Photo gallery: Close shave for King’s Lynn Stars as Leicester Lions show their strength
- Credit: IAN BURT
Both sides were pretty in pink as Lynn and Leicester took something home from Rory Schlein's big night.
The Aussie's charity challenge to raise money for Breast Cancer Care was the focus of the meeting with fans and riders donning the colour to highlight the Lynn skipper's 'Shave the Roo' effort. And while Schlein had his hair cut off in the interval by his club's owner Buster Chapman to raise more funds, it was an even closer shave for their Elite League leading team against the basement boys.
The Lions are only bottom because of Birmingham's demise but arrived on a high following their sensational comeback win over Eastbourne on Monday. So it was no surprise they made it a hair-rasing night for the home fans as they took the fixture to a last-heat decider.
With former Stars Simon Stead, Mads Korneliussen, Nicolai Klindt and guest Simon Lambert in their line-up, the visitors had more than half a team that knew the Norfolk Arena track like the back of their hand. That knowledge was enough for the sliders from up the A47 to make more than a fist of it on the evening.
They deserved to collect some points and that's what they did by ensuring they didn't suffer a 5-1 reverse in the nominated ride to lose by six points. It gave Leicester a point, and Lynn two, which was probably about right given the closeness of the meeting.
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Niels-Kristian Iversen was as dazzling as his illuminous race jacket scoring another faultless maximum. However, he was the only home rider to really fire – apart from perhaps Kenneth Bjerre – in a clash that see-sawed from start to finish.
It was Stead who really kept the Lions in it with an excellent 11, paid 12, proving the Alun Rossiter made the right call to pick him in the Great Britain squad for the World Cup later this month, which will be held at Lynn. Stead's second in the 15th, despite the best efforts of Bjerre, ensured his and the Lions' evening finished on a high.
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The pink party looked like it might end even earlier as the Stars, whose machinery was off colour in the opening heats, were left red faced. The hosts looked like they were guaranteed a 5-1 in the first and a 4-2 in the third until Nicklas Porsing and Bjerre were forced to retire.
Porsing was set for a second as the action got under way while it was even more galling for Bjerre who had led for three laps a couple of races later only to see his bike pack up. It was enough to keep the scores close and that's how they remained.
Race wins were exchanged, and so were maximums, as the Stars and the Lions slugged it out for every point on offer. For four races in the middle of the card the scores remained deadlocked. A deserved stroke of luck with Korneliussen suffering a puncture gifted Lynn a two-point lead at the interval.
Yet that never really got any greater as Stead and Klindt were the spoilers on the shale they used to call their own. It was a good job they performed well with heat leaders Jason Doyle and Krzystof Buczkowski struggling to five points apiece. But with every rider, apart from Iversen and Stead, running in a last or a no score, it didn't really matter. The night belonged to both sides, and Schlein, whose fundraising efforts truly remain a cut above.
Lynn: N-K Iversen 15, N Porsing 3+1, R Schlein 5, R Lambert 6, K Bjerre 8+2, L Kerr 7+1, L Rose 4+1
Lions: J Doyle 5, S Stead 11+1, M Korneliussen 5+1, N Klindt 8, K Buczkowski 5, M Clegg 1+1, S Lambert 7+2