Photo Gallery: Elite League: King’s Lynn Stars 51, Eastbourne Eagles 39
King's Lynn kept alive their slim play-off hopes with a victory over Eastbourne last night which saw them pick up three precious Elite League points.
The Stars beat Eastbourne by the maximum points-scoring advantage for the second time this campaign, thanks in large to fine displays from reserve Mateusz Szczepaniak and guest Rory Schlein.
The Stars' play-off hopes are hanging by a thread, hardly helped by the Speedway Control Bureau's decision to dock them a point for using ineligible guest Cory Gathercole at Swindon– it was vital they got off to a good start.
And they did when second-string Ulrich Ostergaard surprised Eagles number one Joonas Kylmakorpi to win heat one. However, in a sign of the inconsistencies that were to follow, guest Schlein – who came in for Niels-Kristian Iversen – went from second to fourth to run in a poor last. Szczepaniak has been a beacon of light in a sea of mediocrity of late and he stormed to a heat win in the second as Lynn opened up a four-point gap with their first maximum 5-1 victory
But a shared heat and two race reverses saw Eastbourne go two in front after the fifth h.eat. Lynn's Swedish champion Daniel Nermark was all over the shop in his first race and captain Mads Korneliussen also ran last when his engine packed up.
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However, Belle Vue ace Schlein looked a different rider in the sixth as he and a determined Ostergaard rode out an exciting 5-1 to put Lynn back in front. Nermark bounced back from his miserable opener to win heat seven as the inconsistencies continued.
One rider who seemed to escape the problems of a stop-start evening was flying Finn Kylmakorpi. His form was even more incredible considering the last time he was at the Norfolk Arena he crashed in the first heat of the season and broke his collarbone.
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Lynn broke a chain of four shared heats to open up a 12-point lead. And it was a vital gap as it prevented Eastbourne from playing a joker with Lynn wrapping up their victory with one race to go in heat 14. Amid a sea of average displays on the night, Szczepaniak scored 13 plus one from reserve, and bagged a run-out in the nominated heat 15.
Guest Schlein chipped in with a more-than-reasonable 11, but it was perhaps apt that Kylamorpi won the final race to end with 16 points, even if his side went home empty handed.
King's Lynn: Schlein 11, Ostergaard 5 (1), Janowski 6 (2), Korneliussen 5 (1), Nermark 4 (1), Wolbert 7 (3), Szczepaniak 13 (1)
Eastbourne: Kylmakorpi 16, Wells 5 (2), Gustafsson 3, Woodward 9 (1), Schramm 0, Lahti 6 (1)