Former World Champion joining Stars

The 2021 World Champion Artem Laguta is joining Lynn as arguably the biggest signing in the MacInnes Stars’ history.

Laguta, who defeated Bartosz Zmarzlik in a dramatic head-to-head for the title two years ago, has never previously raced in the British League.

But he has now chosen to make his debut in the Sports Insure Premiership with the Stars, with his first appearance to come on Thursday, subject to written international clearance, when they host Sheffield on what is set to be a massive night at the Adrian Flux Arena.

Artem Laguta
Artem Laguta

And Laguta will not be the only new face in the team for that meeting, with a second change required in order to comply with the points limit.

The Stars are therefore also delighted to welcome 24-year-old Australian racer Kye Thomson, who rides for Edinburgh in the Championship and will be stepping up to the top league for the first time.

Departing the club is Polish star Krzysztof Kasprzak, who performed strongly at the Adrian Flux Arena this season but struggled to replicate that form away from home.

And the Stars have also taken club captain Josh Pickering out of their current one-to-seven although they have stressed he remains very much part of their plans for the remainder of the season.

Team manager Alex Brady said: “Artem is the biggest signing in our modern history, and I’m delighted to be able to bring him over.

“He’s a rider I’ve tracked for a long time, and I think every promoter and manager in the country would say they’d love to have him in their team.

“To bring him to Lynn is massive, and I have to give a big thank you to Nigel Leahy for helping with the visa, Tai Woffinden for making the introduction, and the backing of the rest of the promotion to help make it happen, as well as Plymouth promoter Mark Phillips.

“I’d spoken to Artem’s manager briefly in April. At the time he wasn’t keen, but when I went to Warsaw for the GP recently I flew back with Tai and he said things might be changing slightly and Artem could be interested again, and he put the introduction in for me.

“Artem texted me on the Sunday evening after the Warsaw GP, I negotiated with him and his manager Rafal (Lewicki), and we managed to strike a deal when I flew out to watch the Grudziadz v Wroclaw meeting the week after.

“I’d been to see Rafal and his workshop in the morning, and we actually struck the deal after the meeting in the back of Artem’s van!

“They’ve been a pleasure to deal with, they’ve done things the right way and now I can’t wait for Thursday to see Artem racing at Lynn.”

Brady is also pleased to be able to hand Thomson a debut in the Sports Insure Premiership, and has explained the reasoning behind the team changes.

He said: “Kye is actually somebody who we nearly made a move for last season, but he didn’t have the correct visa at the time, so this has been almost a year in the making.

“We did look at various options from abroad but we felt with Kye being based in the UK and having all his equipment here, this was the right move and we’re looking forward to welcoming him into the team.

“KK has been brilliant for us at home, but unfortunately away from home it’s not been working out, and we’ve been getting too many drubbings on the road to be competitive for the aggregate points.

“It’s not a case of closing the door on Josh – he’s our captain for a reason, he’s a massive leader in the pits, and once he’s ready to go and back in form, he’ll be back in our team.”