King's Lynn Stars make dream start to new season with Peterborough victory
The King's Lynn Stars got their season off to a dream start with a dramatic 48-42 League Cup victory at Peterborough on Easter Monday.
The new-look Minors & Brady Stars were the better side and fully deserved their victory, but they were taken into a nervous last-heat decider when fortune deserted them in the closing stages.
There were strong showings in several areas with Richard Lawson reeling off wins in his first three rides, new skipper Josh Pickering giving an action-packed display, and the class of Niels-Kristian Iversen shone through at the vital time.
Stars raced into an early six-point lead thanks mainly to a 5-1 from Iversen and Thomas Jorgensen in Heat 1, but the combination of Ulrich Ostergaard and Hans Andersen got the home side back into the meeting and they were all square after Heat 5.
The next race saw Panthers No.1 Michael Palm Toft crash out, when he clipped the rear wheel of Lawson whilst involved in a tight battle with Richie Worrall, and the ex-Lynn man was ruled out with concussion.
Stars took advantage with successive 4-2s, followed by a massive 5-1 in Heat 9 when Lawson and Worrall took the maximum from Andersen and Ostergaard.
With the gap at eight points, the Panthers brought Scott Nicholls into Heat 11 for a tactical substitute ride, and after a clearly faulty start due to the tapes not rising correctly, all four laps were completed with Iversen and Jorgensen sweeping to another 5-1.
However, referee Barbara Horley then ordered a re-run, which incredibly produced the exact opposite result as Chris Harris took the win and Nicholls came through for second after Iversen hit mechanical trouble.
Then there was more misfortune when Worrall suffered a puncture in Heat 12 allowing Simon Lambert to snatch third place, and a series of shared races meant Lynn led by four points with one heat to go.
Iversen, however, controlled the decider with Pickering just missing out on second spot in a fierce scrap with Harris – giving Lynn three group points and a real chance of progression overall.
Boss Alex Brady said: “We couldn’t have scripted it any better with a great crowd on a Bank Holiday Monday, fantastic weather, lots of controversy, and we got the job done so we’re going home very happy.
“The team did exactly what we built it to do, we were solid throughout and we had people to carry the slack when others didn’t do quite what they’d hoped for, and it was exactly what we wanted.
“In my opinion the red lights should have come on immediately in Heat 11.
"I understand it should have been re-run, I had no issues with that whatsoever, but in my opinion if you run the four laps the result should have stood.
“I have to be careful and bite my tongue slightly, but I’m glad it didn’t cost us in the long run otherwise it might have been a slightly different story."
Peterborough 42: Chris Harris 12+1, Scott Nicholls 11+2, Ulrich Ostergaard 8, Hans Andersen 5+2, Simon Lambert 5+1, Jordan Palin 1+1, Michael Palm Toft 0.
King's Lynn Stars 48: Niels-Kristian Iversen 11, Josh Pickering 11, Richie Worrall 9+1, Richard Lawson 9, Thomas Jorgensen 5+1, Jack Thomas 2+1, Lewis Kerr 1.