Panthers see off Pirates again

PETERBOROUGH became the first team to defeat top-of-the-table Poole for a second time this season – and boosted their play-off drive.

PETERBOROUGH became the first team to defeat top-of-the-table Poole for a second time this season – and boosted their play-off drive.

Kenneth Bjerre, beaten only once in five rides, spearheaded a nail-biting 49-44 win over the Pirates which saw the Readypower Panthers edge to within a point of third-placed Lakeside.

It was a vital win that not only preserved Peterborough’s unbeaten home record but also kept them two points ahead of fifth-placed Belle Vue with four matches in hand.

And it could so easily have been a three-point home win as Poole only salvaged a point thanks to a six-point race win from British Grand Prix champion Chris Holder taking a double points scoring tactical ride in Heat 11 and an unscheduled break in the action.

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The real turning point was nothing that happened on the track – but instead an off-the-track accident which saw skipper Niels-Kristian Iversen’s chief mechanic Ray Blackwell rushed to hospital.

He was running back to the pits from his van with a new engine for Iversen to use in his last race when he stumbled and the motor landed on his thumb, completely shattering the bones.

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He was detained in Peterborough District Hospital overnight and will be operated on as soon as surgeons are sure the horrific injury has been thoroughly cleansed.

The meeting was held up for around 20 minutes while Ray received urgent medical attention and that was enough time for the Panthers to lose momentum as the track dried out and became far slicker during the break.

Team boss Trevor Swales said: “We had Poole on the run and the break couldn’t have come at a worse time because Poole relished the slicker track. Of course that was of secondary importance weighed up against making sure Ray had the very best treatment.”

Panthers had been ten up but when racing resumed Poole claimed a 7-2, reducing the deficit to five points and the match eventually hinged on the last, frenetic race.

Peterborough needed a 5-1 to secure all three points – but a similar scoreline to the visitors would have given them a valuable win and destroyed the Panthers unbeaten home record.

Kenneth Bjerre made sure the result was never in doubt and even though partner Rory Schlein was rarely more than a couple of bike lengths away from second place he couldn’t pass top-scorer Holder.

In another terrific and dramatic clash between the two sides it was an armchair thriller for Sky Sports fans watching the action live from the East of England Showground.

Hero Bjerre said: “It was vital that we won and even though we were disappointed not to take all three points Poole’s defeat will be disappointing for our play-off rivals who must have been hoping we would drop big points.”

PETERBOROUGH (Kenneth Bjerre 14, Rory Schlein 8:1, Niels-Kristian Iversen 8:1, Troy Batchelor 8, Norbert Kosciuch 5:4, Krzysztof Buczkowski 4, Matheiu Tresarrieu 2).

POOLE 44 (Chris Holder 14, Darcy Ward 12, Bjarne Pedersen 9, Davey Watt 6, Artur Mroczka 3:2, Leon Madsen 1, Jason Doyle 0).

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