King’s Lynn Stars went down to a 38-55 defeat against Swindon last night (Thursday) in a bruising Elite League encounter at the Abbey Stadium.
The Roger Warnes Transport Stars trailed by just three points after Heat 10 but fell away in the closing stages after a series of crashes took their toll.
Tricky turns one and two caught out several riders, with four Stars men involved in incidents and there were concerns for Robert Lambert after a Heat 14 spill.
Lambert was unable to take his place in the re-run and will be monitored today (Friday) ahead of his World Under-21 Championship semi-final at Belle Vue on Saturday.
With No.1 Niels-Kristian Iversen in outstanding form, clocking consistently fast times, the Stars made an encouraging start with two early 5-1s, Troy Batchelor also marking his return to action with a win.
They led 11-7 after three races despite a 5-1 concession in Heat 2 when Carl Wilkinson fell and brought down Lewis Rose, but Swindon levelled in Heat 4 when Kai Huckenbeck came to grief.
The home side went ten points up but lost Rohan Tungate in a heavy Heat 10 spill, and the re-run saw Iversen and Mads Korneliussen bank an 8-1 with Iversen taking a successful tactical ride.
At that stage, they had high hopes of taking at least a point from the meeting, but there was no stopping Swindon reserve Justin Sedgmen, Nick Morris or Jason Doyle as the trio dominated the closing stages.
Lambert fell on the second turn of Heat 14 after a close battle with Morris, and although he was not disqualified he was not fit to contest the re-run.
And the Stars’ night was summed up when even Iversen came to grief when chasing hard in Heat 15, the referee awarding the home side a 5-1 at the end of the second lap.
Stars boss Rob Lyon said: “There were 5-1s backwards and forwards early on, but the track got progressively worse as the night went on and it was a disappointing end after a bright start.
“Fortunately I think Robert is pretty much okay, but he’s tweaked his groin and we won’t really know too much until Friday.
“It was Kai’s first time here and when it’s in good shape it’s a difficult track to ride, let alone tonight, so it’s a big learning curve for him as are all the away tracks first time around – and unfortunately Wilko has had one of his not so good nights, but he gives 100 per cent, and you can’t fault him for that.
“Troy is pleased to get his first one out of the way – he was really hoping last night (Wednesday) would be on, on his home track, but he started off with a good win and I’m sure there will be some bigger scores coming his way soon.”
The Stars have a chance for revenge as they host Swindon in the return fixture at the Adrian Flux Arena next Thursday (May 26).
SWINDON 55: Justin Sedgmen 17+1, Jason Doyle 13, Nick Morris 12+2, Stefan Nielsen 6+2, Josh Grajczonek 4+1, Charles Wright 3+1, Rohan Tungate 0.
LYNN 38: Niels-Kristian Iversen 14, Mads Korneliussen 9+2, Lewis Rose 6, Troy Batchelor 5+1, Robert Lambert 4+1, Kai Huckenbeck 0, Carl Wilkinson 0.