King’s Lynn Stars snatch dramatic late victory against title rivals Poole Pirates
- Credit: Archant
King's Lynn heroes Niels-Kristian Iversen and Rory Schlein stamped Stars' authority on the Elite League title race with a last-gasp maximum to snatch a 46-44 victory at Poole tonight.
In a meeting widely billed as a possible play-off final dress rehearsal, skipper Schlein roared into red-hot form with 12 paid 13 points – a figure topped only by reserve Lewis Kerr on 12 paid 14.
Top gun Iversen, in contrast, went into the last-race decider with just five paid six to his name. But the Dane made a timely switch of machinery and delivered his first and only race win when it mattered most.
The world No.3 blitzed from the tapes and took Schlein with him. Former Lynn racer Darcy Ward and his partner Przemyslaw Pawlicki simply couldn't land a blow as the Stars sewed up three huge points.
They couldn't have done it without a heroic display from No.6 Kerr – one of the finds of British speedway's fast-track development scheme.
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He cruised to victory in the first reserves' race in heat two, before following Nicklas Porsing to a 5-1 over Josh Grajczonek and Kyle Newman in race four.
Incredibly, he dropped his only point in race nine against Poole's reserve star Newman, but Kerr bounced back in heat 12 with another maximum over Vaclav Milik and Newman alongside Porsing.
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He then capped off a polished performance by seeing off a superb challenge from Grajczonek on the last lap of heat 14 to lead Robert Lambert to a Stars' 4-2, which sent his side into the nominated race just two points adrift.
This came immediately after King's Lynn's top two of Iversen and Kenneth Bjerre were left trailing by Ward and Pawlicki in heat 13.
While these big guns weren't at their deadliest last night, skipper Schlein didn't miss a beat.
He made Poole guest Lewis Bridger work overtime to take the lead and just lost out in race three, before brilliantly getting his own back by pipping him and Ward in heat five.
Schlein fought his way past Pawlicki to triumph in race eight, before Ward got the better of him in heat 10. But the Darwin-born man saw off Ward and Pawlicki when it mattered most to leave the Stars favourites to top the Elite League.
Poole Pirates: Darcy Ward 11+1, Przemyslaw Pawlicki 9, Lewis Bridger 8+1, Kyle Newman 6, Vaclav Milik 5+1, Josh Grajczonek 4+1, Ben Hopwood 1+1.
King's Lynn Stars: Lewis Kerr 12+2, Rory Schlein 12+1, Niels K Iversen 8+1, Nicklas Porsing 6, Kenneth Bjerre 3+1, Robert Lambert 3, Ben Morley 2+2.