King's Lynn Stars finish Premiership campaign with another home defeat
King’s Lynn Stars 39 Poole Pirates 51
Lynn finished their league season by losing to reigning champions Poole, who sealed top spot in the Premiership.
The Stars were bidding to go out of their final meeting of the campaign on a high – and prove a point to Poole who beat them in last year’s play-off final.
Poole knew any win would pip Swindon to top spot and thus gain first pick from the second, third and fourth placed teams who they wish to race in the title-deciding play-off semi-finals.
This was Lynn fans’ first glimpse this season of former Star Tomas H Jonasson, who recently joined the Pirates.
Lynn notched eight of the first 10 heat winners but the Pirates packed second and third spots; and when Craig Cook retired immediately after the interval Lynn were up against it.
Former British Grand Prix winner Chris Harris stepped in again for the Poultec Stars as a guest for Michael Palm Toft.
Dane Nicklas Porsing quit the club, so Lynn brought in Sheffield’s Josh MacDonald to guest at reserve and they used the rider replacement (r/r) facility for Thomas Jorgensen.
Erik Riss was the opening heat r/r but the German crashed through the tapes and elected to start with a 15m penalty.
It wasn’t too costly as Robert Lambert surged from the tapes to win the race; and away No.2 Nico Covatti retired on the third lap in a 4-2 result.
Lewis Kerr won the reserves’ race while MacDonald was getting used to the Adrian Flux Arena surface and was last. Riss just hung on at the line to hold off Josh Grajczonek and win Heat 3 as Lynn led 11-7.
Cook won Heat 4 and one mistake by MacDonald in going too wide on the final lap second bend cost him a point as Ricky Wells went past for third.
Harris had a ding-dong fifth outing battle with Covatti, who finished second behind Brady Kurtz in the night’s first 5-1 to level matters. Kerr was the Heat 6 r/r and was third while Lambert won to retake the lead.
The victorious Cook swapped places with ex-Star Nicolai Klindt whose bike faded in a shared race. But the visitors regained the lead at halfway with their second 5-1 maximum victory from Ricky Wells/Covatti.
A Heat 9 4-2 from winner Riss and Harris, who just couldn’t quite catch Jack Holder, levelled the scores. Lambert’s hat-trick, along with zero for r/r Kerr, ensured the sides were 30-30 at the interval.
Cook’s retirement came during Poole’s third 5-1, and then Klindt won Heat 12 to put the away team six points ahead.
A second successive Poole 4-2 meant Lynn used Riss as a successful Heat 14 tactical sub, while Harris retired after going too wide on the third lap, second bend in a 3-3 which gave the visitors overall victory.
Holder and Klindt won the final Heat 15 over Riss and Cook.
Stars: Robert Lambert 11, Thomas Jorgensen R/R, Erik Riss 13, Chris Harris (guest) 4, Craig Cook 6, Lewis Kerr 5, Josh MacDonald (guest) 0. Fastest time: Lambert, Heat 1, 59.37 seconds.
Pirates: Brady Kurtz 11, Nico Covatti 6+3, Nicolai Klindt 7+3, Josh Grajczonek 8, Jack Holder 10, Tomas H Jonasson 2+1, Ricky Wells 7+2. Fastest time: Kurtz, Heat 5, 60.25.secs.
Lynn have still to ride a Premiership Supporters Cup tie at the Pirates, date to be confirmed.