Stars left to rue Palm Toft incident in Premiership final
Stars speedway team manager Dale Allitt said the Michael Palm-Toft incident in the play-off final first leg was the key factor in King’s Lynn just missing the Premiership league title by a whisker.
The Stars beat Poole Pirates by 12 points at home on Wednesday but lost overall owing to a 16-point away defeat two days earlier, when Palm-Toft was controversially excluded and also broke his hand which caused him to miss the return in Norfolk.
Allitt said after an exciting clash at the Adrian Flux Arena: “Regardless of the rights and wrongs, and it doesn’t matter now, but Heat 12 turned it at Poole.
“The exclusion of Michael, whatever people’s opinion of it: it wasn’t just the exclusion and the loss of four points, it was a loss of Michael. Ultimately we never recovered from that.”
Allitt said the absence of injured Danish duo Palm-Toft and Niels-Kristian Iversen was too much of a burden to bear when Lynn attempted to beat Poole by more than 16 points at home in the Grand Final second leg, although they did themselves proud in front of a bumper crowd by winning 51-39.
“We missed Niels and we missed Michael – specifically Michael here, today,” added Allitt. “Michael would have scored about six or seven – we lost by four overall so it would have made a big difference.
“The difference was probably the first leg. We fought hard tonight. I’m proud of the boys that we won by 12 points in the end. To race for four laps and win after the heartbreak of losing the title showed a lot of heart.”
Depleted hosts Lynn put up a brave fight in a bid to claw back a 16-point first leg deficit in front of both a massive crowd – which caused the meeting to start 15 minutes late – and the BT Sport cameras.
However a solid Poole one-to seven had just too much left in the bank and it took Lynn until Heat 12 to get the deficit down to single figures with a 5-1 maximum race win from vice-skipper Ty Proctor and reserve Simon Lambert, who had swapped bikes.
The Tru Plant Stars made the perfect start with Robert Lambert and Erik Riss roaring clear of Chris Harris to immediately reduce the deficit by four points.
However ex-Lynn rider Richie Worrall won Heat 2 in a 4-2 away result to stem the Stars’ tide. Jorgensen backed up Proctor in a Heat 3 maximum.
An unlikely 5-1 from Ty Proctor, who injured his hand in a Heat 3 fall, raced through the pain barrier for a huge maximum with Simon Lambert in Heat 11 made the score 41-31 and it was game on yet again.
But, as they had done all evening, Poole once again found another gear.
Pirates guest Nick Morris and Harris got out in front of Lambert in Heat 13 and although the home skipper got into second on the last lap the Stars’ dream was almost over.
Former Poole man Adam Ellis – guesting for the injured Iversen – had a good previous experience of riding in West Norfolk; he guested for Lynn at the Saddlebow Road stadium in a double-header against Leicester in September and scored 9 and 11 points.
But he did not score in three out of four outings, and other guest Kyle Howarth - who replaced Palm Toft - also struggled.
Despite Jorgensen taking the chequered flag, Jakobsen and Nicolai Klindt kept Simon Lambert at the back in Heat 14 to wrap it up for the Pirates, their eighth title in 16 years.
Lynn Stars 51: Erik Riss 13+2, Robert Lambert 13+1, Ty Proctor 10, Thomas Jorgensen 6, Simon Lambert 4+1, Adam Ellis 3, Kyle Howarth 3.
Poole Pirates 39: Josh Grajczonek 8, Nick Morris 7, Nicolai Klindt 6+1, Richie Worrall 6, Chris Harris 5+2, Frederik Jakobsen 5+1, Kacper Woryna 2+1