'It's nice, but quite daunting' - Stars prepare for landmark May 17 return

King's Lynn Star 2021

King's Lynn Stars, from left, Ryan Kinsley, Thomas Jorgensen, Craig Cook, Lewis Kerr, Lewis Bridger, Ty Proctor, team manager Peter Schroeck. Missing: Erik Riss - Credit: Ian Burt

King’s Lynn Stars look set to be the first sports club in Norfolk to host a regular season fixture with a crowd when they open their campaign next week. 

The Stars face East Anglian rivals Ipswich Witches on Monday and the government’s decision to stick to the current roadmap means the Adrian Flux Arena turnstiles will turn for the first time since September 2019. 

A maximum attendance has yet to be confirmed, but co-promoter Dale Allitt is hoping that up to 1,500 people - fans, riders, mechanic, official and media - will be allowed in. Talks will be held with the local authority, but the Stars co-promoter will be hoping that last summer’s staging of stock car racing as well as the British Youth Championship last August will provide evidence of a good safety record. 

“It’s nice, but quite daunting at the same time,” said Allitt. 

“You have the eyes of everyone looking at what you are doing, and we know that is going to be the case – local councils, everyone. 

Lewis Bridger. Picture: Ian Burt

Lewis Bridger waiting his turn for a spin around the track at King's Lynn - Credit: Ian Burt

“We have got to be very careful, but we have got everything in place. We did run a meeting last year and we ran stock car meetings as well last year so we are pretty au fait with it, the stadium is Covid compliant.  

“All we ask is that people adhere to what we are asking. If people don’t, then there could be ramifications. 

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"It is all down to different local councils. I know different tracks have experienced problems – we have a great relationship with our local council; we worked with them all last year. We had the stock car meetings which had a total of 1,500 in, which we did 12 or 13 times.  

Thomas Jorgensen on one wheel

Thomas Jorgensen on one wheel - Credit: Ian Burt

“So we have a good relationship, but obviously you’ve got to keep that. It is like everything in life - the minority can ruin it for the majority sometimes. But enjoy the racing, come and support us, we really do need that. We know it is going to be a bit different but we have to go through it and hopefully as the year progresses the restrictions will lessen and we can go back to what people remember as being a normal race meeting.” 

The Covid pandemic has affected all sports, with many clubs going to the wall through lack of finances – and Allitt admits that next Monday’s season opener is just the tonic. 

"That is what we are working to,” he said. “I think the biggest achievement for us, whatever happens on the track, has already happened – when we go racing. 

Ty Proctor. Picture: Ian Burt

Ty Proctor back on the track at King's Lynn - Credit: Ian Burt

”It would have been so, so easy to say, ‘no, we're not doing it’. It was very, very important that we got to the point where we could go racing this year. I think the other option would have been a little bit unthinkable in all fairness. 

“The main thing is, we have got the point after a huge amount of work – since October we have probably had as much work to do - and it is still on-going today - as probably five or six seasons put together. 

“You have always got issues with starts of seasons with anything, but add Brexit with visas, and the pandemic, it is just 10-fold. That is still going on.  

“We all know there will be bumps in the road, but it is imperative that we got racing because if you think that we didn’t race at all last year, if we had done that this year then I don’t know what we’d have come back to, if anything, in 2022.” 

Craig Cook having a look at the track. Picture: Ian Burt

Craig Cook having a look at the track during press and practice day - Credit: Ian Burt

Lynn have already felt one impact from the pandemic – they were without Erik Riss for Monday’s press and practice session – he has meetings scheduled in Europe this week and the cost of travel is prohibitive. 

Allitt said:. “There is no issue with him, but to get him in and out and back in would have been around £800 - and don’t forget he hasn’t been earning either.”