Stars delighted as Doolan fills the void

King's Lynn co-promoter Jonathan Chapman insists Kevin Doolan is the man to replace current Premier League rider-of-the-year Daniel Nermark.

King's Lynn co-promoter Jonathan Chapman insists Kevin Doolan is the man to replace current Premier League rider-of-the-year Daniel Nermark.

The Stars moved swiftly to fill the hole left by Nermark's surprise switch to join rivals Workington by enticing Lynn's 2005 grand slam winner back from Elite League Belle Vue.

Doolan will now form a powerful top end spearhead with skipper Tomas Topinka - after Chapman revealed Nermark's departure had come out of the blue.

“To lose Daniel was a blow,” he admitted. “The last conversation we had with him he indicated he was happy to ride for us at either Elite or Premier level. Then all of a sudden he decided to go to Workington. That is his choice and there's no hard feelings.

“He is a great rider who has been fantastic for this club and will be fondly remembered by the supporters. When we knew he was going, there was only one guy who we felt could fill his shoes and that was Kevin.

“I think Belle Vue were definitely keen to try and keep him because he did so well but once we knew he was interested we had to go for it.

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“He loves it here and his heart is really in the club. I know he wants to ride at the highest level possible but hopefully he can play his part in helping us get to the Elite.”

Comets' co-promoter Ian Thomas and club owner Keith Denham worked overtime to convince Nermark to leave Saddlebow.

The popular Swede will don the Comets' number one race jacket after a full transfer from parent club Wolverhampton.

“I'm pleased that I've been able to deliver the rider that Keith wanted,” said Thomas. “A lot of negotiations have been going on and our former rider, Peter Karlsson, has helped at the Swedish end.”

Denham pounced after Danish racer Ulrich Ostergaard turned down a potential Derwent Park return.

“I am absolutely delighted that we have landed Daniel for next season,” he said. “He's a class act and a rider who should be up there challenging to be the top rider in the league next year. I've watched him riding on several occasions and he's got that quality which marks him out as a bit special. When we knew Ulrich Ostergaard wasn't coming back I wanted Daniel and with him on board I think we've done even better.

“He made a very big impression at King's Lynn in 2006 - his first season there - and he continued to build on that this year. We wanted a genuine number one at Derwent Park in 2008 and we've certainly got one.”

Doolan's Aussie compatriot John Oliver and Simon Lambert are definite 2008 starters for Lynn, alongside Czech stalwart Topinka. The club will unveil their remaining three riders at a Norfolk Arena fans' forum next week.

Chapman confirmed Rob Lyon will continue in his successful role as team boss. The club are also appealing for volunteers to erect an air fence at home meetings this coming season.

“We've got one so we might as well use it - because it is something the riders themselves have indicated they want,” said Chapman.

“It's not so much a safety issue as there are debates for and against using one but we've listened to the riders. Stoke already have one but I think we'll be the only other club in the Premier if we can get the 10 volunteers to help us put it up.”