King's Lynn Stars held to last heat draw by Ipswich Witches
King's Lynn Stars 45
Ipswich Witches 45
Watched by last year’s Premiership table-topping team boss, the recuperating Dale Allitt, the Poultec Stars let slip an eight-point lead and drew with Ipswich tonight in a disjointed rollercoaster final-heat decider derby.
Frequent stoppages and delays (Heat 9 was completed with 75 minutes gone) coincided with basement side Lynn losing their momentum and the unlikely hero was away reserve rider Cameron Heeps as Ipswich at one stage were six ahead.
Thomas Jorgensen won Heat 14 in a Lynn 4-2 race advantage to level matters at 42-42 going into the nominated showdown outing which pitted home captain Robert Lambert and Craig Cook against Krystian Pieszczek and Chris Harris.
Lynn began on a 5-1 but Harris prevailed in a shared 3-3 result despite the Lynn pair’s best efforts.
The hosts made the best possible start when away captain Danny King broke the tapes in the opening outing and was excluded, to be replaced by Heeps.
Back at the Adrian Flux Arena from another Grand Prix appearance in Prague, scoring six points, Lynn skipper Robert Lambert recorded his fastest time of the year so far (58.41 seconds) and led home Michael Palm Toft in a Heat 1 5-1 maximum victory.
Heeps took the shared reserves’ race from Simon Lambert and fit-again Lewis Kerr. GB veteran Harris passed Stars vice-captain Ty Proctor on the lap two second bend to secure another 3-3 result with Edward Kennett retiring; Lynn is rarely a happy hunting ground for him.
Heat 4 winner was Heeps who took the scalp of home heat leader Cook, but Jorgensen and Proctor hit back with the Saddlebow side’s second 5-1 to go 19-11 up.
Palm Toft tumbled and was excluded, which caused Heat 6 to be re-run and it was won by Robert Lambert – in an even faster time – to save a shared race.
Kennett and Harris took advantage of a below-par Cook and Kerr’s retirement to post their first 5-1 and halve the deficit; while Heat 8 was restarted with all four riders when King fell coming out of turn one. King and Heeps headed this to level the scores at the midway point.
Proctor fell and was stuck under the Heat 9, bend four air fence and Heeps/Krystian Pieszczek made it three 5-1s in a row in the re-run.
Harris sped through the middle of two Stars to win Heat 10 while Palm Toft lost third on the line to Kennett in a Witches 4-2 to give them a 27-33 interval lead.
Lynn turned it around with Robert Lambert as a tactical substitute for Kerr and he led Cook, who thrillingly passed King and Richard Lawson just before the first straight, in a 5-1.
Ipswich replied with Heeps (for guest Aaron Summers) and he romped home to a maximum behind Harris after Proctor shed a chain to make it 33-39 with three races left.
The visitors had to use Summers in Heat 13 and Cook/R.Lambert posted a 5-1 lifeline.
King's Lynn Stars: Robert Lambert (capt) 15+1, Michael Palm Toft 2+1, Ty Proctor 4+1, Thomas Jorgensen 8+1, Craig Cook 8+3, Lewis Kerr 2+1, Simon Lambert 6. Fastest time: Robert Lambert, Heat 6, 58.25secs.
Ipswich Witches: Richard Lawson 1, Danny King (capt) 3+1, Chris Harris 14+1, Edward Kennett 4, Krystian Pieszczek 5+1, Aaron Summers (guest) 1+1, Cameron Heeps 17+1. Fastest time: Heeps, Heat 4, 58.81secs.