Smith’s backing for King’s Lynn legend
King's Lynn reserve Kozza Smith yesterday backed Tomas Topinka to race again for the club after replacing the Czech ahead of the Stars' decisive Elite League play-off push.
Smith was drafted into the squad earlier this month once Lynn's hierarchy had opted to replace the long-serving Topinka. The Aussie opened his account with a healthy paid six display in a battling 47-43 Elite League defeat at Wolverhampton recently which maintained the club's top four bid. Smith will also feature when the Stars' return to league action in next week's key derby double header against Peterborough. Compatriot Sam Masters will step in for the East of England Showground return 24 hours after Rob Lyon's third-placed side look to cement their play-off berth on home shale.
'If you had said to me at the start of the season that Tom would not be in the team I wouldn't have believed you because he is a King's Lynn legend,' said Smith. 'For me, I have to try and capitalise on that and make sure I do the job I have been brought in to do. I hope everyone understands that whatever happened to Tom has nothing to do with me.
'I don't want Tom to be out of the team but that is a decision the people at the club have made to try and get into those play-offs. I've heard a lot of people say that it might be time to hang the helmet up - but I don't believe that for a second. He is just going through a bad patch at the moment and he'll bounce back. Every rider goes through that. I remember I had one in 2009.'
Smith linked up with Berwick in the Premier League at the start of this season after being omitted from the original Stars' top flight line up. The Lynn club asset admits the gulf between the two leagues is massive.
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'It's nice to come back to King's Lynn. It feels like home for me and the fans are great. I've got plenty of support coming back,' he said. 'It is a big step. The mistakes you make in the Premier League you can't get away with in the Elite. Everybody is there to win. I feel the racing is a lot harder, a lot more elbows and what have you, but its good – if you want to be the best you have to race against the best and the Elite has some of the best in it so that is where I want to be.
'My lowest score in the Premier League has been 4+1, I think, and I have never had a season as consistent as that. I'm pretty happy with that. Most meetings it is nearly double figures.'
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Smith admits late season success for the Stars could bring fringe benefits.
'I think we can make the play-offs as long as we don't drop any more points at home,' he said. 'One thing you can be sure of is that Buster (Chapman) does not like losing at home. I don't think anybody does but it seems to hit Buster that little bit harder. We just will focus on getting the three points at home and picking anything up away.
'I'll do my best for the rest of this year and then I have to sit down and decide what I do - whether it's another doubling up year or whether I go full-time in the Elite. Things are up in the air. I've had a couple of clubs approach me for next year already but I'm not sure what I am doing. It's a big decision over the winter.'