The King’s Lynn Roger Warnes Transport Stars kick-start their speedway season on Sunday with popular skipper Rory Schlein’s testimonial meeting.
The Stars, who held their Press and Practice Day at the Adrian Flux Arena on Wednesday, confirmed that the Australian will resume the captaincy for the forthcoming Elite League season.
A former world champion and current Elite League champion head a strong line-up for the “Rooboy’s Boomerang Invitational” which celebrates Schlein’s 15 years in British Speedway. The 12-man event starts at 6pm; gates will open at 4pm.
Team manager Rob Lyon said there was no need to hold a customary vote on the captaincy, adding of the 30-year-old Schlein’s outgoing nature: “He’s the natural person to do the job.
“It’s a special year. Last year was a good year, and we hope to have a better year and celebrate accordingly.”
Lynn will be bidding to win their first-ever top flight title in their 50th anniversary year after last season going so close, only exiting in the rain-affected play-off semi-finals to Poole.
Six of last year’s team return, with reserve Ashley Morris the only ‘new boy’.
Schlein said: “The boys are pretty keen to get started. I didn’t see – and Rob didn’t see – the need to make any changes. We don’t have to re-adjust.”
Schlein, who signed for Lynn in 2013 after spells with Edinburgh, Sheffield, Belle Vue, Coventry, Ipswich and Peterborough, has put a lot of thought into his Boomerang Invitational.
Ex-Saddlebow Road man Dakota North was the final rider to be announced, while former world number three Emil Sayfutdinov has pulled out.
Replacing Sayfutdinov is two-times World Cup champion and four-times Elite League title winner Bjarne Pedersen from Denmark.
Also riding are current Stars Schlein, Niels-Kristian Iversen and Kenneth Bjerre, plus former world champion Chris Holder, current Elite League Riders’ champion Troy Batchelor, Chris Harris, Jason Doyle, Olly Allen, Scott Nicholls and Simon Stead.
Schlein said: “Emil has had to pull out, but we’ve brought in a quality replacement in former Grand Prix rider Bjarne Pedersen.
“It’s still a very good line-up, it’s been stressful to organise and with a brand-new GM engine up for grabs, riders will be laying down some benchmarks. The final line-up has got gangbusters written all over it!”
The 12-man format sees four races each, while fireworks and other entertainment will also be laid on, including a quick-time session which will decide the gate positions for a five-man final.
“We were going to run a time session for all 12 riders – but we have more than halved that. We’ve thought about the supporters and we don’t want to drag meetings out,” added the Aussie.
“This is something different. It’s about the whole package, not just about the racing,””
The Darwin-born racer had his first taste of 2015 action by joint top-scoring in the seventh Ben Fund Bonanza fundraiser at Swindon on Sunday, starring for team winners Australia.
He remarked that it doesn’t feel like 15 years have elapsed.
“No, it doesn’t seem like half of that. It’s been unbelievable.
“I came over when I was 16 years old. It’s nice to see what I’ve accomplished, the people I’ve met and the friends I’ve met. I feel like I can go on another 10 years. I wouldn’t want to swap it for anything else.”