King's Lynn Stars reach KO Cup semi-final
King's Lynn Stars 59 Leicester Lions 31
Five mid-meeting home maximums in a row meant Lynn tamed the Lions and reached the Knockout Cup semi-finals following Wednesdayâ s second leg.
King's Lynn Stars were chasing a six-point deficit from the first away leg last week but progressed at a gallop.
The hosts looked to have an unassailable lead 83-67 (41-19 on the night) at the Heat 10 interval, and so it proved.
Every single home rider was involved in that handful of successive 5-1 maximum race victories at the Adrian Flux Arena.
This was despite Lynn missing number one rider Niels-Kristian Iversen on one of the spearheadâ s occasional meetings in his native Denmark, which originally had made the outcome a close call.
In the opening heat, home captain Robert Lambert took the rider replacement stint for Iversen and sped from the gates, shadowed by track specialist and ex-Lynn skipper Rory Schlein, who pounced on the penultimate bend of the race.
That was the only point Lambert dropped in six outings as the Norfolk outfit cruised to an aggregate victory of 101 points to 79.
Lambert and Norfolk team-mate Lewis Kerr bagged the first 5-1 in Heat 4 as Lynn led on the night, being four points behind on aggregate.
In Heat 5 Kyle Newman fell at the beginning of the second lap under pressure from Lynnâ s Ty Proctor, and was up within a couple of minutes. Rory Schlein rescued a shared result in the three-man re-run.
The visitors fielded as guests ex-Lynn skipper Schlein, Ricky Wells and Kyle Howarth who was a late replacement for away captain Danny King.
On a night where there were many small stoppages, mainly involving the visitors, it fittingly ended in Heat 15 when Wells was excluded for barging through the tapes and took a 15-metre penalty. Lambert won the re-run.
Stars team manager Dale Allitt realised that the team continues to start slowly, with Lynn leading not until Heat 4, but he said: â We need to work on that to make it easier for us all.
â I am very pleased with that victory because it has been a very difficult week with riders pulling out and things like that.
â But these guys just rise above it and itâ s pleasing to work with because they donâ t know when they are beaten.
â Again we had a tough start to the meeting which didnâ t go as perfectly as we had planned but we came back and owned the rest of the meeting.
â I have said all along from day one that we have key areas that are good and one of those areas is the engine room of the middle order.
â We got nine points from rider replacement which really showed how hard we worked to get the result.
â That said, though, it is never ideal to have to use guests and rider replacement in recent fixtures.
â We should have gone for a Monday and a Thursday race-night as a league but we were outvoted at the AGM which leaves us where we are, and we have to make the best of it.â
Lynn guest Josh Auty, who rode for the Saddlebow Road stadium club in the second half of last season, impressed with a victory and two paid wins, and said: â Iâ m really pleased.
â Collectively it was a really good team performance. To get through to the next round is what matters.â
Kingâ s Lynn Stars: Niels-Kristian Iversen R/R, Josh Auty (guest) 9+3, Ty Proctor 11+2, Thomas Jorgensen 8+1, Robert Lambert 17, Kasper Andersen 3+2, Lewis Kerr 11+2. Fastest lap: Lambert, 59.78 seconds, Heat 7. Best pre-meeting â Hot Lapâ : Jorgensen, 15.00secs.
Leicester Lions: Rory Schlein (G) 12, Kyle Newman 2+1, Ricky Wells (G) 6, Kyle Howarth 4, Krystian Pieszczek 1, James Sarjeant 2, Todd Kurtz 4. Fastest lap: Schlein, 59.97secs, Heat 5.