Peterborough Panthers grab last-heat point at Birmingham


PETERBOROUGH collected another useful point on their travels at Perry Barr on Thursday – and but for a sluggish start, it could well have been much more.

The Readypower Panthers trailed 13-5 after three races having conceded maximum points in Heats 1 and 3, but they quickly rallied back and asked some serious questions of the hosts.

Jesper B Monberg revelled in his new role at reserve with an impressive double-figure score, and he launched the fightback by heading home Josh Auty and Sebastian Ulamek in Heat 4 for the first of six successive races to be won by visiting riders.

A lack of consistency amongst the Panthers prevented them from securing any 5-1s, although they were close in Heat 9 until Danny King split Monberg and Linus Sundstrom, but a series of 4-2s moved them back to within two points of Birmingham.

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The home side were boosted when Sebastian Ulamek held off the thrusting Kenneth Bjerre in Heat 11, but Olly Allen responded with a vital Heat 12 victory as he held his nerve around the outside to beat King and Auty.

The shared races followed with Bjerre taking revenge over Ulamek in Heat 13 but Sundstrom kept out by Pedersen, and it was Birmingham who made the next move forward when Barker shot from the start in Heat 14, and Auty salvaged third place from Michael Jepsen Jensen with Monberg riding a clever final bend to ensure second spot.

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That left the Panthers needing a 5-1 from Heat 15 to draw, and they had to avoid conceding the same result to make sure of a point – and in the event, both sides did take something from the meeting as Bjerre made a fast start from the inside to defeat Barker, with Pedersen third and Monberg at the back.

Monberg said: “We came back so well and it’s just a shame we couldn’t pull it off in the end. We could smell the win at one stage, but that’s speedway.

“We’re happy because we got a point but sad we didn’t win, so it’s mixed feelings. This was definitely my best meeting of the year so far, I had a bad one at Eastbourne, and I want to keep going like this now!”

BIRMINGHAM 47: Bjarne Pedersen 10+2, Ben Barker 10, Josh Auty 9+1, Sebastian Ulamek 8+1, Danny King 7+2, Martin Smolinski 3+2, Tomasz Piszcz 0.

PETERBOROUGH 43: Kenneth Bjerre 12, Jesper B Monberg 11, Olly Allen 7, Rene Bach 4+1, Michael Jepsen Jensen 4+1, Linus Sundstrom 4, Richard Lawson 1+1.

*PANTHERS race their second meeting in two days at Lakeside tonight (8pm) with in-form club asset Niels-Kristian Iversen deputising for Kenneth Bjerre.

Iversen comes in as his fellow countryman is away in preparation for this weekend’s Czech Republic Grand Prix, but the Panthers are otherwise unchanged against a Hammers side who started the season well but were beaten at home by Poole last week.

LAKESIDE: Peter Karlsson, Kauko Nieminen, Davey Watt, Kim Nilsson, Lee Richardson, Richie Worrall, Robert Mear.

PETERBOROUGH: Niels-Kristian Iversen, Rene Bach, Olly Allen, Michael Jepsen Jensen, Linus Sundstrom, Richard Lawson, Jesper B Monberg.

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