The Norfolk Arena on the 16th April 2014 hosted more Speedway action, as hosts Kings Lynn Stars welcomed Craig Cook’s Belle Vue Aces for their second home meeting of the 2014 season. After competing in three meetings so far this season, the hosts lied fourth in the Elite League Standings, with seven points. Victory in their opening home meeting of the season against Lakeside saw the Stars start their season in the best possible way and this was then followed up by an away win at Coventry, but Monday night away at Wolverhampton saw the team receive their first defeat, being beaten 47-42 but the team did end up scoring a point. With an unchanged team, the Stars were hoping that victory against the Aces would lead to a 100% home record and lead them on the path to the Elite League Speedway play-offs in the month of September/October.
In terms of the away team, the Belle Vue Aces, their start of the season hasn’t been as strong as the Stars, with only one win from three meetings. Lying in eighth place on three points, the Aces so far have a poor away record, losing twice on the road, but did record their first win of the season at home on Monday vs Leicester, with a score of 56-35. With a line up that includes two British young guns, in the form of Captain Craig Cook and Richie Worrall, alongside experienced Scott Nicholls and the addition of Slovenian Matej Zagar leading the line up, this makes the Aces a hard team to beat. Even though the Aces had lost away to Swindon and Eastbourne, they could pose a challenge for the Stars around the fast and slick Norfolk Arena track, which has history of providing excellent racing. The fans were certainly in for an exciting meeting of two teams fighting for more wins in 2014.
The squads for the evening were as follows:
Kings Lynn Stars:
1. Niels-Kristian Iversen / 2. Nicklas Porsing / 3. Rory Schlein (C) / 4. Robert Lambert / 5. Kenneth Bjerre / 6. Lewis Kerr / 7. Lewis Rose
Belle Vue Aces:
1. Matej Zagar / 2. Michael Palm Toft / 3. Scott Nicholls / 4. Richie Worrall / 5. Craig Cook (C) / 6. Stefan Nielsen / 7. Ben Reade
When the tapes went up at 8pm for the opening heat at the Norfolk Arena, everyone was in for a brilliant night of speedway, with perfect conditions and a well prepared track. With heat one seeing GP riders Matej Zagar go up against Kings Lynn Stars’s number one Niels-Kristian Iversen, everyone was expecting a strong contest, but it was the Slovenian who stole the show early on. Lapping the Norfolk Arena track with a blistering time of 58.56 seconds, Zagar looked very competitive and took the first win on the night. Fortunately for the Stars, a second and a third from Iversen and Porsing levelled the heat at 3-3 and meant the away team didn’t have the advantage.
Heat 1 Result:
Zagar, Iversen, Porsing & Palm-Toft (3-3)
The second heat saw the Stars take their first stride into controlling the meeting, as the reverse riders secured the first 5-1 of the evening, as Lewis Kerr headed home Lewis Rose, ahead of the Belle Vue pairing of Stefan Nielsen and Ben Reade. With the next two heats seeing honours even with scores of 3-3, the fifth heat saw the Kings Lynn Stars pull six points ahead after a superb ride by Dane Kenneth Bjerre. After pressure from Scott Nicholls throughout the heat, Bjerre held on to secure a strong result, with Iversen collecting the final point. Bringing up the rear in heat five was surprisingly British young-gun Richie Worrall for Belle Vue, who had experience of the Norfolk Arena after starting his career there.
Heat 2 Result:
Kerr, Rose, Nielsen & Reade (5-1)
Heat 3 Result:
Bjerre, Cook, Nicholls & Schlein (3-3)
Heat 4 Result:
Lambert, Palm-Toft, Reade & Kerr (3-3)
Heat 5 Result:
Bjerre, Nicholls, Iversen & Worrall (4-2)
The sixth, seventh and eighth heats at the Norfolk Arena saw a fabulous fight-back from the Aces, with leading rider Matej Zagar starting the fight back in heat sixth, as the Slovenian showed his talents to take another win and remain unbeaten in the meeting. As the Belle Vue captain followed Zagar home in second, the Aces had recorded their first 5-1 of the night and reduced the margin of the Stars to two points. With heat seven ending all square, victory for Richie Worrall kept momentum with the Aces, who levelled the tie at 24-24 in heat seven, after Ipswich’s Scott Nicholls showed the ability he has had for many of years.
