Saturday June 03, 2017
CAPTAIN Danny King and No.1 Kim Nilsson raced to a sensational last-heat 5-1 to give Leicester a dramatic 45-45 draw with Poole at Beaumont Park.

The Watling JCB Lions’ top two knew nothing less than maximum points in the decider would do for the depleted home side to take some reward from a compelling SGB Premiership contest.

Facing Pirates skipper Hans Andersen, who had dropped just one point all evening, and recent recruit Grzegorz Zengota, Nilsson and King made perfect starts from gates one and three but then had to hold off a major challenge from their opponents to ensure the Lions made their point.

The result was nothing more than the home side deserved, going into the meeting without four members of their regular septet.

The Pirates had raced to a clear win on their previous visit to the East Midlands but this match was much closer, with both sides unable to hold on to four-point leads – and the Lions twice recovered that deficit in a match which saw first Nilsson and then Rory Schlein lower the track record at the re-shaped circuit.

The home side made the first move when guest reserves Mark Riss and Jack Smith combined for a stunning 5-1 over ex-Lions skipper Nicolai Klindt in Heat 2, but this was cancelled out by an unlucky start to the meeting for the injured Jason Garrity’s stand-in Josh Grajczonek.

The Australian failed to finish either of his first two rides, and when Nilsson suffered his one blip of the evening in Heat 6, Andersen and Klindt took advantage to put Poole 20-16 up.

King responded with a terrific effort to reel in and pass Rory Schlein at the start of the last lap of Heat 7, and the Lions enjoyed some rare fortune in the next race when second-placed Klindt ground to a halt enabling Riss to partner a revitalised Lasse Bjerre to a match-levelling 5-1.

Three 4-2s in the next four races gave the Pirates the advantage once more, with Klindt proving a potent reserve and taking his maximum quota of seven rides.

Lions trailed 34-38 going into a hotly-contested Heat 13, where Nilsson and King were split on the first half-lap by Andersen, with Nilsson riding strongly to prevent the Dane from going from third to first.

Poole had their chance to wrap up the meeting in Heat 14 and briefly held a 5-1 position before Grajczonek crucially got the better of Schlein for second place.

That left Nilsson and King with the task of a 5-1 in the finale to save the match – and thankfully on this occasion, they were able to achieve just that.

King said: “I knew it was so important to gate in Heat 15, I made a little adjustment to the clutch because I thought it was a bit aggressive, and it worked so I’m really pleased.

“We should have won, I really believe that. Josh was so unlucky, he was worth far more than he got, but unfortunately he had bike trouble and a crash.

“It’s just one of those things that happens in speedway, but it seems to always happen to Leicester!

“We were missing Batesey (Josh Bates) at reserve and he always scores a hatful, but it’s nice to come away with something rather than nothing. We need to push on from this, and hopefully it can lift the boys and we can come to the next home meeting with more confidence.”

Lions return to action with another Saturday night home match next week (June 10) when Somerset provide the opposition.

LEICESTER 45: Kim Nilsson 12+1, Danny King 11, Lasse Bjerre 10, Mark Riss 5+1, Josh Grajczonek 5, Jack Smith 2+1, Erik Riss r/r.
POOLE 45: Nicolai Klindt 12+1, Hans Andersen 10+1, Rory Schlein 8, Grzegorz Zengota 7, Kyle Newman 6+2, James Shanes 2, Jack Holder r/r.

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