'Bring it on' - Stars boss ahead of big derby opener

King's Lynn Stars - Ryan Kinsley, left, and skipper Lewis Kerr

Norfolk's Stars - Ryan Kinsley, left, and skipper Lewis Kerr - Credit: Ian Burt

Stars boss Peter Schroeck says he will be happy to silence the Witches when the speedway season makes its long-awaited return on Monday night (7.30pm). 

A mouth-watering East Anglian derby between two of the sport’s traditional rivals is the curtain-raiser at the Adrian Flux Arena – the first time the Stars have taken to the shale for more than 18 months after the Covid pandemic wiped out the 2020 campaign. 

The Witches have already set the ball rolling on the pre-meeting ‘trash talk’, with their manager Ritchie Hawkins declaring the Suffolk side the “biggest club in East Anglia”. 

Schroeck is more than happy to let their nearest and dearest have their say - as long as the fans among the restricted attendance get value for money. 

King's Lynn Stars team boss Peter Schroeck

King's Lynn Stars team boss Peter Schroeck - Credit: Ian Burt

“This is what it is all about,” he said. “We all want to win and we want a really, really good speedway meeting, that’s what we want. That is important first time around, to get people excited about it. If we are meant to win then we will win it, but I am not putting pressure on them. 

“I’ve seen Ipswich shouting out, that they have Jason Crump and all that. I am really good mates with Jason Crump, I know how he ticks, but I don’t take any notice of those sort of things. At the end of the day they are going to do the talking we are going to do the walking. All the boys know that, so I am not worried or worried about it.  

“When you have been off that long and make statements like that... well, fair play, if they come up here and they are up to it I will shake their hands.  

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“But there is no guarantee of that – we will want to ram it down their throats, trust me.” 

The Stars go into action without Robert Lambert, who will race on the continent this season as he looks to make inroads on the world stage. Craig Cook, Thomas Jorgensen, Erik Riss and Ty Proctor are familiar faces in a Stars team which will be led by Lewis Kerr, with the addition of rising star reserve Ryan Kinsley, and Lewis Bridger, back in the sport after quitting in 2017.Schroek believes Kerr is the perfect captain – but says the door will always be open for Lambert’s return. 

Lewis Bridger of King's Lynn Stars

Lewis Bridger on the comeback trail with King's Lynn Stars - Credit: Ian Burt

"You couldn’t find a better chap,” he said. “As a captain he is one of the best out there because he is a proper team player. 

“Riders like Robert need to be a little bit selfish because he can get to the very top and if we helped him then that’s good enough for us right now. He will be back one day because he’s a Norfolk boy – he will be back somewhere along the line.” 

At the other end of the scale is another Norfolk boy, hoping to make just as good. Kinsley is from Matlaske and a former Young Stars rider who will be making his Stars Premiership debut. 

“For him it is like a footballer being in the Chelsea academy and suddenly getting into the first team,” said Schroeck. “He lives locally and he used to come here and watch all the meetings and suddenly he is here with all the lads. 

“But the nice thing with speedway boys is, it doesn’t matter what level they are riding at they all do it because they love it. They are all talking with each other - and he will be alright. It will take him a little bit of time to get settled in but there is no pressure on him. The pressure is on the boys who have been doing this for a living for a long time. 

“My theory is if you enjoy your job it is easier, in any walk of life. So I try not to put any pressure on the lads. If it meant to be, it is meant to be.”