Photo Gallery: King’s Lynn 48, Belle Vue 42
King's Lynn had to dig deep to maintain their Elite League play-off push tonight at the Norfolk Arena.
Rob Lyon's men were second best in the early sparring against a determined Aces' outfit but gradually wore down the Mancunians before completing a home league double.
Lasse Bjerre and Mads Korneliussen sealed the win in the penultimate tour, but Chris Harris and Rory Schlein squared off the finale to grab a losing point in a repeat of the clubs' March joust at the Norfolk Arena.
'A win is a win,' said Lyon. 'Disappointed not to get all three but to be fair I think Belle Vue came at us and deserved a point. We always come on strong at the end of the meeting and that proved the case again tonight. We managed to pull it out of the bag. I wasn't concerned because it was all level with five or six heats left on our own track.
'We just had to get our heads down. They were out-gating us and our reserves didn't get going until two thirds of the way through. That was a big factor why the score was so close. But fans went home happy after we won and they saw some entertaining racing again.'
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Sam Masters trapped superbly to head Kenneth Bjerre and Harris in the opener but the British GP ace stalked Masters before pouncing into turn two to split the home duo. Stars' old boy Kozza Smith fired across from gate four to dictate the reserves with Ricky Kling quick enough to repel Lynn's below-par duo Filip Sitera and Lasse Bjerre. Smith emerged for a rider replacement outing but Stars' skipper Olly Allen defied the Aussie to draw Lynn level.
Schlein and the over-worked Smith hit back again with the visitors adapting to the early track conditions better than the hosts – Niels-Kristian Iversen recovering from a sluggish gate to minimise the damage.
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Korneliussen picked up the pace in heat five but again Harris eclipsed the home racer with an all out assault exiting turn three. Kenneth Bjerre turned in a masterclass in the next but Schlein hunted down the battling Masters. Schlein then cashed in on his bonus ride to anchor a second visiting maximum to move Belle Vue four clear – Lasse Bjerre and compatriot Iversen mere spectators.
Masters opened his account in the next - Sitera deserving a special mention in despatches for a gutsy effort to try and overhaul Kling.
Allen smoothly claimed heat nine to bring his side level on the cusp of the interval but Schlein showed plenty of nous to subdue Korneliussen. Kenneth Bjerre responded on the resumption but Masters was cut adrift and left casting worrying glances down at his machine as Belle Vue squared off the race.
Iversen slipped into defensive mode to thwart Harris with Lasse Bjerre claiming a decisive heat advantage to nudge Lynn back in front for the first time since heat one. Allen and Charlie Gjedde indulged in a spot of synchronised speedway before the Aces' man prevailed. Harris and Kenneth Bjerre then re-opposed in a heavyweight heat 13, but it was Iversen upstaging the grand prix duo after his team mate dawdled at the tapes. Lynn's second string briefly deferred to Schlein but dived back up the inside to clinch a thriller.
Lasse Bjerre saved his best until last to secure the hard-fought home victory with a perfectly-timed maximum in the penultimate contest - Bjerre junior and Korneliussen trapping in tandem to huge cheers from the home faithful.
Lynn needed any heat advantage in the finale for all three league points, but experienced Aces' pair Harris and Schlein threw up a road block to frustrate Iversen behind Kenneth Bjerre.
• Stars: K Bjerre 12, Masters 5, Allen 9+1, Korneliussen 6+1, Iversen 8, L Bjerre 5, Sitera 3+1
• Aces: Harris 9+2, Stachyra 0, Gjedde 8+1, Schlein 14, Kling 4+1, Smith 7+1