Hougaard in terrible crash as Panthers lose to Aces

PETERBOROUGH’S Patrick Hougaard was taken to hospital after a frightening Heat 4 crash in Monday’s 49-41 defeat at Belle Vue.

PETERBOROUGH’S Patrick Hougaard was taken to hospital after a frightening Heat 4 crash in Monday’s 49-41 defeat at Belle Vue.

The Danish rider had been a convincing winner of his first outing on his old home circuit but clipped the back wheel of team-mate Kenni Larsen in his next when the Readypower Panthers looked set for a 5-1, and fell heavily.

Hougaard suffered concussion in the accident but had regained consciousness before being taken away from the track, and although he is set to be kept in hospital overnight the indications are that he has thankfully escaped with no broken bones.

Without Hougaard, it meant a bumper seven-ride schedule for fellow reserve Dakota North, who certainly didn’t disappoint and picked up three wins on his way to a paid-13 haul.

But the need to cover Hougaard’s remaining rides with North meant Panthers were unable to make other substitutions during the meeting as several of their middle-order struggled, and that ultimately cost them the chance of breaking their 2013 away duck.

Despite the setback of losing Hougaard, Panthers kept the meeting close and only trailed by four points after Heat 9, thanks to a stunning double of race-wins from North in Heats 7 and 8, backed up by Larsen in the ninth.

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But Matej Zagar and Ales Dryml combined for the only 5-1 of the night for the Aces in Heat 10, and a 4-2 two races later extended their lead to ten – just at the point at which a tactical ride was no longer an option for the visitors.

North won again in Heat 14 and Linus Sundstrom, who rode through the pain barrier after a crash in Austria on Saturday, snatched third place from Kevin Wolbert to give Panthers a shot at grabbing a point from the meeting in the last race.

To do that, they needed someone to get the better of the unbeaten Matej Zagar, and Panthers skipper Kenneth Bjerre was the man to do that – but Larsen was kept at the back by the Slovenian and Craig Cook, and ended up overdoing it on the fourth bend and coming to grief, meaning the Aces still managed the 3-3 they required.

Panthers co-promoter Trevor Swales said: “It’s a big relief that nothing is broken for Patrick, although clearly with concussion it means we will have to look at booking a guest for the home match with Eastbourne on Friday.

“It was a horrible crash and I really feel if that hadn’t happened, we would certainly have got something from the meeting, and quite possibly won it because Patrick looked to be riding so well.

“Dak was outstanding and overall it was a better away performance from us, but we still had too many last places and that’s a concern.”

BELLE VUE 49: Matej Zagar 13+1, Craig Cook 11+1, Ales Dryml 9+2, Kauko Nieminen 7+1, Kevin Wolbert 4+1, Magnus Zetterstrom 3, Artur Mroczka 2+1.

PETERBOROUGH 41: Dakota North 12+1, Kenneth Bjerre 12, Kenni Larsen 8+1, Patrick Hougaard 3, Ryan Fisher 3, Linus Sundstrom 3, Nicolai Klindt 0.

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