Panthers Are Aces Of The Pack
Thursday June 22, 2020
Panthers 55 Belle Vue 39
Elite League
Thursday 22nd June 2006

New boy Karol Zabik showed exactly why he is so highly rated as he scorched to four races wins on a night when Panthers defeated title contenders Belle Vue by 16 points.

It was a different story when the teams met at the start of the season at the East of England Showground; Panthers managed only a narrow 46-44 win over the Aces.

But the track has resumed its 1999 title ‘Fortress Alwalton’ and it looks like it will take something special for a team to get the better of Panthers at home.

Captain Hans Andersen was, in his own words, “on a mission” to bring defeat to current Grand Prix series leader Jason Crump. And he managed to do just that on two occasions.

In Heat 4 he stepped in for the injured Jesper B Jensen to face Crump for the first time that night. But instead of a battle between the two top riders the crowd witnessed an Andersen tapes-to-flag victory whilst Zabik made sure Crump had to fight for second spot.

The next time Andersen and Crump met, victory went the way of the Australian but Andersen gave it his all, breathing down Crump’s neck to the finish line.

Heat 13 was Andersen’s last outing of the night and he went home knowing that he had managed another comfortable win over Crump. It also ensured that Panthers stayed 14 points ahead.

For Ryan Sullivan, heat 13 was something of a disappointment as he finished last after four flawless rides. And that included an important victory in heat 9.

With former team mate Crump lined up at the tapes wearing the black and white helmet colour the pressure was on for Sullivan to beat his fellow countryman.

But it wasn’t just Sullivan feeling the nerves. Number four Niels Kristian Iversen jumped the start causing a re-run.

When the race got underway at the second time of asking Crump made the gate and was leading only to find both Sullivan and Iversen forcing their way through on the third bend.

But Crump wasn’t happy to settle for third place, he chased Iversen down and edged forcibly past him.

By then Sullivan was away and the Aces salvaged only a 4-4 shared heat from their double points ride.

Their second attempt at double points faired slightly better in heat 11 as Kenneth Bjerre slotted in behind Iversen for four points and Joe Screen finished third ahead of Richard Hall. But the score line was still in Panthers’ favour (42-28).

By heat 14 it was all about the bonus point with Aces defending a nine-point lead from the first leg in Manchester.

But Iversen and star man Zabik sowed it up for Panthers with a 5-1 heat win from the tapes.

Now Panthers must continue their success on the road when they face Eastbourne away. Billy Hamill and Todd Wiltshire are booked as guests for Andersen and Iversen who are on Grand Prix duty. But the real test will be how well the team continues to cover for Jensen using the rider replacement facility.

Report by Sarah Tooze

1.Hans Andersen 3,3,2,3,3, = 14
2.Ulrich Ostergaard 0,1*,2*,0, = 3+2
3.Ryan Sullivan 3,3,3,3,0, = 12
4.Niels Kristian Iversen 2*,1,1,3,2*,2, = 11+2
5.Jesper B Jensen r/r
6.Richard Hall 2*,0,0, = 2+1
7.Karol Zabik 3,1,3,3,0,3,E.F, = 13

1.Kenneth Bjerre 2,2,4^,1*,1 = 10+1
2.Joe Screen 1*,0,E.f,1*, = 2+2
3.Simon Stead 1,2,2,2, = 7
4.James Wright 0,1*,1*,1, = 3+2
5.Jason Crump 2,3,4^,2,3, = 14
6.Phil Morris 1,0,0,1,0,1*,0, = 3+1
7.Tom P Madsen 0, = 0

Heat details
Heat 1.Andersen,Bjeere,Screen,Ostergaard 3-3
Heat 2.Zabik,Hall,Morris,Madsen 5-1 (8-4)
Heat 3.Sullivan,Iversen,Stead,Wright 5-1 (13-5)
Heat 4.Andersen,Crump,Zabik,Madsen 4-2 (17-7)
Heat 5.Sullivan,Bjeere,Iversen,Screen 4-2 (21-9)
Heat 6.Crump,Andersen,Ostergaard,Morris 3-3 (24-12)
Heat 7.Zabik,Stead,Wright,Hall 3-3 (27-15)
Heat 8.Zabik,Ostergaard,Morris,Screen E.F 5-1 (32-16)
Heat 9. Sullivan,Crump,Iversen,Morris 4-4 (36-20)
Heat 10.Hans,Stead,Wright,Ostergaard 3-3 (39-23)
Heat 11.Iversen,Bjeere,Screen,Hall 3-5 (42-28)
Heat 12.Sullivan,Stead,Morris,Zabik 3-3 (45-31)
Heat 13. Hans,Crump,Bjeere,Sullivan 3-3 (48-34)
Heat 14. Zabik,Iversen,Wright,Morris 5-1 (53-35)
Heat15.Crump,Iversen,Bjeere,Zabik E.F 2-4 (55-39)

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