Panthers’play-off hopes dashed with Sundstrom and Sullivan injuries


PETERBOROUGH’S play-off hopes now hang in the balance after a 26-point defeat at Belle Vue on Monday.

And they have fresh injury worries after Ryan Sullivan withdrew with a suspected broken wrist after his opening ride – and to complete a night of woe Linus Sundstrom sustained a shoulder injury after crashing heavily in Heat 15.

Sullivan tangled with Aces’ Rory Schlein in Heat 1 and must be considered a major doubt for what is now a make-or-break meeting at Coventry on Wednesday.

The Readypower Panthers must get at least a draw at Brandon to book their place in next week’s play-offs semi-finals – and will probably have to do it without their Number 1.

With the early loss of Sullivan it was always going to be a tough task on the tricky Kirkmanshulme Lane track and that was proven as the Aces got off to a rapid start – incredibly going 27-9 ahead after six races.

Sundstrom then went out in Heat 7 as a tactical ride in an attempt to reduce the deficit, but he could only finish second behind home man Artur Mroczka – with Michael Jepsen Jensen third – and the resulting 5-3 could only pull the scoreline back to 30-14.

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A Belle Vue 4-2 followed in Heat 8 and then Panthers reserve Tomas H Jonasson was excluded whilst comfortably leading Heat 9. In the re-run the Aces took full-advantage of the visitors misfortune bagging another 5-1.

Jepsen Jensen had an identical return from his double-point ride in Heat 10 where he followed home Schlein. With Sundstrom third, the ensuring 5-3 made it 42-22 on the night leaving the Panthers still well-adrift.

The Aces fired in another maximum in Heat 11, but Peterborough did salvage a little bit of pride with Jepsen Jensen and Richard Lawson racing to a 4-2 in Heat 12.

A home 5-1 was the result of Heat 13 and to complete an evening of misery Sundstrom fell heavily in Heat 15 after clipping the back wheel of Belle Vue’s Mark Lemon.

With the paramedics still attending to the stricken Swede in the pits and with the time curfew looming, the decision was taken to abandon the meeting one race short of completion. The result will stand leaving the Panthers needing a positive result at Coventry on Wednesday to stay in the title hunt.

Panthers co-boss Jan Staechmann said: “It was a huge blow losing Ryan like that and then Linus at the end – we just don’t seem to be having any luck at the moment.

“It sounds like Ryan has broken his wrist in three places and Linus was going to the hospital of his own freewill on the way home to get his shoulder fully-checked out. Hopefully that will reveal some better news.

“We now face a very tough task at Coventry on Wednesday as we’re going to be missing a few of our regular guys, but we’ll keep going right until the end.

“Admittedly it is an uphill struggle now, but we’ll re-group and try and win the meeting.”

BELLE VUE 57: Mark Lemon 12+2, Artur Mroczka 12, Renat Gafurov 8+2, Rory Schlein 8+1, Patrick Hougaard 7+1, Ales Dryml 6+1, Josh Grajczonek 5+3.

PETERBOROUGH 31: Linus Sundstrom 11+1, Michael Jepsen Jensen 8+1, Tomas H Jonasson 5+1, Richard Lawson 4, Norbert Kosciuch 2, Krzysztof Buczkowski 1, Ryan Sullivan 0.

Abandoned after 14 heats – Result stands

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