LEICESTER kept up their excellent run with a second away win of the Sports Insure Premiership season, edging out King’s Lynn 47-43 at the Adrian Flux Arena.

The Watling JCB Lions are now seven points clear of fifth-placed Ipswich in the table, with a match in hand on the Witches, as they took another big step towards the play-offs.

Lions were taken down to a last heat decider in Norfolk, where Nick Morris and Max Fricke secured the points required with a 3-3, although it was a meeting they should probably have won with a degree more comfort.

That was partially down to some misfortune and also down to a stunning performance from Stars skipper Nicolai Klindt, who fell in Heat 1 and then dropped just one point from his remaining six rides.

Home No.1 Artem Laguta, meanwhile, was unbeaten from his first four outings but was then withdrawn after clash with Leicester captain Chris Harris.

The Lions, for their part, were the more solid outfit and always looked likely winners despite only having six race winners to the Stars’ nine.

Their increased strength at reserve played a big factor with Jake Allen and Drew Kemp both taking important race wins, as they outscored the home side in that department 10-6 despite having fewer outings.

The home side had a big slice of fortune in the very first race when Klindt came down whilst Fricke and Justin Sedgmen held a clear 5-1 for the Lions, and with the result surprisingly not awarded, Laguta took his second chance for the home side and won the re-run for a 3-3.

There was a trading of 4-2s in the next two races with Harris losing out to Thomas Jorgensen on the line for third place in Heat 3, but the Lions did make the first big mover as Kemp and Morris combined for an excellent 5-1 in the next.

Another 5-1 looked set to follow in Heat 5 only for Klindt and Jorgensen to both make their way past Sedgmen, but the Lions did go eight clear with maximum points in Heat 7 as Harris and Richard Lawson fended off the challenge of Kye Thomson.

Over the next three races, though, the Stars levelled the scores with 4-2s in Heats 8 and 9 and then a 5-1 in Heat 10 which initially had looked to be going the Lions’ way.

Lawson had the lead ahead of a battle between Harris and Jorgensen, and after the Dane took second place Laguta looked to follow him through with Harris coming down at the start of the third lap.

The Lions skipper was disqualified and with the race again being re-run, Laguta and Jorgensen banked maximum points to make it 30-30 – but it turned out to be Laguta’s final ride as he had picked up an ankle injury when he was clipped by Harris.

Fricke and Sedgmen raced to a 5-1 in Heat 11 to put the Lions back ahead, and Morris and Fricke did likewise in Heat 13 with the Stars short-handed without Laguta.

However, there was one more twist to come as Klindt took a tactical substitute ride and won Heat 14 with Jorgensen going from fourth to second to complete a 5-1, whilst the hard-charging Harris came down again on the last bend.

That meant the meeting still had to be won in Heat 15 with the Lions 44-40 up, and although they had no answer to the flying Klindt, Morris and Fricke did enough to keep Jorgensen at the back and complete a hard-earned victory.

Manager Stewart Dickson said: “We got the away win, even though we had one or two riders who weren’t quite on it, and it’s all about cementing our place in the top four.

“I’ve got to give a special mention to Nick Morris, it was great to see him showing some form away from home and he looked a lot more comfortable on the bike tonight.

“We got ten points at reserve again, and Drew was involved in a big 5-1 in Heat 4 just like last Thursday against Brady Kurtz, so that’s certainly helped us.

“But it’s a seven-man effort and I’m very pleased overall. I know they lost Laguta but at the same time they wouldn’t have got a tactical in Heat 14 had he not been withdrawn.”

The Lions are back in away action on Thursday when they travel to Sheffield, and they host the Premiership Pairs at the Pidcock Motorcycles Arena, Beaumont Park on June 29.

KING’S LYNN 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 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.

Photo credit: DEREK LEADER

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