King’s Lynn face Elite League acid test
King's Lynn Stars' team boss Rob Lyon believes tonight's opening home Elite League clash against Belle Vue at the Norfolk Arena offers an early acid test of his side's top flight credentials.
Lynn went down to a battling 52-42 defeat against the Aces at Kirkmanshulme Lane on Monday and the north-west outfit have drafted in Stars' old boy Kozza Smith for the return.
Smith was a regular in the Stars' recent Premier League campaigns before linking up with Berwick in the winter alongside joining Belle Vue's top flight squad. British number one Chris 'Bomber' Harris also has happy memories of Saddlebow after leading his country into the World Team Cup final last summer following a thrilling Ashes battle with Australia.
'All matches are going to be tough this season but I rate this one as one of the toughest,' said Lyon. 'Bomber and 'Roo' boy (Smith) fly around Lynn and they have a perfect pairing at reserve who can cover for any of the top five if they are having an off day. Expect lots of action and twist and turns as we both try to get some league points on the board.'
Lyon also shuffles his pack with club stalwart Tomas Topinka and Lasse Bjerre replacing Morten Risager and Sam Masters. Topinka scored paid eight in last week's Elite Elevation Trophy meeting against Birmingham at the start of his 15th season in Norfolk. B
Bjerre produced a series of eye-catching displays towards the end of Lynn's farewell Premier League campaign and links up with older brother Kenneth, who led the way alongside compatriot Mads Korneliussen, on Monday.
Aces' chief Jim Lynch admitted he was indebted to a perfect four-ride maximum from Dane Patrick Hougaard to seal a hard-fought win on home shale.
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'There was some really good racing but it was one of those meetings where I think 10 points was flattering,' he said. 'King's Lynn have put together a very interesting team for their move into the Elite League. In particular they have a very strong heat-leader duo, but also have very solid-looking middle-order riders.
'There were some doubts about certain riders but not anymore because everybody contributed. Tomasz (Piszcz) has still got a bit to do and Craig (Cook) was upset with himself which shows that he cares. Charlie Gjedde was awesome. It was vintage Gjedde which we haven't seen for a few years. But the night had to go to Patrick.'
Hougaard is now looking to build on his personal display when he renews rivalries with a Stars' septet featuring four of his countrymen.
'I made a few good starts but I also had to pass in one race to get the victory,' he said. 'Everything clicked for me on the night and went right. It was a great way for me to start the season, especially as I'm usually a bit of a slow starter.'
• Stars: 1 Kenneth Bjerre, 2 Tomas Topinka, 3 Olly Allen, 4 Mads Korneliussen, 5 Niels-Kristian Iversen, 6 Lasse Bjerre, 7 Filip Sitera.
• Aces: 1 Chris Harris, 2 Charlie Gjedde, 3 Ricky Kling, 4 Patrick Hougaard, 5 Rory Schlein, 6 Tomasz Piszcz, 7 Kozza Smith.
• Admission prices: Adults �15, concessions �12, junior (aged 12 to 15 years) �5 with free entry for children aged 11 and under. Gates open 6.30pm; Parade 7.30pm; first race 7.45pm.