Photo gallery: King’s Lynn Stars legend Tomas Topinka gets fitting send-off

Tomas Topinka. Picture: Ian Burt

Tomas Topinka. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

An evening of fun and thrilling racing in the name of Tomas Topinka kick-started the speedway season in King's Lynn last night.

Stars' 2013 riders took to the Saddlebow Road shale against a select team picked by retiring Czech Republic ace Topinka. And despite it being a testimonial they all put on a great show for the 38-year-old who made 578 appearances for the Stars during his two decades in Norfolk.

There were of course a few exciting surprises for the crowd, which probably peaked at around 2,000, including Topinka, Stars' team boss Rob Lyon and owner Buster Chapman dressing up as 'gate girls'. Lynn legends Ian Turner and Terry Betts – the club's all–time appearance holder, who raced 71 more meetings than the Czech – joined Topinka in a special lap as all three rode around the track that they dominated for years.

Betts said: 'The last time I rode was Tom's testimonial 10 years ago. He's done wonders for King's Lynn, he was here for a long time, the same as I was, and it was unfortunate he didn't carry on and beat my record.'

The night was never going to be about who won.

But some of the sport's current crop put on a fine show with Stars new–boys Rory Schlein and Nicolai Klindt delivering a promising display. For a friendly, some racing – like that between Nicki Pedersen and Lynn's Mads Korneliussen – was more exciting than many would have expected.

In the end, Topinka's team won, Tai Woffinden triumphed in the second half and everyone went home happy.