revenge on Holder for his defeat in the opener with a pillion heat 13 ride to nullify his grand prix rival behind compatriot Iversen. Ward's salvage mission in the penultimate tour was doomed to failure when Andersson's engine failure sealed the visitors' fate – Korneliussen and Auty happy to defer for the minor spoils. Bjerre and Iversen still had a maximum home win to protect in the finale and the Danish double act delivered to massive acclaim from the packed stands.
• Stars: K Bjerre 13+1, Topinka 5+1, Allen 9, Korneliussen 5+3, Iversen 11, Auty 4+3, Sitera 3.
• Pirates: Holder 10+1, Gafurov 2+1, Doyle 3+1, Ward 16, Watt 5, Andersson 7+1, Newman 0.