King's Lynn Stars back to full capacity
King’s Lynn Stars’ stadium capacity is back up to pre-Covid levels, the Lynn News can reveal.
Following a coronavirus-caused blank British league season during 2020, SGB Premiership speedway on these shores was allowed to resume this year on May 19 so that Lynn’s Adrian Flux Arena could at last return to the smell of alcohol fuel and no clutch/no brakes action.
However when the Minors & Brady Stars opened their 2021 campaign by hosting Ipswich, the Saddlebow Road stadium was limited to around 1,000 fans plus staff, riders and officials; and was subject to strict Covid-19 protocols like compulsory mask wearing.
But the club have revealed that since general ‘Freedom Day’ relaxations from July 19, crowd levels are permitted to be back to normal, with up to 9,872 fans allowed.
Club health and safety officer Nathan Hollands said a few restrictions remain: “You can’t have the public on the infield or within the pit area, as we’ve done before doing a pit walk, et cetera, due to Covid risk assessments still in place and the elite sports persons’ protocols,” he advised.
“Crowd restrictions are back to normal. It was 1,500 – we’re now back to full capacity. We are advising masks in internal areas but we are ‘back to normal’.”
Common sense precautions are still advised while speedway – as well as the rest of the nation – attempts to regain a degree of normality after the past 18 months.
For example, signs are dotted around the stadium reminding supporters about social distancing, and, as Hollands pointed out: “It’s as you would do anywhere else. You go to the supermarket or anywhere else, masks are recommended, but obviously we can’t do that.
“Having unlimited capacity and letting the public in as they please is a lot different to having limited capacity and not being able to get in people you want to get in for a larger meeting.
“We were back to normal on July 19, prior to then it was restricted in line with local health guidelines. We’re governed under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act because we have regulated stands, so we have to work with those guys as well.”
Club officials such as owner Keith Chapman and co-promoter Dale Allitt have said before that Lynn have good relations with West Norfolk Council.
Hollands agreed: “Yes, Steve Baxter who was the local licensing authority, was absolutely brilliant as is Shaun Norris. They’re lovely people and 100 per cent helpful. You couldn’t fault them, great!”
Chapman said of coping with Covid restrictions and adjusting to a more relaxed regime: “I still don’t like being in a crowded situation, you know what I’m saying? It’s all common sense and it’s always been so but not a lot of people have got it.
“We’ve stuck to all the precautions. We’ve always got plenty of space here and always had plenty of room between people.”