PIRATES sealed a priceless win at King’s Lynn in an enormously controversial affair in which the Stars’ track took centre stage – for the wrong reasons.

A 52-40 victory for Neil Middleditch’s side was a mere sideshow to the main play, which saw no fewer than 10 retirements and a break of more than half an hour mid-meeting to carry out repairs to the circuit, rumoured to be overly grippy.

It is understood the home riders were unhappy with the condition of the surface and the Stars’ Chris Holder twice missed the two-minute time allowance – although the reasons for this were unconfirmed.

A eventful meeting also saw King’s Lynn number one Troy Batchelor withdraw from the action due to injury, while Stars team boss Dale Allitt was taken ill and ended the night in hospital.

Two retirements in the opening three races – for Krzysztof Kasprzak and Paul Starke – set the tone.

Hans Andersen stopped the rot for Pirates in heat four, helped out by the retirement of Chris Holder, with reserve James Shanes crossing the line in second to cut to 13-11 the Stars’ advantage.

A second retirement for Kasprzak did not help matters but Middleditch’s men got a stroke of luck when Thomas Jorgensen’s fall gave them a 4-2 in heat six, a race in which Stars earlier been on course for a maximum.

A double dose of fortune aided Poole’s cause in heat seven. First Chris Holder exceeded the two-minute time allowance and was replaced by reserve Simon Lambert. Then Lewis Rose blasted through the tapes and was hit with a 15m handicap.

Worrall and Jack Holder subsequently secured a maximum and Pirates led for the first time.

Heat eight was shared before Kai Huckenbeck and Robert Lambert failed to arrive at the tapes for the next race and following a delay of more than half an hour during which referee Darren Hartley ventured to the pits, talks were held between various parties and work was undertaken on the track, the action resumed.

Rose and Simon Lambert stood in for Huckenbeck and Robert Lambert but Andersen and Starke did the business for the visitors, extending to six points the lead.

Batchelor then withdrew and was replaced by Huckenbeck in heat 10, a 5-1 from Worrall and Starke strengthening Poole’s position further.

Kasprzak blunted Chris Holder’s tactical although the Stars man got the better of brother Jack Holder following a tremendous duel, before heat 12 was shared.

There was a second win on the spin for Kasprzak next time out in a heat in which Chris Holder again missed the two minutes, the result putting Poole out of sight.

The penultimate contest was shared but it scarcely mattered, before Huckenbeck won the final showdown ahead of Andersen.

Poole’s four-point haul ensured they jumped back above the Stars in the SGB Premiership table, following defeat to their rivals the previous night.


KING’S LYNN 40: 1 Troy Batchelor (3-2) 5, 2 Thomas Jorgensen (1-fx-3-0-1) 5, 3 Kai Huckenbeck (1-1-1-3-3) 9, 4 Robert Lambert (3-3-1-3) 10, 5 Chris Holder (r-4^) 4, 6 Lewis Rose (3-r-1-0-r) 4, 7 Simon Lambert (1-1-1-r-r-r) 3.

PIRATES 52: 1 Krzysztof Kasprzak (r-r-3-3-r) 6, 2 Jack Holder (2-2-2*-2-1) 9+1, 3 Nicolai Klindt r/r, 4 Richie Worrall (2-3-3-1*) 9+1, 5 Hans Andersen (3-1-3-2*-2) 11+1, 6 Paul Starke (2-r-3-2*-2*-1*-2) 12+3, 7 James Shanes (0-2*-1*-2) 5+2.

HT 1: Batchelor, J Holder, Jorgensen, Kasprzak (ret) (4-2)

HT 2: Rose, Starke, S Lambert, Shanes (8-4)

HT 3: R Lambert, Worrall, Huckenbeck, Starke (ret) (12-6)

HT 4: Andersen, Shanes, S Lambert, C Holder (ret) (13-11)

HT 5: R Lambert, J Holder, Huckenbeck, Kasprzak (ret) (17-13)

HT 6 (awarded): Starke, Batchelor, Andersen, Jorgensen (fell/dsq) (19-17)

HT 7: Worrall, J Holder, S Lambert, Rose (ret), C Holder (two mins/dsq) (20-22)

HT 8: Jorgensen, J Holder, Shanes, S Lambert (ret) (23-25)

HT 9: Andersen, Starke, Rose, S Lambert (ret), Huckenbeck (two mins/dsq), R Lambert (two mins/dsq) (24-30)

HT 10: Worrall, Starke, Huckenbeck, Jorgensen (25-35)

HT 11: Kasprzak, C Holder (tactical), J Holder, Rose (29-39)

HT 12: Huckenbeck, Shanes, Starke, S Lambert (ret) (32-42)

HT 13: Kasprzak, Andersen, R Lambert, C Holder (two mins/dsq) (33-47)

HT 14: R Lambert, Starke, Worrall, Rose (ret) (36-50)

HT 15: Huckenbeck, Andersen, Jorgensen, Kasprzak (ret) (40-52)


Hard to judge riders on a farcical night but Richie Worrall deserves credit for getting the job done.

Poole’s new signing racked up two race wins on his way to a score of nine paid 10 at the Adrian Flux Arena – and there were not many who did better. 

Paul Starke appeared to enjoy his seven rides, totalling 12 paid 15, but this was a meeting where riders’ scores will not live long in the memory.

The ramifications of what occurred in Norfolk could have far-reaching effects. We are not likely to have heard the last of this unusual episode.