Lions take a big leap to securing play-off place
Leicester Lions took a giant step to booking their place in the Premier League play-offs with a convincing 54-42 victory over Workington Comets at Beaumont Park last night.
In doing so, they created a special piece of history by winning all 12 of their home league fixtures in a season, the first-ever Leicester speedway team to achieve the feat.
It was also the Elliott-sponsored Lions' biggest victory of the present campaign and, significantly, it came against one of their nearest play-off contenders.
The home side started lightning fast, and built up a 15-3 lead after three races.
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Jan Graversen won heat four, for a 3-3, and it wasn't until the next race that Workington got their first win through their No.1 Richard Lawson.
A Magnus Karlsson and Kauko Nieminen one-two then made it 25-11 before the visitors pulled back slightly thanks to a tactical double-point ride from Rene Bach.
There were nothing going to stop the Lions, though, and they rattled up even more points over the next three heats to open up a 40-23 lead.
Lawson closed the gap with a double-point ride, but the meeting victory was guaranteed in heat 12 when Lasse Bjerre held off Bach to take the chequered flag.
Lions lost two of the last three heats 5-1, although sandwiched in between was a 5-1 of their own, thanks to Linus Eklof and Jari Makinen.
Promoter David Hemsley, who was team manager for the night, must have been delighted with the response he received from his riders.
Six of the seven all won heats and the one who didn't, reserve Lewis Blackbird, returned his best tally for the team this season, 5+2.
Permanent manager Glyn Taylor was fully employed with track duties, his assistant being away on holiday, and will no doubt be looking forward to taking charge once again for the final three fixtures of the season proper.
All are testing meetings away from home, at Redcar, Workington and Edinburgh.
Leicester Lions 54: Kauko Nieminen 7+1, Magnus Karlsson 12+1, Lasse Bjerre 9, Linus Eklof 8+1, Jan Graversen 5, Jari Makinen 8+2, Lewis Blackbird 5+2.
Workington Comets 42: Richard Lawson 14+1, Tero Aarnio 3, Rene Bach 14, Kenny Ingalls, rider-replacement, Rohan Tungate (guest) 7+1, Ashley Morris 1, Carl Wilkinson (guest) 2.
Saturday's Premier League meeting at Derwent Park between Workington Comets and Leicester Lions was rained off.