Thursday June 01, 2023
KING’S Lynn suffered more pain at the hands of Sheffield with a hefty 59-31 defeat at the Adrian Flux Arena on Thursday.

The debut of new MacInnes Stars No.1 Artem Laguta was overshadowed by a hugely impressive fast-gating performance from the Tigers, who yet again showed their liking for the Norfolk circuit.

Incredibly the visitors opened the Sports Insure Premiership meeting with four 5-1s in the first five races, and the only Stars rider to beat an opponent in that time was their other newcomer Kye Thomson, who rode strongly for second place in Heat 2.

But with Laguta squeezed out in the opener and former Stars man Lewis Kerr showing devastating form in each of Heats 1, 3 and 5, the home side quickly found themselves with a mountain to climb – not helped by a spectacular fall for skipper Frederik Jakobsen, who lifted alarmingly on the second lap of Heat 3 and came to grief.

The Stars did hit the front in Heat 6 as Laguta and Thomas Jorgensen gated on a 5-1, only for Jack Holder to pull off a sensational ride, first passing Jorgensen and then reeling in Laguta before coming through on the last lap.

But there was finally something for the big home crowd to cheer when Laguta took a tactical substitute ride in Heat 7 and teamed up with Michael Palm Toft for a 5-1 over Kyle Howarth and Adam Ellis.

Any thoughts of a comeback, though, were wrecked when Holder and Howarth took maximum points in Heat 9 – and although Laguta and Jorgensen scored a 5-1 of their own in Heat 10, the Tigers re-built their lead to 18 points in the next as Kerr completed a fifth unbeaten ride, backed up by team-mate Tobiasz Musielak.

Jakobsen provided some respite with a fast start to win Heat 12 but the super-impressive Holder made it four out of four in the next race and Musielak slipped inside Laguta at the end of the first lap to maintain his own unbeaten record.

And the Stars’ night was summed up by Heat 14 when guest Nick Morris held a clear lead but suffered mechanical failure at the end of the second lap, enabling Ellis to go through for the win.

The Tigers piled on the agony in Heat 15 with another 5-1 as Musielak teamed up with Ellis and completed his own paid maximum, with Laguta running out of room on the back straight.

Team boss Alex Brady said: “We started terribly. The track tonight was what six of the boys had asked for, the starts were grippier and it’s really disappointing from my perspective that we couldn’t make the starts.

“The track was fast and we just couldn’t make ground up. Overall it was a really, really disappointing night and I’m sorry to everyone who came because it’s not the way it should have gone.

“Sheffield had some outstanding performances and a couple of maximums which I don’t feel an away rider should ever be doing around King’s Lynn, but we weren’t good enough either, and for me personally it’s a long look in the mirror this weekend about where we go from here.

“Artem struggled a bit in his first one and slightly got the set-up wrong. He came on stronger as the night went on, but he’ll adjust and he’ll get better.

“I do think we saw glimpses of what he’s all about - he’s disappointed with his overall score but it wasn’t too bad a performance.

“I think a big shout to Kye for his four points. That was very encouraging and hopefully he can build on that next week.”

The MacInnes Stars will be looking for far better when they host Belle Vue at the Adrian Flux Arena next Thursday (June 8).

KING’S LYNN 31: Artem Laguta 9+1, Thomas Jorgensen 5+2, Frederik Jakobsen 5, Michael Palm Toft 5, Kye Thomson 4, Nick Morris 2, Jason Edwards 1+1.
SHEFFIELD 59: Tobiasz Musielak 13+2, Lewis Kerr 13+2, Jack Holder 12, Kyle Howarth 11+2, Adam Ellis 8+3, Dan Gilkes 2, David Bellego r/r.
Sheffield win aggregate point

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