King’s Lynn Stars staged a dramatic late fightback but were unable to prevent a 48-45 home defeat at the hands of Belle Vue.
The Trucks R Us Stars were up against it after some sluggish starting early on and trailed by 10 points heading into the interval.
But a stunning ride from Robert Lambert to come from the back and lead an 8-1 with Kai Huckenbeck whilst on a tactical ride in heat 11 gave them hope.
A 5-1 from Lambert and Chris Holder in heat 13 ensured they forced a last-heat decider – yet former Stars’ man Kenneth Bjerre took the chequered flag to ensure the hosts fell agonisingly short.
Team boss Dale Allitt admitted they were bitterly disappointed to suffer another home defeat as they were left to rue their nightmare start to the meeting.
“I thought we showed a lot of character to fight back from 10 down,” Allitt said. “The black and white helmet worked well and we got a good result in heat 13 which put us right back in it.
“But it just wasn’t quite enough in the end, and it makes it twice as disappointing to lose it in the last race after coming from so far behind.
“We were outgated a bit early on, and a couple of riders changed things with their bikes which meant we came into it later on, but we just left ourselves a bit too much to do.
“What we’ll do now is what we always do, we’ll regroup and move forward ahead of the second leg of our cup tie at Wolverhampton on Monday and our away meeting in the Premiership at Belle Vue next Wednesday.”
Lambert and Huckenbeck both bagged double figures for the hosts, whilst Holder and Troy Batchelor also notched solid scores.
But Lewis Rose, debutant Thomas Jorgensen and guesting reserve Nathan Greaves all struggled as the high-flying Aces took full advantage.
The Stars will be back in action at Wolverhampton on Monday (7.30) in the second leg of their Knockout Cup tie.
King’s Lynn Stars 45: Robert Lambert 12+1, Kai Huckenbeck 10+1, Chris Holder 8+1, Troy Batchelor 7+1, Thomas Jorgensen 4, Lewis Rose 3+1, Nathan Greaves 1+1.
Belle Vue 48: Kenneth Bjerre 12+1, Craig Cook 10, Justin Sedgmen 10, Steve Worrall 8+1, Dan Bewley 4, Max Fricke 3, Jack Smith 1+1.