Photo Gallery: Elite League: King’s Lynn Stars 49, Poole Pirates 41
King's Lynn ended Poole's 18-match unbeaten run in sensational style after a thrilling heat 15 victory secured a famous win for the Stars at the Norfolk Arena last night.
With Poole needing a 5-1 to preserve their proud record in the evening's final race, it looked like they were on course when Davey Watt and Chris Holder stormed into the lead. But Lynn turned it around with Niels-Kristian Iversen and Maciej Janowski passing the Pirates pair to leave Stars fans in raptures.
Fireworks had been expected after both clubs exchanged angry words – via the press – in the lead-up to the meeting following the decision to allow Artur Mrockza to guest for the visitors.
Stars promoter Buster Chapman had said it was 'crazy' that the Speedway Control Bureau overturned a decision by the British Speedway Promoters' Association which would not have allowed the league leaders to use a guest for the out-of-contract Adrian Miedzinski.
And after Pirates chief Matt Ford launched a passionate defence of his side's regime, fans expected some fiery action on the Norfolk Arena shale.
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They weren't disappointed as a revved-up home side came flying out of the traps with heat victories, including a maximum 5-1, in the first two races of the night.
Iversen and highly-rated British youngster Richie Worrall, guesting for the Stars, stormed to race wins as Lynn took the early initiative. But it was the impressive form of their side's reserves that kept Rob Lyon's men ticking over all night.
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Kyle Howarth's return to the Norfolk Arena – after being released by Lynn this season despite never riding for the club – summed up the Pirates' slow start with him running three consecutive lasts.
And Lynn's dream start continued when reserve Mateusz Szczepaniak – to the delight of a jubilant and stunned Stars crowd – passed world number two Holder and tore off in search of a sensational race win.
But the reigning champions are made of stern stuff and they immediately bounced back with a 5-1 to half Lynn's eight-point lead, leaving the scores 26-22 in the hosts favour after eight.
The Stars, who nearly ended Poole's unbeaten run earlier this season, took a 29-25 lead into the interval. And that slim lead stayed intact despite Holder and Watt winning races after the re-start thanks to a couple of 3-3s.
Two more shared heats kept the scores close before a big maximum win for Poole pulled the teams level with just two heats left.
However, Janowski and the evening's star man Szczepaniak, who scored a stunning 10 paid 15, slammed in a 5-1 of their own in response to leave Lynn four up with just one heat left, ahead of a dramatic last race that will live in the memory for years to come.
King's Lynn: Niels-Kristian Iversen 14, Lasse Bjerre 4 (1), Maciej Janowski 11 (2), Daniel Nermark 5, Mateusz Szczepaniak 10 (5), Richie Worrall 5.
Poole: Davey Watt 10 (1), Chris Holder 12, Ricky Kling 0, Artur Mrockza 13, Ludvig Lindgren 4 (1), Kyle Howarth 2 (1).