King’s Lynn edged out by Ipswich in East Anglian speedway derby
King's Lynn were edged out 46-44 by Ipswich in another tight contest to bring the curtain down on the 2023 season at the Adrian Flux Arena.
The MacInnes Stars again did their very best to put a spanner in the works of one of the play-off challengers, and the Witches themselves received bad news from elsewhere as Leicester won a Super Heat at Wolverhampton to become favourites to finish fourth.
Ultimately a couple of mechanical issues afflicting Robert Lambert were significant to the result – although Lambert again produced some sensational racing as he took on and beat Jason Doyle and Emil Sayfutdinov.
And the Stars were also brilliant at reserve with bumper hauls once again for skipper Simon Lambert and Anders Rowe, who racked up 24+4 between them and Rowe took the scalp of Doyle in Heat 4.
Lambert and Rowe put the Stars ahead with a 5-1 in Heat 2 but this was pegged back by a couple of 4-2s to the Witches leaving the match all square after Heat 5, with Rowe beating Doyle in the fourth.
Robert Lambert and Rowe then took a 4-2 in Heat 6 and the lead was extended to four points with another 4-2 from the same pairing in Heat 8 as Lambert took the rider replacement ride.
But Doyle and Keynan Rew hit back with a 5-1 in Heat 9 to level the scores, and they edged ahead in the next when Lambert suffered engine failure on the start-line, Simon Lambert splitting Danny King and Erik Riss for a 4-2 to the visitors.
The match looked to have firmly turned in Ipswich’s favour when Sayfutdinov and Rew collected a 5-1 in Heat 11 to put the Witches six points up, but the Lamberts combined against King in the next race with Robert taking a tactical substitute ride to bring the match back to 35-37.
Robert Lambert then suffered the misfortune of a split fuel pipe in Heat 13 which forced him to push around the last lap as team-mate Michael Palm Toft had also hit trouble, whilst Sayfutdinov and Doyle wrapped up a 5-1 to make it 36-42.
Back came the Stars once again as Rew was disqualified from Heat 14 after coming to grief and bringing down team-mate Ashton Boughen, with Simon Lambert and Rowe taking maximum points in the re-run.
But another advantage in the decider was always going to be a tough ask against the Witches’ top two and so it proved – although Robert Lambert rounded off the home season in style with a brilliant ride to get the better of Sayfutdinov and Doyle.
Stars owner Keith Chapman said: “It was so tight, and a couple of breakdowns cost us, but the effort the boys put in was amazing, and credit to them all.
“It’s been great to see Robert back at the club and the two reserves we’ve brought in, Simon and Anders, have been absolutely brilliant.
“It’s been a rough old season and everyone knows I didn’t want to be here this year so it wasn’t what I’d planned, but things happened and we had to get on with it.
“But the last two meetings have been tremendous and now we’ll start to go again for next year.”
The Stars have one more match to complete their season, which is away at Peterborough, with a date for that meeting to be confirmed.
King's Lynn Stars 44: Simon Lambert 15+2, Robert Lambert 15, Anders Rowe 9+2, Connor Mountain 3, Michael Palm Toft 2, Emil Breum 0, Nicolai Klindt r/r.
Ipswich Witches 46: Emil Sayfutdinov 14, Jason Doyle 10+2, Danny King 10, Keynan Rew 6+3, Danyon Hume 3, Erik Riss 2, Ashton Boughen 1.
Ipswich win the aggregate point