Panthers give themselves massive boost with Poole thrashing

PETERBOROUGH gave their season a massive kick-start with a 59-34 thumping of Poole at the Showground on Thursday evening.

PETERBOROUGH gave their season a massive kick-start with a 59-34 thumping of Poole at the Showground on Thursday evening.

In what was the Readypower Panthers’ best display of the campaign by a distance, two riders went through the card unbeaten and there were a host of impressive displays.

Kenni Larsen, who has enjoyed a terrific start to his career with the club, put everything together throughout the meeting to reel off five wins for a fully deserved 15-point full house.

And there was a stunning return to form for reserve Patrick Hougaard, who provided the lower-order strength expected when he signed for the club and more besides, as he too was unbeaten by an opponent from five outings.

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It was the perfect response to recent results from the Panthers, for whom Nicolai Klindt made a solid debut at No.2, yet early in proceedings it looked like they were set for another close call.

Poole riders won four of the first six races in a meeting run at breakneck speed due to the threat of adverse weather, and visiting guest Chris Harris looked especially impressive.

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But Hougaard lit the blue touch-paper with a stunning blast around World Champion Chris Holder in Heat 7 to follow Larsen home, Holder pulling up with electrical problems before he could respond.

That was the first of a devastating burst of four 5-1s – Panthers remarkably securing maximum advantages in seven of the final nine races as the Pirates collapsed in the second half of the meeting.

Ryan Fisher was next to take to the outside to get the better of Maciej Janowski in Heat 9, and another highlight came from Larsen and Hougaard in Heat 11 with Hougaard riding superbly under pressure from Harris to block the visitor’s tactical ride.

Holder was more successful when going for double, taking the full six points in Heat 12, but Fisher and Dakota North both battled their way past Kyle Howarth to prevent any late pressure.

And from there the Panthers went into overdrive, a clear 5-1 from Larsen and Kenneth Bjerre in Heat 13 leaving Harris trailing, with an exciting Heat 14 seeing Sundstrom and Hougaard both pass lively Poole guest Alex Davies, who deserved more than his three points for his efforts.

Hougaard received the traditional bumps for completing his full house, and Larsen joined him shortly after with his Heat 15 win, whilst Bjerre supplied the perfect finale by moving inside first Harris and then Holder to end the meeting on a massive high.

Panthers boss Jan Staechmann said: “It’s easy to say now, but we knew what the guys were capable of and tonight it all came together.

“I’m so pleased for Patrick and for Kenni, the two maximum men, and I felt all the boys did really well. It was almost the Kenneth of old, it was certainly the Linus of old, I’m chuffed with them all.

“Patrick had had some good meetings in Sweden and Denmark this past week, he got 14 points in Sweden and was only beaten by Darcy Ward before his crash in Gothenburg, so they’re all coming good and it was just a question of time.

“I would like to thank the club’s promotion for sticking with the team the way it was, obviously we did have to make a change and I’m equally sure Nicolai will come good for us.

“Everybody was struggling, Norbi (Norbert Kosciuch) in particular, and things weren’t coming together for him. He was the first to admit that and was half-expecting the call when I had to make it, but I still don’t like making those kind of calls!”

READYPOWER PANTHERS 59: Kenni Larsen 15, Patrick Hougaard 13+2, Kenneth Bjerre 9+4, Linus Sundstrom 7+3, Ryan Fisher 7, Nicolai Klindt 6+1, Dakota North 2+1.

POOLE 34: Chris Holder 10, Chris Harris 8, Maciej Janowski 5+1, Rohan Tungate 3+1, Dawid Stachyra 3, Alex Davies 3, Kyle Howarth 2.

PETERBOROUGH continue their Elite League programme with a trip to inconsistent Lakeside on Friday (8pm).

The Hammers have experienced a wide variety of results this week with a crushing 33-57 defeat at Coventry on Monday but then a shock 48-45 win at Poole 48-hours later.

The tricky Purfleet venue has not always been a happy hunting ground for the Panthers in the past but they do have riders this season who are confident around smaller tracks, and boss Jan Staechmann says there will be a positive attitude from an unchanged line-up.

Staechmann said: “We have a team that can win at Lakeside, and we’re certainly not going there to try to minimise our losses – we’re going there to try and see if we can win!”

LAKESIDE: Peter Karlsson, Kim Nilsson, Lewis Bridger, Piotr Swiderski, Davey Watt, Richard Lawson, Robert Mear.

PETERBOROUGH: Kenneth Bjerre, Nicolai Klindt, Ryan Fisher, Linus Sundstrom, Kenni Larsen, Patrick Hougaard, Dakota North.

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