King’s Lynn close in on Elite League line up
King's Lynn co-promoter Jonathan Chapman revealed yesterday the club are on the verge of completing their 2012 Elite League line up.
Last season's play-off contenders have so far confirmed a return for Danish World Team Cup duo Niels-Kristian Iversen and Mads Korneliussen while David Howe will double up with his Premier League club Scunthorpe.
Lynn's hierarchy were forced to admit defeat in a bid to retain the services of Kenneth and Lasse Bjerre who have returned to Peterborough, where they will be joined by former skipper Olly Allen. Young Australian ace and Ashley Jones Memorial winner Sam Masters is another who will not return for 2012 after being unveiled by champions Poole over the weekend.
The Saddlebow club have been linked with potential moves for Ryan Fisher and former Lynn favourite Nicki Pedersen, but Chapman admits it has been a tough close season on the team building front.
'Hopefully if it all goes to plan by the end of this week we will be in a position to announce our other riders,' he said. 'We are just looking at potential teams and different combinations and they are all close to the 41 point limit. They key is really whether we go with another out-and-out strong rider in the mould of Niels or Mads or whether we opt for maybe more strength in depth throughout the line up.
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'It has been tougher this winter, no question. We don't have the asset base of some of the other bigger and more established Elite League clubs and we have to live within our means. If the parent club wants them back there is nothing we can do. That is no different to Norwich City who are not in a position to go out and sign someone like (Fernando) Torres.'
Chapman is confident the Stars will still be more than competitive ahead of their second top flight campaign.
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'What we have to do is remember the things that have made us a strong club,' he said. 'We were told by so many other teams and so many promoters last season in the Elite that they had never seen a team spirit like ours. We managed to carry that through from the Premier League days, where the riders are based a lot more in this country. They don't fly in for a day or two and then out again to race in three or four other leagues around Europe. That comes from the management, but also the riders themselves and even the boys who have left from last year would all say the same.
'The other thing of course we can offer which is perhaps different to the majority of other clubs is riders can use the track as a base to try new set ups or for practice days. Whenever they want to come along we can usually accommodate them and that makes a big difference.'
Norwich-based racer Allen, meanwhile, has admitted it was a wrench to leave the Stars for local rivals Peterborough.
'I feel so bad leaving King's Lynn because I had so much fun there,' he said. 'It rekindled my love for the sport and got the fire back in my belly. I love the club, but I needed to do what was best for my family. I always felt I would end up back at Peterborough at some point in my career. I came very close to making the move last winter but then all the problems kicked off and I had to take the safe bet of being guaranteed a ride at King's Lynn, but this time everything just fell nicely into place.'