Stars edged out in last-heat decider as Laguta picks up injury

King’s Lynn were edged out 47-43 at home by Leicester on Monday as the visitors triumphed in a last-heat decider.

Skipper Nicolai Klindt and Artem Laguta picked up nine race wins between them, but Laguta was withdrawn with an ankle injury after an incident with Chris Harris in Heat 10.

And despite the MacInnes Stars refusing to throw in the towel and taking it all the way to Heat 15, the battling Thomas Jorgensen was frustrated by Nick Morris and Max Fricke as the Lions took the points.

Artem Laguta had to be withdrawn with an ankle injury during Monday night's home defeat by the Leicester Lions
Artem Laguta had to be withdrawn with an ankle injury during Monday night’s home defeat by the Leicester Lions

Klindt said: “I felt we had what it would take to win tonight, but unfortunately Artem got injured, Erik wasn’t what we expected and also Kye found it tough after being our match-winner on Thursday.

“But I think we can be proud of ourselves, we weren’t giving up, we were fighting and it was great to have the support around the stadium.

“Again, last week the track guys worked very hard on the track and it only got better tonight, so I’m looking forward to the next home meeting.”

There was no shortage of effort in the Stars’ camp, and Klindt was outstanding after a fall in Heat 1 as he only dropped one more point from his remaining six rides.

Jorgensen snatched third place from Harris in Heat 3 to level the scores in the early stages, before the Lions went ahead again with a 5-1 from Morris and Drew Kemp in Heat 4.

Klindt and Jorgensen both battled their way past Justin Sedgmen to share Heat 5, and Laguta showed his class to blast past Morris in the next, but the visitors’ advantage opened up to eight points with another 5-1 in Heat 7.

The Stars hit back strongly with Laguta clearing Sedgmen early in Heat 8 whilst Jason Edwards took a good third place over Kemp, and Jorgensen made a last-lap pass on Jake Allen for third place in Heat 9 with Klindt out-front.

Heat 10 was a big turning point and initially it looked to be in the Stars’ favour as Jorgensen and Laguta both overhauled Harris, with the Lions captain coming to grief at the start of lap three having just been passed by Laguta.

However, in doing so, Harris made contact with Laguta’s ankle and although the Lynn No.1 was able to take his place in the re-run and partner Jorgensen to an excellent 5-1 over Richard Lawson, he took no further part thereafter.

Leicester took advantage, and after a 5-1 in Heat 11 from Sedgmen and Fricke, they appeared to wrap things up two races later when Morris and Fricke took the maximum over guest Erik Riss and Kye Thomson.

But the Stars set up a grandstand finale with Klindt taking a tactical substitute ride in Heat 14 and winning whilst Jorgensen produced a brilliant first lap to get the better of Harris and Kemp to make it 40-44.

Sadly, with a repeat performance required in Heat 15, Jorgensen this time found Morris and Fricke closing ranks in second and third places behind Fricke as Lynn fell just short.

Next up for the MacInnes Stars is a trip to Wolverhampton next Monday (June 26).

Lynn Stars 43: Nicolai Klindt 17, Artem Laguta 12, Thomas Jorgensen 7+3, Kye Thomson 4, Jason Edwards 2, Erik Riss 1, Michael Palm Toft r/r.

Leicester Lions 47: Max Fricke 11+2, Nick Morris 11+1, Richard Lawson 8, Justin Sedgmen 5+2, Jake Allen 5+2, Drew Kemp 5, Chris Harris 2+1.