Thursday March 21, 2024
KING’S Lynn showed plenty of encouraging signs for the season ahead in a 47-42 defeat at Leicester in their ROWE Motor Oil Premiership opener on Thursday.

New signing Vadim Tarasenko was the pick of the bunch for the PSH Environmental Stars in the East Midlands but six of the seven visiting riders won at least one race as they worked to keep the Lions in check.

And with aggregate points likely to be vital in the race for the play-offs this season, the Stars are well placed to overturn the five-point margin when the sides meet again at the Adrian Flux Arena next week.

There was drama in the early stages with the Stars handed a 5-0 in Heat 2 when both Leicester reserves crashed on the final bend – but the bad luck went Lynn’s way in the very next race when Michael Palm Toft was the victim of a bizarre incident.

Entering the second lap the Dane clipped the start-line post, used to keep the tapes level and which had been inadvertently left on the circuit, and the resultant loss of momentum saw Luke Becker blast through for a 5-1 as Palm Toft came to a halt.

Skipper Tobiasz Musielak prevented another Masters/Becker maximum in Heat 5 as he split the home combination on lap two, but a win for former Stars racer Richard Lawson in Heat 6 made it 20-15 to the hosts.

Benjamin Basso impressively defeated Ryan Douglas in Heat 7 and further race wins followed for Patryk Wojdylo with a great effort in Heat 9 and Palm Toft In the next, with the Stars narrowing the gap to three.

They then had a stroke of fortune in Heat 11 when Douglas fell to leave the scores at 33-32, with the home side in a nervous position.

Reserve Drew Kemp won Heat 12 with Masters third to extend the gap to three, and when Douglas and Max Fricke gated on a 5-1 in Heat 13 it looked like the Lions were taking control.

But Tarasenko came up with a brilliant ride to first of all see off Fricke on the outside, and then squeeze around Douglas on the back straight to complete a stunning third to first manoeuvre.

It kept Lynn in with a chance of snatching victory, but Becker was always favourite from the outside in Heat 14, and as he took the win over Basso, third place for Kemp – who looked fortunate to be in the re-run after an unsatisfactory start - made virtually sure for the Lions.

Tarasenko made no mistake from the outside in Heat 15 which ended as a shared race, leaving the Stars well in touch ahead of the reverse fixture.

Manager Rob Lyon said: “I was very happy with the performance. We knew going into Heat 15 that gate four was the best, and Tarasenko had ridden a blinder in Heat 13 so at the very least I was expecting a 3-3, and it proved that way.

“To come away five points down and take it back to King’s Lynn, we stand a very good chance of getting the aggregate point, and that will be crucial this year.

“Getting three points out of each set of home and away matches is going to get us to the play-offs, so I’m happy with that. It’s a good first meeting for us, there were a few gremlins from the boys but overall I’m pleased.

“The gates were very weird tonight, four was dominant, one was okay, but two was pretty poor and three wasn’t much better, which was a strange one. But the boys all had their moments, and we can look forward to taking Leicester back to King’s Lynn next week.”

The teams meet again next Thursday (March 28) in the opening match of the season at the Adrian Flux Arena.

LEICESTER 47: Luke Becker 11+2, Richard Lawson 11, Ryan Douglas 7, Max Fricke 6+2, Drew Kemp 6, Sam Masters 5, Joe Thompson 1.
KING’S LYNN 42: Vadim Tarasenko 10+1, Michael Palm Toft 6, Benjamin Basso 6, Patryk Wojdylo 5+1, Tobiasz Musielak 5, Niels-Kristian Iversen 5, Anders Rowe 5.

1 FRICKE 59.75 Iversen, Lawson, Musielak (4-2)
2 ROWE 61.50 Wojdylo, Kemp (f.dq), Thompson (f.dq) (4-7)
3 MASTERS 61.75, Becker, Basso, Palm Toft (9-8)
4 DOUGLAS 61.41 Rowe, Tarasenko, Thompson (12-11)
5 BECKER 60.19 Musielak, Masters, Iversen (16-13)
6 LAWSON 60.75 Tarasenko, Fricke, Wojdylo (20-15)
7 BASSO 60.75 Douglas, Palm Toft, Kemp (22-19)
8 LAWSON 61.50 Iversen, Thompson, Rowe (26-21)
9 WOJDYLO 61.44 Becker, Tarasenko, Masters (28-25)
10 PALM TOFT 61.00 Lawson, Fricke, Basso (31-28)
11 MUSIELAK 61.18 Kemp, Iversen, Douglas (f.rem) (33-32)
12 KEMP 61.25 Palm Toft, Masters, Wojdylo (37-34)
13 TARASENKO 60.44 Douglas, Fricke, Musielak (40-37)
14 (re-run) BECKER 60.37 Basso, Kemp, Rowe (44-39)
15 TARASENKO 60.69 Lawson, Becker, Palm Toft (47-42)

Photo credit: PHIL McGLYNN

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