King’s Lynn Stars 46
Coventry Bees 44
King’s Lynn Young Stars 65 Stoke Potters 25
The King’s Lynn Stars pulled off two wins on the same night but this was marred when senior team speedway skipper Rory Schlein was whisked to hospital after a horror crash on Wednesday.
Schlein was injured in Heat 14 against his former club and took no further part but the Roger Warnes Transport Stars held on to defeat last season’s play-off contenders.
The Young Stars then took over the double-header and opened their campaign with a massive seven maximum 5-1 race victories.
The senior Stars side could not shake off the Bees who had superb gating from maximum man Krzysztof Kasprzak and the meeting was well poised before the Heat 14 smash. Lynn’s Mads Korneliussen laid down going into the second bend as Kacper Woryna fell, while Schlein catapulted over his handlebars and Danny King collided into both Schlein and Woryna.
A county ambulance took away Schlein, who had suspected concussion and shoulder concerns, and Woryna, who suffered a nasty hand injury.
All four riders were reinstated in the re-run by referee Mick Bates, but Carl Wilkinson and Josh Bates replaced the injured pair and Korneliussen emerged victorious.
It meant Coventry needed a 5-1 to draw in the final nominated heat. Former World number two Kasprzak just outmuscled Lynn’s Robert Lambert while Bees skipper Chris Harris passed Niels-Kristian Iversen on the last bend in a 2-4 result which sealed three league points for the hosts.
Heat 2 witnessed the first maximum of the evening from Wilkinson and Lewis Rose and the first away 5-1 came from Kasprzak and Harris who pegged it back to 19-17.
Lynn maximums came from Korneliussen and Rose (Heat 4) and Lambert and Iversen (Heat 7) to lead 24-18.
After rain began to fall, a cracking Heat 11 was the fastest race. The Stars were on a maximum before Harris inched between Iversen and Kai Huckenbeck on the first straight to lead. King fell and got up on the second lap, when Iversen retook the lead to record a time of 59.39 seconds to make it 36-30.
Josh Bates and James Sarjeant gave Coventry a Heat 12 lifeline with their second 5-1 to leave it poised at 37-35.
Stars: Niels-Kristian Iversen 10, Kai Huckenbeck 5+1, Rory Schlein 5 (withdrawn), Mads Korneliussen 8+1, Robert Lambert 6+3, Carl Wilkinson 7, Lewis Rose 5+1.
Bees: Krzysztof Kasprzak 15, Jason Garrity 7, Danny King 4, Kacper Woryna 3 (withdrawn), Chris Harris 5+1, James Sarjeant 4+2, Josh Bates 6+1.
Following a brief interval, the Young Stars burst out of the traps with three 5-1s and a 4-2 to take command at 19-5.
Ryan Kinsley was their star man with a paid maximum from six rides, which were also completed by Josh Bailey, who just missed a maximum.
Despite losing Shane Hazelden to illness, the hosts scored seven maximums and six 4-2 heat advantages in their season opener.
Nathan Greaves’ first ride since joining in the winter was a Heat 4 paid back-up to Kinsley who bagged his second win.
Lynn led 35-13 at the halfway mark thanks to the Bailey/Kinsley 5-1 combination.
With away reserves Lewis Millar – who earned a retirement and exclusion – and Ryan MacDonald struggling and a solitary race win courtesy of former British U21 champion Ben Wilson, Lynn ensured they were unbeaten overall in heats all night with maximums in the second half from Kinsley/Tom Stokes (Heat 10) and Kinsley/skipper Scott Campos (Heat 12).
Stokes defied re-injuring his broken hand to pick up three paid wins.
The Potters’ nightmare evening continued in Heat 14 when MacDonald was penalised for a tapes offence and went off 15 metres.
Bailey superbly overtook Danny Phillips to win the final Heat 15.
Young Stars: Tom Stokes 7+3, Shane Hazelden R/R, Scott Campos 8+2, Josh Bailey 17, Nathan Greaves 12+1, Layne Cupitt 4+1, Ryan Kinsley 17+1.
Stoke: Ben Wilson 8, Chris Widman 1, Shaun Tedham 2+1, Danny Phillips 9, Tony Atkin 4, Lewis Millar 0, Ryan MacDonald 1.