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Kings Lynn Stars v Edinburgh Monarchs

REPORT Wednesday 25th March 2009, 10:00pm

by Mike Hunter

Even with a 10-point start we offered a poor challenge to the home side, largly due to machine problems, in our opening match at King's Lynn.

It's hard to remember a night when we had more problems. There were six occurences of the letter E in our scorechart, and even that doesn't tell the full story as neither Matthew Wethers nor Aaron Summers ever shook off the effects of their machine problems.

The home side will have been very happy. They had two unbeaten riders, one of these being Tomas Topinka even though he looked a bit lethargic at times.

Chris Schramm gated superbly and recorded a paid max, and most impressive of all really was Darcy Ward who was riding in his first match at Premier level and looked tremendous. A couple of falls through over-enthusiasm kept his score down.

If he adapts as well to the smaller circuits, then the Aussies will have another world-class prospect on their hands.

The idea of the ten point start was a bit of a waste of time. Instead of treating it as a 10-point first leg win, it was built in to the second leg and therefore prevented us using TRs as early as we otherwise would have. Presumably that also means that if we had stayed 10 up till heat 4, King's Lynn could have used a TR!

Right from the first heat we hit problems. With Schramm in front, Ryan Fisher and Aaron Summers seemed settled with Topinka behind them. However after a couple of laps Fisher stopped, and with this encouragement Topinka fairly easily picked off Summers.

Sean Stoddart didn't leave the line in heat 2 and although Michal Rajkowski kept in touch, he could find no way through against the home reserves.

At last we achieved something in heat 3. Thomas went ahead from the favourable gate 1, with Andrew behind him, only for Graversen to fall in the path of partner Christan Henry.

Thomas led the rerun and this time Tully had to come from the back in a good ride to pass Christian.

Matthew Wethers looked good in heat 4 - for a couple of laps. He led with Sanchez and Ward snapping at his heels, but ground to a halt with apparently a serious blow up of his new engine.

Next disappointment was Aaron Summers failing to leave the start in heat 6, but this time Fisher passed Henry for a race win. Ward came galloping through late in the heat and almost caught Fisher.

Matthew Wethers was ruled out of heat 6 while he sorted out his machine, replaced by Sean Stoddart who actually made the start. However the others were past him by the second bend as we lost another 5-1.

Even with the 10-point start we were now behind.

The Jonasson-Tully pair looked our best bet but they lost heat 7, won by Sanchez. Tully put Graversen under pressure but failed to pass.

Our Polish reserve at last made a start in heat 8 and led down the back straight, but he stopped entering the next bend, and this truly was becoming tiresome on a chilly night.

We managed to share heat 9, simply because Darcy Ward seemed to be trying to break the track record and fell while well ahead. Christian Henry, not really impressive, still managed to take a win.

Heat 10 was a good one. Thomas had the unfavourable gate 4 against Schramm and Topinka, but he managed to race round the outside of Topinka. He held second up to the final turn but rashly tried to sweep round Schramm, leaving the gate open for Topinka who slipped into second place.

We then had a little flurry of success. Ryan came out on a TR as we had at last managed to get 20 behind on the 'true' score, and he led from Sanchez. There was no backup as Summers dropped out again. Sanchez fell on the third corner of lap two, and after announcing that there would be a rerun, ref Entwhistle mercifully decided to award us a 6-2.

Darcy Ward fell challenging Thomas H Jonasson in heat 12, and with Rajkowski ahead of Henry we took the 5-1. It was remarkable how quickly Ward cleared the track after what was quite a heavy fall, and this was appreciated by all.

Heat 13 was an embarrassingly easy home 5-1, even Fisher blown away, and a win for Sanchez in heat 14 ensured that King's Lynn won the silverware they had lined up for the occasion. Andrew Tully put in one of his exciting chases but to no avail.

Topinka made the gate in heat 15 with Fisher second, but he couldn't even hang on to this consolation as Schramm forced through on the last bend to complete his paid maximum. It looked as though Ryan may have had another machine problem.

So we were well beaten. In 2008 we have only one or two 'nights to forget' but we have certainly started 2009 with one.