King's Lynn Stars open Premiership account with a point at Belle Vue
The King's Lynn Stars opened their Premiership account with a battling effort to take a league point from a 48-42 defeat at Belle Vue.
The Minors & Brady Stars fought back from 12 points down to force a last heat decider, and although Max Fricke secured the win for the Aces, Niels-Kristian Iversen did enough to ensure the visitors took some reward.
Team boss Alex Brady said: “We were caught out a little early doors by the track, and were beaten by the better side.
“But the boys showed some serious guts and resolve to bring a point back to Norfolk.
“We win as a team, lose as a team and take a point on the road as a team.”
Track conditions were tricky in the early stages after pre-meeting rain, and the Stars made a terrific start when Iversen and Thomas Jorgensen raced clear for a 5-1 in Heat 1.
But that was immediately cancelled out by the home side in the reserves’ race, and they edged in front when Heat 4 provided a surprise result with the Rising Stars out-front, Jack Thomas just missing out to Tom Brennan but taking an excellent second place ahead of Brady Kurtz.
The gap remained at two points after six races, but Lewis Kerr fell in Heat 7 when attempting to pass Norick Blodorn at the start of the last lap, and after an extensive track grade the Aces began to take control.
They recorded a 5-1 in Heat 8 from Charles Wright and Brennan as Jorgensen was squeezed out, but the key moment came in Heat 10 when the unbeaten Iversen came in for a tactical substitute ride.
The Dane made another fast start and looked to have the beating of Belle Vue No.1 Fricke – but the Australian gradually reeled him in and produced a brilliant move on the last lap to take the win, with the Aces taking a bonus as Blodorn held third place over Richard Lawson.
Iversen defeated Kurtz in Heat 11 as the Stars clawed two points back, and they were right back in business when Richie Worrall and Lawson headed Palm Toft for a 5-1 in Heat 12.
Captain Josh Pickering then rode a blinder in Heat 13 to go round Fricke on lap four, with Iversen’s third place cutting the gap to four points, and Kerr came to the party with a win in Heat 14 to keep the Stars in contention.
Although Fricke edged out Iversen in a competitive finale, and Wright stormed underneath Pickering for third, Iversen’s second place proved enough for the visitors to get off the mark in the league table.
The return fixture against the Aces takes place at the Adrian Flux Arena on Thursday.
Belle Vue Aces 48: Charles Wright 12+1, Max Fricke 12, Tom Brennan 8+3, Brady Kurtz 6, Michael Palm Toft 5+1, Norick Blodorn 5, Jye Etheridge r/r.
King's Lynn Stars 42: Niels-Kristian Iversen 14, Richard Lawson 7+1, Josh Pickering 7, Thomas Jorgensen 4+1, Richie Worrall 4+1, Lewis Kerr 3, Jack Thomas 3.