King’s Lynn gave their SGB Premiership campaign a massive boost with an impressive 48-45 win at Swindon on Thursday.
The result moves the Trucks ‘R’ Us Stars level on points with fourth-placed Rye House and was thoroughly deserved after an efficient and committed display.
German star Kai Huckenbeck proved the ace in the pack with a stunning paid-14 haul at reserve, and with the Stars’ top three all in super form, it was too much for the Robins to handle.
Huckenbeck, Troy Batchelor and captain Robert Lambert all won their opening rides for the visitors as they prevented the home side from taking early heat advantages.
Three 4-2s gave the Stars a six-point lead as the meeting approached the halfway stage with Chris Holder making it inside David Bellego on turn two in Heat 5 as Lewis Rose performed a similar move on Adam Ellis.
Leading 24-18, boss Dale Allitt switched his reserves to good effect in Heat 8 as Huckenbeck came in and partnered Rose to a key 5-1, the German holding off the strong attack of Bradley Wilson-Dean right to the line.
A further 5-1 involving Huckenbeck and Lambert in Heat 9 extended the Stars’ advantage to a massive 14-points and forced the Robins into a tactical move, with Jason Doyle taking six points from the next race as Huckenbeck suffered his one blip with a fall.
The Stars’ lead was cut to nine points as a result but Huckenbeck and Nicklas Porsing extended it back into double figures with a 4-2 in Heat 12, split by Adam Ellis, taking the pressure off the final three heats where Swindon are traditionally strong.
Doyle, who went through the card with an 18-point maximum, duly combined with Nick Morris for face-saving 5-1s in Heats 13 and 15 but for the Stars the important result came in between, as Batchelor dominated Heat 14 to ensure the away victory.
Allitt said: “We’ve said all along we weren’t going to panic. We didn’t panic against Leicester and we didn’t panic after Heat 13 tonight, when it could still have gone two different ways.
“The boys did well, and it’s a great away win for us, our first win here for a very long time. It would have been nice to get all four points – team managers are greedy and you always want more – but we’d have taken that result all day long.
“I’ve always said the spine of our team is at No.1, No.5 and No.6. Troy is at No.4 for a reason, and he’s gone well apart from a couple of sketchy meetings, but when you’ve got Chris, Robert and Kai at reserve scoring well it takes the pressure off everyone else.
“We know Josh (Bailey) is finding things really tough and we’re trying to do everything to help him. He’ll get there, and we’re looking at ways to support him which may include getting another doubling-up rider.
“Chris had hurt his hip in Heat 1 and was struggling on, which was one reason why he didn’t do Heat 15, but he’s having some treatment now so hopefully he will be okay.
“I know there’s been some doom and gloom around, but I don’t think things have been bad at all. We’ve won the Pairs for our first silverware in the club’s recent top-flight history, and we’ve been to both Somerset and Swindon and won.
“Okay, we dropped at home to Belle Vue but they dropped at home to Somerset, so there have been some strange results, but we’re still up there with matches in hand, and really apart from the Wolves match – and they look ridiculously strong on their home track – we’ve been there or thereabouts.”
The Stars are back in action at home to Rye House on Wednesday (May 24), although the Young Stars’ visit to Eastbourne on Saturday has been postponed due to a lack of available medical cover at Arlington.
Swindon 45: Jason Doyle 18, Nick Morris 10+2, David Bellego 7, Dany Gappmaier 3+3, Zach Wajtknecht 3+1, Bradley Wilson-Dean 2, Adam Ellis 2.
King’s Lynn 48: Kai Huckenbeck 12+2, Troy Batchelor 12, Chris Holder 9, Robert Lambert 7+1, Lewis Rose 5+1, Nicklas Porsing 3, Josh Bailey 0.