Topinka scare for Stars

King's Lynn's treble chasing Stars suffered a major injury scare last night when Tomas Topinka was forced to retire from the showpiece Pride of the East meeting.

King's Lynn's treble chasing Stars suffered a major injury scare last night when Tomas Topinka was forced to retire from the showpiece Pride of the East meeting.

Lynn's 'captain marvel' withdrew as a precaution after damaging his hand in a heavy tumble just 48 hours before the cup holders' visit Somerset in the opening leg of the Premier League KO Cup final.

Topinka took emergency action in heat 11 to avoid the stricken Jason King as the Czech hunted his third consecutive race win of the preliminaries.

Stars' team boss Rob Lyon and four of Topinka's team mates raced down the home straight to check on the dazed skipper following the terrifying top bend spill.

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Lynn's talisman was helped to his feet after a worrying interlude - sparking huge cheers from the Saddlebow faithful - before walking gingerly back to the pits and out of the proceedings.

Topinka's old mucker Davey Watt defended his title in superb style to eclipse Stars duo Daniel Nermark and Troy Batchelor in the grand final with Aussie U21 champion Chris Holder fourth.

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Watt's colours were lowered only once - Oxford team mate David Howe inflicting a rare defeat in a ding-dong heat eight battle.

Paul Lee marked his competitive return after a year long injury lay off with a healthy eight from five - profiting from Topinka's and Holder's early exits in a high octane heat 11.

Lynn's skipper had earlier underlined his pre-race billing as one of the serious title contenders with a composed opening success in heat four, fending off vice captain Kevin Doolan for the flag.

The Czech re-emerged to shoot down Nermark two races later but Holder poured on the pressure to head Topinka in heat 11 before hitting the shale as the home racer turned the screw.

Topinka looked poised to cash in following the Aussie's exclusion but a sluggish gate left him trailing King until the teenager's slip forced Topinka to lay down the bike or career into the Mildenhall man.

Holder regained his composure with back-to-back heat wins to sneak into the grand final - a heat 14 duel with compatriot Batchelor the outstanding highlight of an entertaining night.

Lynn's stylish Aussie refused to yield - tracking the classy Isle of Wight racer before launching a desperate last bend assault which came up short by a wheel length.

Doolan's slim hopes faded with engine failure in heat 15 allowing Lee to chalk up his second win but sidekick Batchelor exacted revenge on Holder with a battling rearguard action in the finale behind the imperious Watt.

Grand Final: 1 Davey Watt, 2 Daniel Nermark, 3 Troy Batchelor, 4 Chris Holder.

Qualifying heats (five rides each unless stated): Watt 14 points, Batchelor 12, Nermark 12, Holder 10, Theo Pijper 9, Chris Mills 9, Paul Lee 8, David Howe 7, Tomas Topinka 6 (from two rides), Kevin Doolan 5, Jason King 5, James Brundle 5, Trevor Harding 5, Shaun Tacey 4, John Oliver 3, Mark Jones 3, Nathan Irwin 2 (from three rides).

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