King's Lynn Stars suffer cruel home derby defeat to Peterborough Panthers
Speedway can be cruel, as number one Richard Lawson found out for the King’s Lynn Stars who lost 44-46 in a last-heat decider versus second-spot Peterborough in their home derby tonight (Thursday 12).
Lynn led or were level for most of a topsy-turvy Premiership meeting while Lynn spearhead Lawson was chasing a six-ride maximum as the two teams entered Heat 15 at 41-43.
Lawson started the decider in third with team-mate Erik Riss in the lead, and Chris Harris second in a tightly-bunched tussle.
At this stage a draw was on the cards but ex-Stars racer Michael Palm Toft passed Lawson and the Panthers sneaked home.
There were two new Minors and Brady Stars arrivals for team boss Alex Brady’s troops: former British Final bronze medallist Ben Barker and a return for 22-year-old Dane Kasper Andersen, whose first spell at the Adrian Flux Arena began in 2018.
Lynn’s new riders were in good weekend form in the Championship. On Sunday Barker top-scored for Newcastle with 11 points in their defeat of Plymouth while the previous day Andersen bagged 13+2 for Berwick in a 46-44 home success over Poole.
Andersen - who turns 23 within a fortnight - registered 7+1 and Barker 7 at Wolves on Monday for Lynn.
As expected Peterborough, fresh from beating hosts Belle Vue 47-43 on Monday, operated rider replacement for the injured Ulrich Ostergaard. ‘R/R’ was fruitful for Peterborough with 9+1 points scored.
Barker made a promising burst out of the tapes not far behind leading team-mate Lawson but lifted coming out of bend two – as many riders have done here in 2021 – and Lynn had to settle for an opening heat 3-3.
Lynn’s reserves were superb with Andersen expertly exiting that bend two and Connor Mountain following him as the hosts bagged the first 5-1 maximum race victory.
Riss won Heat 3 and skipper Lewis Kerr was set to grab third before Palm Toft passed him at the beginning of lap three.
Kasper, the considerably-younger Andersen in this meeting, had a shed chain at the start of Heat 4 which Harris won ahead of Lynn’s Thomas Jorgensen and Hans Andersen.
Heat 5 was re-started with all four riders back after first-bend bunching resulted in Riss sliding off. Away captain Scott Nicholls won this ahead of Kerr and Riss to leave Lynn 16-14 ahead at one-third of the way through.
Barker was off the mark with third in Heat 6 which Lawson headed and Peterborough’s Jordan Palin fell on lap three, turn two. Lynn edged four points in front.
But Peterborough drew level with their first 5-1 thanks to Nicholls and Palm Toft who made the gate. Barker was hot on the tail of Heat 8 winner Bjarne Pedersen but could not pass, with Andersen junior in third. This ended all-square, as were the scores, 24-24 at the midway point.
Riss bagged his second victory in Heat 9 while Palin fell victim to bend two, allowing Kerr to overtake and he almost grabbed second, but Harris held on and squeezed this position, both riders somehow staying on.
Lawson completed his hat-trick as Lynn maintained a slender two-point advantage with Palm Toft and Nicholls filling the next two slots.
Palm Toft was the Heat 11 R/R and he backed up Pedersen for the Panthers’ second 5-1 to take the lead for the first time, 32-34.
The visitors notched their second 5-1 in a row via the busy Palm Toft and reserve switch Andersen, who was in for the struggling Palin - this move was managed by Peterborough’s ex-Lynn team boss Rob Lyon.
Pedersen was the final R/R and he led for most of Heat 13 before Lawson passed him on the final bend, where Jorgensen slid off in a 3-3.
Lawson, four wins out of four, was inserted by Brady instead of Mountain as a penultimate heat tactical sub in a bid to claw back that six-point deficit. It worked a treat as the Cumbrian and Kerr, by passing Nicholls, hammered in a 5-1 to make it 41-43 and set up that mouth-watering Heat 15.
Minors and Brady Stars: Richard Lawson 15, Ben Barker 3, Erik Riss 11+1, Lewis Kerr (captain) 5+1, Thomas Jorgensen 4, Connor Mountain 2+1, Kasper Andersen 4+1.
Peterborough: Ulrich Ostergaard R/R, Bjarne Pedersen 9+1, Michael Palm Toft 11+4, Scott Nicholls (capt.) 10+1, Chris Harris 12+1, Jordan Palin 0, Hans Andersen 4+1.
Fastest time: Nicholls, Heat 5, 59.22 seconds.