Photo gallery: World-class speedway action clearly has found a home in King’s Lynn
- Credit: Matthew usher
King's Lynn hosted its fifth successive World Cup event on Saturday. Sports reporter GAVIN CANEY looks back on what was another great night of speedway action in Norfolk.
The eyes of the speedway world were on King's Lynn again on Saturday – and once again the town did Norfolk proud.
For the fifth year in a row, the Norfolk Arena was chosen to host a World Cup event.
That prestigious honour has not been achieved by mistake. It's been granted through hard work and an excellent ability to put on world-class shows of sporting excellence. Once again vast numbers, around 6,000 in fact, flocked to our county to watch some of the sport's top riders battle it out at Saddlebow Road. And they were not left disappointed as BSI, with the help of expert Lynn chiefs, showed why the home of the Stars was rightly picked once again to be in the limelight.
Buster Chapman's track craft is renowned to be among the best on the planet, which helps provide a fitting surface for a top meeting. His ability to continually improve and invest in the stadium's facilities, which opened the doors to its new swanky bar at the weekend, also offers a fan everything they need. But most of all, people just keep on coming back to lap up the action.
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With Eurosport screening the event live, and dreaded roadworks on the A47, some feared many would stay away. But of course they didn't. The excessive demand for entry saw gates opened earlier than planned. Two-wheel enthusiasts simply can't get enough of the World Cup, nor a meeting in Lynn for that matter.
Stars' crowds are among the healthiest in England but supporters from far and wide came to watch Great Britain, Australia, USA and Italy go toe-to-toe.
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The meeting ran so smoothly it must have been a dream for the TV execs who have invested their millions into screening the showcase event – and those who paid thousands to Lynn for hosting it.
Of course GB's glory, which saw them reach their first final since 2010, helped enhance the experience. The image of thousands of Union Jack flags waving as the home riders swept to a match-winning haul of 44 points painted a pretty picture.
Yet packed terraces were even more important as the sport tries to increase its reputation on and off the box.
Nights like Saturday will only have helped.
Great racing, a fine atmosphere, top facilities and an event that runs like clockwork, is vital to helping speedway succeed. And those components are clearly things Lynn can consistently provide with their eyes closed.
Great Britain, 44: Tai Woffinden 12, Danny King 11, Chris Harris 11, Simon Stead 10
America, 37: Greg Hancock 19, Gino Manzares 9, Max Ruml 4, Ricky Wells 5
Australia, 36: Darcy Ward 6, Jason Doyle 15, Troy Batchelor 14, Cameron Woodward 1
Italy, 10: Mattia Carpanese 1, Nicolas Vicentin 0, Michele Paco Castagna 2, Nicolas Covatti 7