VIDEO: King’s Lynn team boss Rob Lyon
King's Lynn team boss Rob Lyon is relishing the step into the unknown ahead of the Stars' much-heralded 2011 Elite League bow.
The club's new-look ten-man squad was unveiled to supporters for the first time at the Norfolk Arena last night on the eve of the Stars' long awaited top flight return later this month.
Danish grand prix ace Kenneth Bjerre will spearhead Lynn's attempts to mix it with the big boys in the televised league featuring both his former club Peterborough and champions Coventry.
The duo have finally reached a compromise solution with the sport's governing body following a lengthy winter dispute – a move welcomed by Lyon.
'It's a new challenge and after the success we had in the Premier League I think it was the natural thing to do,' he said. 'It has been a difficult winter with the problems with Peterborough and Coventry, which are thankfully resolved, even if it has taken a while.
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'It gives us ten teams in what looks like possibly a weaker league than last year but certainly a very competitive one – which has to be good thing. It makes it more credible and everybody is pleased they are back in.
'I think it would have been a shame in a lot of ways to go with just eight teams. The Premier was great but it was time to move forwards and see what we can do in this one.'
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Lyon insists one thing that will not change is the Stars' fabled team spirit which helped them become the dominant force in the second tier since 2005.
'That is the key and that has always been the only way in my time here,' he said. 'We had a meeting on Monday and one of the things I stressed was that even though it's an Elite League and generally riders are flitting in and out of the country a lot and maybe riding against each other in Sweden and Poland that is just the way speedway is these days in the top leagues. They'll have to work together to make the thing work here.
'We are aiming to be competitive in the first year. Winning at home obviously and anything we can pick up away on our travels will be key to what we can do.
'We have to be realistic. It would be a tremendous achievement to win anything in our first year – but we'll certainly be going for it and we'll take what comes our way, but there is a difference in the two levels.'
Lyon was keen to retain a core of last season's Premier League septet with the likes of Olly Allen and Tomas Topinka going into battle alongside the new intake.
'We wanted an established out-and-out number one and if we could get some continuity with last year's team that was also important,' he said. 'We signed Niels-Kristian Iversen first because he knows what this league is all about and is quite capable of pushing his average up a tad.
'Potentially we have got two numbers ones and a lot of teams would say the same. We wanted that good spearhead and the rest of the team was based on trying to accommodate some of last year's boys.
'We have some exciting talent at reserve with Lasse (Bjerre) and Filip Sitera coming in on a three point average, which we are looking to get a lot more than that out of him. It's a team that will surprise a few people – maybe even us from time to time – so expect the unexpected.'
Bjerre senior's close season arrival certainly underlined Lynn meant business.
'He's a world class rider,' said Lyon. 'Kenneth is a grand prix rider who lives relatively local so he is well known in this area. He will bring a quality and a professionalism of the highest order.
'He'll definitely lead from the front and do his job without a shadow of a doubt. He'll be one of the best riders in this league. That gives us a good spearhead and a good starting point.'
• Click on the attached link to watch an exclusive video interview with Rob Lyon from the Stars' press and practice night.