Stars sweat on Aussie duo

Paddy Davitt King's Lynn Stars' co-promoter Jonathan Chapman revealed yesterday Aussie duo Kevin Doolan and Kozza Smith remain stranded Down Under due to red tape with the new season only a week away.

Paddy Davitt

King's Lynn Stars' co-promoter Jonathan Chapman revealed today Aussie duo Kevin Doolan and Kozza Smith remain stranded Down Under due to red tape with the new season only a week away.

Doolan and Smith still await final clearance from the Australian embassy before they can arrive in Norfolk. Chapman is confident the racers will fly to the UK this weekend ahead of the Premier League season curtain raiser against Ipswich Witches - but the club has postponed Friday's scheduled press and practice.

Supporters can attend an open practice session with the club's remaining five riders at the Norfolk Arena on Thursday (noon to 4pm).

“They have work permits but they also need some sort of official stamp,” said Chapman. “Basically this goes back a couple of years to when Chris Holder arrived with a work permit but was refused entry. The frustrating thing is that it's been dragging on for three weeks now.

“Originally they were due to fly over on Wednesday but for what ever reason the paperwork had still not been sorted and their passports send back to them. They've now had official correspondence apologising for the delay and that they should have everything they need to fly by the weekend. As soon as they get that they will head over. But until they got this stamp they aren't allowed to leave Australia.”

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Fans' favourite Doolan revealed his frustration at the late hiccup.

“The whole situation has been a huge nightmare,” he said. “Two years ago Chris got all the way to Heathrow and was sent back to Australia because he hadn't had clearance. Neither of us wanted to risk that happening and even though we have British work visas we did the right thing and sent our passports off but look what's happened. We're both sorry to the fans and the club but hopefully we will arrive in England some time over the weekend.”

Compatriot John Oliver arrived in the UK last month but Chapman confirmed the fit again reserve is a UK passport holder. New Aussie recruit Rusty Harrison is also exempt under marriage and partiality rules controlling travel and work access to the UK.

Chapman will unveil the club's completed line up at the Norfolk Arena on Monday - barring any last minute hitches.

“There will be an opportunity for fans to take pictures on Monday afternoon,” he said. “But it's unlikely the guys will be going out on the bikes because we have a mayoral reception to attend in the evening. The main priority now is to make sure Kozza and Kevin are going to be okay when it comes to machinery. Kevin already has a full time mechanic over here so that won't be a problem

“Kozza could be a harder push. I know he left a bike here when he was over last season, although I believe he was planning to bring another with him. Let's just hope we're getting all the bad luck out of the way before the season starts. Unfortunately a few clubs are in the same boat - waiting for riders to arrive.”

Lynn's latest headache comes after Trevor Harding was ruled out for the majority of the new campaign after breaking his back racing in Western Australia during the winter.

The Stars host Elite League Ipswich at the Norfolk Arena on Wednesday, March 12 in the opening leg of an East Anglian Trophy duel. Lynn head across the border 24 hours later.