Heat 6 Result:
Zagar, Cook, Schlein & Lambert (1-5)
Heat 7 Result:
Worrall, Porsing, Rose & Nielsen (3-3)
Heat 8 Result:
Nicholls, Lambert, Palm-Toft & Schlein (2-4)
With eight heats completed and the scores tied at 24-24, the ninth heat was a huge turning point in the meeting. With the reserve riders coming out for their second race against one another, Lewis Rose and Lewis Kerr were looking to overhaul Belle Vue’s riders Nielsen and Reade, in a repeat of heat two. As Rose gated ahead of the rest, he was joined at the front by team mate Kerr, sending the Stars to a 5-1 and breaking the Aces momentum, after they had been slightly in control since heat six.
Heat 9 Result:
Rose, Kerr, Reade & Nielsen (5-1)
Moving four points clear of the Aces just before the interval, heat ten saw the advantage for the stars increase even further, as riders 1-2 for the stars destroyed the experienced Scott Nicholls and Belle Vue Captain Craig Cook. The move of the match was on the final lap, with Niels-Kristian Iversen passing Scott Nicholls exiting turn four on the race to the line. Throughout the heat, Nicholls looked quick and pressured race leader Nicklas Porsing, but the speed and determination of Iversen excited the crowd, giving the Stars a seven point advantage going into the interval.
Heat 10 Result:
Porsing, Iversen, Nicholls & Cook (5-1)
When the riders returned after the interval, momentum continued to swing in favour of the Kings Lynn Stars, as Captain Rory Schlein produced a captain’s performance to lead a third 5-1 in a row. This victory alongside Kenneth Bjerre pushed the Stars to a twelve point advantage with four heats remaining, after beating a strong Belle Vue partnership that included Matej Zagar and Craig Cook.
Heat 11 Result:
Schlein, Bjerre, Worrall & Cook (5-1)
With heats twelve and thirteen ending in two 3-3, with victories to Belle Vue riders, with the strong at 45-33, victory was all but secured for the Kings Lynn Stars, but three results of 5-1 for Belle Vue could have levelled the tie at 48-48, but a likely result would have been Belle Vue collecting a point from the meeting.
Heat 12 Result:
Palm-Toft, Porsing, Kerr & Reade (3-3)
Heat 13 Result:
Zagar, Iversen, Bjerre & Cook (3-3)
The fourteenth heat though secured all three points for the Stars, as fifteen year old Robert Lambert took control of the heat to win by a country mile. Securing a 4-2 ahead of Richie Worrall and Kings Lynn team mate Lewis Rose, the result put the score at 49-35 and now out of the reach of the Aces. Collecting all three points was a major boost for the Kings Lynn Stars in their chase for the play-offs and the 2014 Elite League title. The fifteenth and final heat of the night saw Danish pairing Niels-Kristian Iversen and Kenneth Bjerre; take on the Belle Vue partnership of Matej Zagar and Scott Nicholls. With Belle Vue looking to end the meeting on a high, Zagar backed up his performances from earlier in the night to record yet another win, ahead of the Danish Duo. Unfortunately for Scott Nicholls, his night ended with a last on his return to riding in East Anglia.
Heat 14 Result:
Lambert, Worrall, Rose & Reade (4-2)
Heat 15 Result:
Zagar, Bjerre, Iversen & Nicholls (3-3)
After fifteen competitive heats at the Norfolk Arena, the final scores for the two teams ended as follows:
Kings Lynn Stars = 52
Kenneth Bjerre = 11+2
Niels-Kristian Iversen = 8+2
Nicklas Porsing = 8+1
Robert Lambert = 8
Lewis Rose = 7+2
Lewis Kerr = 6+2
Rory Schlein = 4
Belle Vue Aces = 38
Matej Zagar = 12
Scott Nicholls = 7+1
Michael Palm Toft = 6
Richie Worrall = 6
Craig Cook = 4+1
Ben Reade = 2+1
Stefan Nielsen = 1
With Kings Lynn Stars and Belle Vue Aces now completing four matches, their attention now turns to their next fixtures, which sees the Stars travel to the Brummies in Birmingham on the 18th April, whilst Belle Vue are at home against Wolverhampton Wolves, who have World Champion Tai Woffinden in their line up. Before the two teams compete in their next fixtures, the 2014 Elite League Speedway table looked as follows as of the 17th April:
More pictures from this meeting at the Norfolk Arena can be found on our Flickr page here.
Written and Produced by Chris Collier and Cheryl Closs