A Hard Day’s Night - Panthers 47 Poole 46
Friday August 11, 2020
Sky Sports Elite League B
Thursday 10th August 2006

Two riders absent and a 12 point deficit to make up after heat 7, Panthers certainly had their work cut out for them. But they showed that they can pull together when it counts and secured a narrow victory over the Poole Pirates.

For some riders it wasn’t just a case of a tiring meeting. It had been a long, tiring day. Polish Under 21 Champion Karol Zabik’s day should have begun with a morning flight to England but like many he was affected by the security threat to the UK which grounded flights. He eventually boarded a plane after 3.30pm and made it to the meeting in the nick of time.

Meanwhile Panthers’ number four Niels Kristian Iversen found himself stranded in Denmark where he had raced the previous night. Both the morning and afternoon flights he was booked on were cancelled and the four hour drive from his home in Esbjerg to Copenhagen airport proved fruitless.

According to the rulebook Iversen was deemed as not arriving at the meeting. Meaning that Panthers were only able to book a six point Premier League rider as a replacement. James Cockle got the call at 4pm and Trevor Swales urged the fans to get behind him.

And in heat 3 things looked promising with Cockle making a fairly good gate and holding onto second for a while (although he eventually slipped back to last place). There was plenty happening out front in that race though with Ryan Sullivan determined to beat Poole’s Krzysztof Kasprzak. And a last bend blast ensured that he did.

Panthers still found themselves with plenty of work to do, however, as two successive 4-2’s to Poole put the visitors in front by eight points after heat 5. Captain Hans Andersen suffered a rare defeat at the hands of Kasprzak in heat 6 with Ulrich Ostergaard finishing third to share the race.

The home side then slipped a further four points behind as Poole recorded a 5-1 over Richard Hall and Zabik (who suffered engine problems some of the night). Worryingly for the Panthers fans the score line was Peterborough 15 Poole 27.

And it was after that race that it began to get a little heated in the pits. Cockle, who had been receiving medical treatment after his first race, withdrew from the meeting and a debate ensued whether or not a reserve could replace him in his remaining heats or whether Panthers would be forced to field just one rider.

The Panthers management stuck to their guns and Richard Hall joined Ostergaard in heat 8 with Zabik switching his ride to heat 9 to cover for Cockle.

And what an astute move that proved to be. In heat 8 Ostergaard gated and led the race (to the delight of the fans who have witnessed the Dane struggle at the number two berth) while Hall did it all from the back. He found the drive round the outside and sped past the Poole riders - and Ostergaard - to take the heat win and earn Panthers a much-needed 5-1. It also helped to earn him the Man of the Match award.

Poole answered back with a 4-2 in the following race but that actually worked in Panthers’ favour as the 10 point gap meant a double tactical could be used. There were very few people in the stadium who were surprised to see Andersen lining up at the tapes in heat 10 wearing the black and white helmet colour.

But there were a few surprised - and pleased- faces when Ostergaard held onto second place behind the Skipper to give Panthers a maximum 8-1 and to make the scores Panthers 30 Poole 33.

From then on there was no stopping Panthers as they recorded a 3-3 and a 5-1 which put them in the lead for the first time that night and clinched the bonus. Sullivan followed up that race victory in heat 12 with an exciting ride in heat 13 to earn a valuable third place point and a Panthers 4-2.

The penultimate race of the night was a five-lapper with Hall winning by a country mile and Zabik retiring at the back with bike problems. Which set things up for a last heat decider with Panthers on 45 and Poole on 42 points.

Panthers won the toss for gate positions and things looked promising but it was the Poole duo that made the start and went on to a 4-2 heat advantage. But Andersen had done just enough by finishing second to ensure Panthers won the meeting by one point.

So what was the secret to Panthers’ heat 8 fight back? Well it was down to a pep talk from the team manager. Although the exact details of the conversation weren’t disclosed it was clear that the team was given a kick where it was needed.

Report by Sarah Tooze

Peterborough Panthers = 47 (103)

1. Hans Andersen 3, 2, 6!, 3, 3, 2 = 19
2. Ulrich Ostergaard 0, 0, 1', 2', 2' = 5+3
3. Ryan Sullivan 3, 2, 0, 3, 1, 0 = 9
4. James Cockle 0 = Withdrawn
5. Jesper B Jensen R/R
6. Richard Hall 1, 0, 3, 0, 3 = 7
7. Karol Zabik 0, 2, 0, 1, 2, 2', R = 7+1

Poole 'RIAS' Pirates = 46 (82)

1. Bjarne Pedersen 2, 1, 3, 1', 2, 3 = 12+1
2. Craig Boyce 1', 3, 1, 2, 0 = 7+1
3. Krzysztof Kasprzak 2, 3, 2', 0, 1 = 8+1
4. Greg Walasek 1', 3, 3, 1, 1, 2 = 11+1
5. Antonio Lindback R/R
6. Jonas Davidsson 3, 0, 1, 0 = 4
7. Matthew Wethers 2', 1, 0, 0 = 3+1

Panthers won the toss and chose gates 1 & 3

Heat Results

Heat 01: Andersen, Pedersen, Boyce, Ostergaard 3-3 62.1
Heat 02: Davidsson, Wethers, Hall, Zabik 1-5 4-8 63.0
Heat 03: Re-run Sullivan, Kasprzak, Walasek, Cockle 3-3 7-11 62.2
Heat 04: Kasprzak, Zabik, Wethers, Ostergaard 2-4 9-15 62.1
Heat 05: Boyce, Sullivan, Pedersen, Zabik 2-4 11-19 62.0
Heat 06: Walasek, Andersen, Ostergaard, Davidsson 3-3 14-22 61.8
Heat 07: Walasek, Kasprzak, Zabik, Hall 1-5 15-27 61.0
Heat 08: Hall, Ostergaard, Boyce, Wethers 5-1 20-28 62.8
Heat 09: Pedersen, Zabik, Davidsson, Sullivan 2-4 22-32 61.7
Heat 10: Andersen (TR), Ostergaard, Walasek, Kasprzak 8-1 30-33 61.8
Heat 11: Andersen, Boyce, Pedersen, Hall 3-3 33-36 61.9
Heat 12: Sullivan, Zabik, Kasprzak, Davidsson 5-1 38-37 62.6
Heat 13: Andersen, Pedersen, Sullivan, Boyce 4-2 42-39
Heat 14: Hall, Walasek, Wethers, Zabik ef 3-3 45-42
Heat 15: Pedersen, Andersen, Walasek, Sullivan 2-4 47-46 62.7

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