Youthful team for Stars

KING'S Lynn Stars will go into next season with four riders aged 21 or under after announcing the signings of two highly-rated youngsters at last night's fans' forum at the Norfolk Arena.

KING'S Lynn Stars will go into next season with four riders aged 21 or under after announcing the signings of two highly-rated youngsters at last night's fans' forum at the Norfolk Arena.

Having lost the services of teenage Australian sensation Darcy Ward to Elite League outfit Poole Pirates, promoter Buster Chapman has attempted to fill the gap by recruiting another rising star in the shape of 18-year-old Englishman Joe Haines.

Chapman has also brought in 21-year-old Danish rider Kasper Wortman, formerly of Mildenhall Fen Tigers, as a reserve - and with Kozza Smith (21) and Linus Eklof (20) both retained from last season's treble winning line-up there will certainly be a youthful core to Stars' squad for next term.

But with Tomas Topinka also staying put, and asset Kevin Doolan having returned to the fold following a season at Workington, there is also some experience in there as well, and Chapman is convinced he has put together a unit more than capable of challenging for more silverware.


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“I am very happy with the team as it stands,” said the Stars promoter, who will be adding another reserve rider to his line-up in the next couple of weeks. “We had to work with a team average of 42.5 and all things considered I don't think we could have done any better with the riders we have brought in.

“With Tomas Topinka you know exactly what you are going to get but all the other lads are well capable of improving their averages and that is what we will be looking for from them. I think it's a good mixture of youth and experience and I am already excited about the new season.

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“We have won the treble but we have had to change our side around and now there's another challenge in front of us, trying to win trophies with a different set of riders.

“It's a shame we have had to say goodbye to some good riders, who have done an excellent job for King's Lynn, but that's speedway. We are very grateful for their efforts but we have to move on.”

Stars have retained three of last season's triumphant line-up - Topinka, Smith and Eklof - with Chris Schramm, Emiliano Sanchez and Jan Graversen following Ward through the exit door.

Stars fans will know all about one of the replacements, with Doolan already having spent four seasons at the Norfolk Arena - while Haines will also be a familiar figure to most speedway aficionados.

Standing just 5 ft 4in tall, the former British Under-15 champion, who hails from Bolton, rode for Rye House Rockets and Wolverhampton Wolves in the Elite League last season.

He first came to prominence at Scunthorpe in 2007, helping the Lincolnshire side to the Conference KO Cup and Conference Trophy, while he also shone in the colours of Workington Comets in 2008, winning the Premier League Fours competition.

“Joe is a good young English rider, who has always impressed whenever I have seen him in action, and we are delighted he has agreed to join us,” said Chapman. “He is still very young and I'm sure he will fulfil his full potential here at King's Lynn.”

Wortman has spent the last couple of years rebuilding his career after suffering serious internal injuries, including a broken pelvis, while riding at Mildenhall against Birmingham in April 2007. Now back to full fitness, he has turned in some impressive performances in his homeland and has been rewarded with a chance to shine in the Premier League with Lynn.

King's Lynn 2010 line-up: Tomas Topinka, Kevin Doolan, Kozza Smith, Joe Haines, Linus Eklof, Kasper Wortman plus one other.

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