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King's Lynn boss reflects on 'defining' moments of 2022 speedway season

King’s Lynn Stars boss Alex Brady said the twin blow when the club lost club icon Niels-Kristian Iversen and reserve Jack Thomas was “the defining point of the season”.

Veteran Iversen, who enjoyed a memorable second speedway spell at the Adrian Flux Arena and almost guided Lynn to a top flight title in 2018, had come in as a last-minute replacement for fellow Grand Prix star Peter Kildemand whose Stars debut seems to be forever delayed by injury.

However in a nightmare week, Danish ace Iversen was recalled by the Polish leagues and a few days later on June 15, Rising Star reserve Thomas crashed out at home to local rivals Ipswich, which was Lynn’s first home defeat of the season.

King's Lynn Stars manager Alex Brady. (58719093)
King's Lynn Stars manager Alex Brady. (58719093)

Before then the Minors & Brady Stars had won all their League Cup group stage meetings to cruise into the final and had made a promising start in the league, known as the Premiership.

British speedway does not have an untapped pool of riders considering so many top talents choose to remain abroad where crowds and money are bigger and better.

So Lynn were unable to replace key heat leader Iversen until August when they brought in compatriot Nicolai Klindt.

It was too little, too late and wider team inconsistency meant they finished second from bottom. New skipper Josh Pickering, injecting some fresh Australian directness, began like a house on fire but he too, like the rest of the team, faded.

Summing up the review of his first full season in charge, team manager Brady said of the aftermath of the Thomas injury and Iversen departure: “There were signs and flashes in that period where we felt perhaps we could have turned it around.

“That was the defining point of the season: Niels going and Jack getting injured because Jack was performing fantastically at that point and looking like a real star. Probably up there he was one of the best Rising Stars, apart from Tom Brennan, in the league at that point.

“And obviously losing Niels and having no opportunity to replace him until August when Nicolai became available. That was the defining moment of the season.

“There was nothing we could do at that point but in hindsight perhaps we didn’t go with Niels in the first instance would have been an option, but with the Kildemand injury we had to do what we had to do.

“That for me was the key week. It’s just a shame that sort of six to seven week period was probably how our season will be remembered, unfortunately.

“We started well by getting to a cup final and we finished well, as well. It’s been a long, long season and it’s still a round of the Pairs (due to be rearranged after last night’s call-off) and cup final second leg (at Sheffield tomorrow, with Lynn already 12 points behind) to go but overall: ups and downs; and lots to build on, lots to learn for next year.”

There are grounds to be optimistic with reserve Frederik Jakobsen being a big late season hit. Like fellow Dane Klindt, he was not available until the final month of the campaign, and was quickly snapped up for next term after bagging double figures in his first half-dozen outings on UK soil.

Brady confirmed Jakobsen is the only 2023 signing so far but added that there are a couple of verbal agreements from riders to join next season.

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