Stars bring Rockets back down to earth
CHRIS LAKEY Kings Lynn 49, Rye House 43: King's Lynn were pushed to the wire by their biggest rivals at the Norfolk Arena last night. The Premier League champions struggled to shake off the Rockets who cut into their lead with a late tactical switch which left them just two points behind going into the final race.
Kings Lynn 49, Rye House 43
King's Lynn were pushed to the wire by their biggest rivals at the Norfolk Arena last night.
The Premier League champions struggled to shake off the Rockets who cut into their lead with a late tactical switch which left them just two points behind going into the final race.
It was a nail-biting finale but Lynn came through thanks to skipper Tomas Topinka and Daniel Nermark, who was unbeaten by an opponent on the night.
The 11 points needed to clinch the bonus point was always just out of reach but Lynn will travel to Stoke tonight boosted by a battling performance against the only team to have beaten them in the league this season.
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They will have to do it without new boy Grant MacDonald, who was taken to hospital with a suspected broken wrist, while Paul Lee will be hoping to have shaken off the effects of a dramatic heat 13 crash.
Topinka held off Chris Neath to give Lynn a winning 4-2 start before MacDonald's tumble took some of the shine off James Brundle's ride from the front in the reserves race - which was awarded in his favour.
The first maximum of the night followed, courtesy of Nermark and Trevor Harding, but Lee was outgunned by Steve Boxall in a shared fourth.
Nermark won a battle royal with Neath to put Lynn eight points ahead with a third of the meeting gone.
But Boxall repeated the trick on Topinka in a shared sixth before Rockets' guest, Leigh Lanham, brilliantly split Lee and Brundle to prevent Lynn from widening the gap.
And when ex-Lynn rider Robbie Kessler and Adam Roynan gave the visitors the first heat advantage of the night, they were within touching distance at 26-22 down.
Something had to give when the unbeaten Nermark and Boxall went head-to-head in the ninth - but Boxall's engine failure on the line ended that as a contest as the Stars cruised to their second maximum of the evening. But a sequence of four shared heats did Lynn little good in their quest for the bonus point.
Topinka managed to avoid a nasty collision involving Lee, Neath and the guilty party, Boxall in the 13th. Lee left the track in an ambulance but after treatment took his place in the starting line-up for the rerun - not surprisingly coming home third behind Neath and Topinka.
But then the meeting took a dramatic turn as Lanham went for double points in the penultimate race. The Rockets' guest, who rides Elite League for the Lakeside Hammers, couldn't quite pass team mate Tommy Allen on the line but the result was worth a 7-1 win for the visitors to leave them just two points behind going into the final race.
It was down to the big guns and Topinka and Newmark obliged with the perfect maximum to clinch a valuable victory.
King's Lynn: Nermark 14, Topinka 12, Brundle 7, Lee 6, Harding 6, Mills 4, MacDonald 0
Rye House: Lanham 14, Neath 10, Boxall 6, Kessler 6, Allen 3, Roynan 2, Bowen 2