Photo gallery: International Pre-Season Cup: King’s Lynn ‘Select’ Stars 40, Zielona Gora 52
- Credit: IAN BURT
Lynn slipped to a friendly defeat at a noisy Norfolk Arena in a friendly that will never be forgotten.
With world champion Tai Woffinden taking the place of Robert Lambert, Speedway Grand Prix runner-up Jarek Hampel, and number three Niels-Kristian Iversen on the bill, there was always going to be plenty of interest in this showcase clash. However, one extra thing it did show to everyone was how passionate Poles remain about their national sport – and how strong their top teams are. A classy Lynn outfit couldn't handle Gora's strength in depth and gating ability – even though they were missing Grand Prix star Andreas Jonsson.
Incredibly, the visitors' top scorer Kamil Adamczewski wasn't even in the line-up until the Swede pulled out through illness earlier in the day. And he took the chance to display his excellence by scoring 10 plus two, as the European giants won by 12 points. They enjoyed four maximum 5-1 race wins, two back-to-back, to take control of a fixture they never looked like relinquishing. But it was still a great experience and learning curve for Rob Lyon's men who still displayed more than enough to show they will be up there fighting for an Elite League play-off place this season.
While football friendlies are often accused of being dull and lacking intensity, the same couldn't be said of the two-wheel action from the word go. Racers want to race. And once the tapes came up at Saddlebow Road that's exactly what they did – including guest Woffinden. Not one rider shut off or took it easy in the curtain-raiser, unless they were doing so to avoid a nasty spill, which can even be accepted at the best of times.
It's why the best part of 3,000 fans squeezed into the home of speedway in Nelson's county because they knew what to expect, although there was a culture shock of sorts thanks to a large and noisy travelling contingent.
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If they weren't banging their drums or blowing their horns, the Zielona faithful on turn one were cheering and singing. It was amazing to witness as such fandom usually never happens in the British scene.
While they entertained off the track, the action on it was far from dull mind. And even though Lynn didn't take the lead again after heat one, it didn't really matter.
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There were some decent performances from the home side's riders, especially Kenneth Bjerre. He top scored with 12, paid 13, and showed that he will be a force to be reckoned with following his return from Peterborough.
Iversen streaked away from Hampel in heat one and showed flashes of his undoubted brilliance, as did Woffinden when he came all the way round the outside to pass his GP rival in the sixth. Some mechanical faults and patchy rides were always going to litter the evening in what was many men's first meeting of the campaign.
One of the highlights of the night came from Norfolk-based Lewis Kerr. On his first senior appearance he rode a perfect line to pick up a morale-boosting victory in heat seven. Lewis Rose battled bravely. But in the end the Poles just had too much class, on and off the track, to ensure they walked away with the first International Pre-Season Cup trophy having made a lasting impression on Norfolk's speedway supporters.
View a gallery of photographer Ian Burt's photos from tonight's meeting at the top-right of this page.