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King's Lynn pull off victory in opening round of Premiership Pairs



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King's Lynn pulled off victory in the opening round of the new Premiership Pairs series at Peterborough.

Richard Lawson and Josh Pickering overcame Sheffield duo Jack Holder and Adam Ellis in a controversial final with Ellis crashing heavily at the start of the last lap, with the Minors & Brady Stars duo being awarded second and third places to take the win overall.

Stars opened their schedule with 5-4 advantages over both Peterborough and Wolverhampton, and it was the latter which would turn out to be crucial to their semi-final progression.

Richard Lawson prepares to go out on track - Credit: Ian Burt. (55560255)
Richard Lawson prepares to go out on track - Credit: Ian Burt. (55560255)

On both occasions, Pickering and Lawson packed in for second and third places behind Chris Harris and Sam Masters respectively.

Their next outing saw them concede a 6-3 to Sheffield, with Holder charging around Pickering at the start of the second lap, but in close fought meeting any 7-2 advantage would be crucial – and it was the Stars who took it.

It came in a thrilling Heat 10 whey they faced Ipswich, with Pickering getting inside early leader Danny King before Lawson somehow burst past both Jason Doyle and King to join his team-mate up front.

Next up was a clash with Belle Vue where a ride full of determination from Pickering saw him go between Max Fricke and Brady Kurtz off turn four for what turned out to be a crucial second place.

Sheffield were through to the Final, with the Stars joining Belle Vue in the semi having finished level on points with Wolverhampton but having scored more when the sides met.

The clash with the Aces produced an exciting opening lap with Aces star Fricke finding himself at the back on the first lap and attempting a big blast round the Stars on turn three, only to clip the fence and fall – with Pickering and Lawson then overcoming Kurtz to confirm their final place.

Josh Pickering warming up one of his bikes. (56696303)
Josh Pickering warming up one of his bikes. (56696303)

But in the decider it looked like being Sheffield’s race with Holder out front, whilst second-placed Lawson looked to slow the race down ahead of Ellis to help his partner Pickering.

Going into the last lap, Ellis swung out wide as he looked to switch clear of Lawson, but he lost control and slammed heavily into the fence.

Whilst Ellis thankfully walked away, he was disqualified by referee Tony Steele, with second and third places awarded to the Stars duo – which saw them take a maximum 12 points from the meeting.

Manager Alex Brady said: “We came here and decided as you do in a Pairs competition that no last places was the mantra from the start, which we did very well.

“I’m really pleased. Richard and Josh were deserved winners, and Jack (Thomas) played his part too.

“First and foremost after the Final I’m glad Adam is okay. I thought it was hard racing but personally I felt it was fair racing, although I suppose if I was in Steady’s (Simon Stead – Sheffield boss) shoes I might see it slightly differently.

“I’d like to see it again before I make a final judgment call on it, but as I call it tonight, I thought it was hard but fair.”

The Stars return home next Monday (May 30) when they face Peterborough as their Premiership league campaign ramps up towards the summer.

Qualifying scores

Sheffield 26: Jack Holder 18, Adam Ellis 6, Connor Mountain (RS) 2.

Belle Vue 24: Max Fricke 17, Brady Kurtz 7, Tom Brennan (RS) 0.

King's Lynn 23: Josh Pickering 15, Richard Lawson 8, Jack Thomas (RS) 0.

Wolverhampton 23: Sam Masters 12, Ryan Douglas 11, Joe Thompson (RS) 0.

Ipswich 21: Jason Doyle 17, Danny King 2, Danyon Hume (RS) 2.

Peterborough 18: Chris Harris 11, Michael Palm Toft 7, Max Clegg (RS) 0.

Semi-final: Pickering, Lawson, Kurtz, Fricke (F) – (King’s Lynn beat Belle Vue 7-2)

Final: Holder, Lawson, Pickering, Ellis (Fx) – (King’s Lynn beat Sheffield 5-4)

Standings after round one: King’s Lynn 12, Sheffield 8, Belle Vue 6, Wolverhampton 4, Ipswich 2, Peterborough 0.



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