A dramatic final heat 5-1 win confirmed a Knockout Cup final place for King’s Lynn in a thrilling meeting at home to Swindon on Monday, reports Chris Milsom.
The Tru Plant Stars overcame a six-point first leg deficit to gain a 93-87 aggregate success but it all came down to the final race of the night at the Adrian Flux Arena.
With the match finely poised at 88-86 in the Stars’ favour going into the final race, home captain and talisman Robert Lambert was involved in a huge crash.
He spent time in the medical room before recovering to take his place at the starting gate.
Undaunted by his tumble, Lambert roared to victory, completing another home maximum (14+1). Erik Riss (12+3) took second place, ahead of pantomime villain Troy Batchelor, much to the delight of the Adrian Flux Arena faithful.
The reserve pairing of Michael Palm-Toft (12+1) and newly-wed Simon Lambert (7+1) chipped in with some crucial points to complete a 51-39 victory on the night.
The win did come at a cost though with Niels-Kristian Iversen withdrawing after his second ride following a heavy fall that left him nursing a right knee injury.
Stars boss Dale Allitt said: “It may have been a bit closer than we’d have ideally liked but, when you think it wasn’t all plain sailing, we’ll take it.
“We were again without Ty Proctor and lost Niels in heat 7 so that makes this even more impressive.
“Niels put his weight on the bike after his crash and it wasn’t right, so we had to go with injury rider replacement for the remainder of the night.
“We’ve still got a lot of matches to go and we need Niels fully fit for those.
“It got a bit nervy towards the end and it was a really bad crash with Robert in heat 15.
“I’m not completely convinced that there wasn’t a little bit to it and I think we were a little bit harshly done to that we ended up with all four back for the re-run.
“But Robert got himself up with a knock and a completely destroyed bike and epitomised the whole team spirit once again; we don’t give up, we don’t lie down and roll over, we fight until the very end.
“We’re already in the play-offs, now we’re in the Knockout Cup Final – what a fantastic season we’re having.”
Stars v Swindon: R Lambert 14+1, Riss 12+3, Jorgensen 4+2,
Proctor (rider replacement),
Iversen 2+1 (withdrawn),
Palm Toft 12+1, S Lambert 7+1.