Slow start continues as Aces trump Panthers

Belle Vue 54 Peterborough 39

PETERBOROUGH’S slow start to the season continued with a 54-39 defeat at Belle Vue on Monday.

The Readypower Panthers were well beaten on the night by the fast-starting Aces and left Manchester with just four race winners to their name.

There were some highlights with winter loan recruit Kenni Larsen again showing some decent form on his way to 10+1, and Linus Sundstrom came good in the second-half of the meeting to score 8+1, but overall it was a disappointing performance leaving them with plenty to reflect on before their next meeting.

Belle Vue look a rejuvenated team this year after struggling in recent seasons and continued their bright start to the new campaign by racing into an 18-6 lead after four heats.

The outside gate had provided all the early race winners and Panthers skipper Kenneth Bjerre took advantage of his start position in Heat 5 when his tactical ride win ahead of Craig Cook and Magnus Zetterstrom resulted in six-points.

Matej Zagar and Kevin Wolbert then replied with a home 4-2 in Heat 6 to put them 25-14 ahead and they retained their eleven-point advantage with Heats 7 and 8 both shared.

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Peterborough gave their travelling supporters hope of a mid-meeting fightback when Patrick Hougaard finally found the winning touch when taking the chequered flag in Heat 9 and team-mate Larsen joined him at the front for an impressive 5-1 over Cook and Zetterstrom.

But their comeback hopes were very short-lived as the Aces responded in style with three successive maximums – in the process relegating Hougaard to last place in Heat 12 whilst going for double-points - and the match was comfortably won with three races to spare.

Larsen and Sundstrom did salvage some late pride with a 5-1 in Heat 15 against Artur Mroczka and Wolbert, but it was too little too late and Panthers now need to bounce back in next week’s return match against the Aces (Friday April 26).

BELLE VUE 54: Matej Zagar 11+1, Artur Mroczka 10, Kevin Wolbert 9+1, Craig Cook 8+1, Magnus Zetterstrom 6+2, Kauko Nieminen 6+2, Ales Dryml 4+1.

READYPOWER PANTHERS 39: Kenni Larsen 10+1, Linus Sundstrom 8+1, Kenneth Bjerre 8+1, Dakota North 6+2, Ryan Fisher 3+1, Patrick Hougaard 3, Norbert Kosciuch 1+1.