King’s Lynn Stars couldn’t quite manage to win in front of returning team boss Dale Allitt on Thursday, losing 43-50 against Poole in the SGB Premiership.
Frustratingly, bad weather – which has dogged the Stars during the 2017 speedway season – set in and caused the second meeting of Lynn’s double header versus Rye House to be postponed, and will need to be rearranged after last night’s (Monday) cut-off date.
Allitt, appearing against medical advice, was making his first appearance at the Adrian Flux Arena since being taken ill during the infamous first home protracted Poole fixture on July 13. Doctors have still not made a full diagnosis but he confirmed it was not a heart attack.
Allitt was confirmed as team manager just before the action began. Injured rider Lewis Rose and former Stars legends Howard Cole and Terry Betts were also present.
The Stars turned up knowing they could have their say in the top four end-of-season play-off positions when entertaining top four chasers Poole Pirates and Rye House in a double-header on the same evening.
They also knew six points would see them avoid the relegation race-off, with basement side Leicester Lions on their tail. Stars were 22-26 behind at the midway stage.
Poole immediately made that an eight-point deficit with their second maximum 5-1 race win from skipper Hans Andersen and Timo Lahti. They managed three maximums in all.
Lynn did their best to pull it back, Thomas Jorgensen again top scoring while Michael Palm Toft won a double-scoring tactical outing in Heat 12, but Poole sealed victory with a heat to spare thanks to super reserve Timo Lahti, who racked up 17 points.
Allitt said: “I’m still waiting for the results of tests. I’ve got to back on the 18th of September so I should know a little more there.
“I’m being told: Still don’t drive, don’t do anything stressful, which speedway team management is probably not the best thing to do for me.
“I haven’t had the all clear yet and won’t do for another couple of weeks.
“Everybody told me to stay stress free but I am here because we want to win things.
“I can’t tell people how hard it is when you start the season winning a trophy, the first we have won since coming back to the top flight.
“With what happened that night (against Poole on July 13) and since, I have not been in the loop but could not just stand by and see us go into the relegation play-off without trying to do something about it.
“That was why I came back, I spoke to the boys and we felt it made a difference. “It is not the same when you have a different team manager every week but it is also very short term because I am not allowed to drive. I won’t be going to Belle Vue or Wolves and unfortunately, it was not enough.
“I am hurting more than anyone. I built a team at the start of the year and for various reasons – and I don’t want to comment on what happened that night because a lot has already been said – we have ended up where we are.
“Whatever happens over the winter, we need stability and to get the pride back into the club, to give back something to the fans and hopefully, we can do that.”
Assessing the Poole meeting, which saw visiting reserve Timo Lahti steal the show with five wins from seven outings, Allitt said: “We huffed and puffed but never quite got there. Lahti made a huge difference at reserve and it was always going to be difficult.
“Sometimes it can come down to luck. You race a team on one day and their riding order is different, Lahti is doing well in Sweden but he’s at reserve. That hurt us.
Lynn Stars: Robert Lambert (capt) 6+3, Thomas Jorgensen 12, Michael Palm Toft 8+1, Kai Huckenbeck 8, Thomas H Jonasson 5, Josh Auty 4+1, Simon Lambert 0.
Poole Pirates: Brady Kurtz 8+2, Jack Holder 5, Paul Starke 2+1, Edward Kennett 6, Hans Andersen (capt) 9+1, Timo Lahti 17, James Shanes 3+1.