Hands off our Stars warns Chapman
PUBLISHED: 13:04 03 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:15 04 March 2010
KING'S Lynn co-promoter Jonathan Chapman has issued a 'hands off' warning to the big boys tracking the club's young guns ahead of tonight's Premier League clash against Sheffield at the Norfolk Arena (7.
KING'S Lynn co-promoter Jonathan Chapman has issued a 'hands off' warning to the big boys tracking the club's young guns ahead of tonight's Premier League clash against Sheffield at the Norfolk Arena (7.45pm).
Darcy Ward and Linus Eklof embellished their growing reputations with big points scoring hauls for their respective countries earlier this week in a World U21 Team qualifier in Germany.
Eklof's 'paid 12' return helped Sweden qualify for September's final in Poland while Ward top scored for Australia with a perfect five ride display.
Both have also reached the individual World U21 semis later this month but Chapman insists neither are in a hurry to showcase their talents at Elite League level.
"We've already got Elite clubs knocking on the door," said Chapman. "We would love them to go and get some guest bookings for the experience and maybe at the end of the season there's a decision that has to be made. It could be a case we say that it's time they went Elite or possibly stay at Premier League level for another year. That's something both parties would have to sit down and discuss.
"It's great for the club to have two of the hottest U21 prospects racing at the highest level for their country and gives us some extra exposure as well. It is so hard to find one rider from outside the UK who can come in and hit the ground running. To do it with two is almost unheard of. Glasgow brought in a highly rated Swede who they've now dropped. You need a little bit of luck but we have done quite well down the years so maybe at King's Lynn we have the midas touch."
Eklof followed up his solid Saddlebow debut in the KO Cup quarter-final, first leg win over Berwick with another impressive outing in the Stars' 58-32 Premier League victory against Redcar last time out.
"I think Linus already feels at home here," said Chapman. "It's just little things like getting his photo and name banner up in his pits area. We do that for all the riders and we even take them away from home. When we get to a track and set everything up we look like the home team. It must make the opposition stop and think and we get no end of riders coming up to us saying if we need a guest or whatever just let them know. Riders want to be a part of what we've got here at King's Lynn."
Chapman admitted Redcar's Ty Proctor is now on the club's guest list should Lynn need to draft in outside reinforcements later this season after his paid 16 heroics last week.
"We'll certainly keep him in mind if we had to bring someone in," said Chapman. "That was an awesome display. He beat Darcy twice but they both have a very similar style when they go wide in the dirt.
"Although we won I thought Redcar gave it a go. Gary Havelock had a great race with Darren Mallett and looking at the Sheffield team they have riders who can give us a test if they are on it. I'm not saying they could win but it could be another entertaining meeting."
Mallett is again on standby to deputise for Kozza Smith if the 21-year-old is ruled out through injury. Smith sat out his country's World Team Cup qualifier in Germany after damaging his hip on Elite League duty nine days ago.
King's Lynn Stars: 1 Darcy Ward, 2 Linus Eklof, 3 Emiliano Sanchez, 4 Chris Schramm, 5 Tomas Topinka, 6 Kozza Smith, 7 Jan Graversen.
Sheffield Tigers: 1 Ricky Ashworth, 2 Richie Hawkins, 3 Chris Mills, 4 Richard Hall, 5 Josh Auty, 6 Paul Cooper, 7 Joel Parsons.
Parade 7.30pm, first race 7.45pm.