Staechmann: ‘We should be winning at home’

PETERBOROUGH bosses have been left with much to consider – after slipping to a third home defeat out of four this season in an extraordinary match against Belle Vue.

PETERBOROUGH bosses have been left with much to consider – after slipping to a third home defeat out of four this season in an extraordinary match against Belle Vue.

The Aces snatched a 47-45 win from a dramatic last-heat decider with reserve Kauko Nieminen overcoming a 15-metre handicap to get the better of Linus Sundstrom for the vital third place.

Manager Jan Staechmann said: “From a rider’s perspective, you don’t lose on purpose and everyone knows that pay is performance-based, so if you don’t score any points you don’t get paid.

“But at the end of the day, this is a business for the promotion, and we should be winning at home, so it’s not good enough. Being 12 points down after three heats at home was mesmerising in itself, but we pulled it back and looking at the programme I don’t think there’s a lot I could have done differently.

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“I could have put Norbert on a double in Heat 5 when he was on the inside, but he came off in that race so we would have been back to square one.

“The track was the same for both sides, but I think it was the major culprit in our defeat tonight. Having said that, Belle Vue rode it well and we gave too many silly points away.

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“Everyone has had a fair crack of the whip and there have been a lot of improvements, but there have also been a few non-improvements, and we’ll have to see what we can come up with.”

Sundstrom had earlier won three races for the Readypower Panthers, who fought back strongly after making the worst possible start to the meeting.

Incredibly, they conceded maximum points in each of the first three races to go 3-15 down, yet their comeback following Heat 4 was strong.

Between Heats 5 and 10 Panthers clawed their way back level, helped by a tactical ride win from skipper Kenneth Bjerre in Heat 6 – and with the Aces’ challenge appearing to subside after a crash for Artur Mroczka in the first running of that race, the home side looked set to go on and take maximum points from the meeting.

The scores were locked at 31-31 after Heat 10 although Panthers would already have been in control but for falls for Norbert Kosciuch and Dakota North when holding 5-1 positions.

However, the Aces regained momentum in the closing stages with Matej Zagar outstanding and former Panther Ales Dryml continuing to play a key role.

Heats 11 to 14 were all shared, with the latter two producing some truly stunning action. Zagar sliced between Bjerre and Kenni Larsen to win Heat 13 in breathtaking style, whilst Heat 14 provided a succession of overtaking moves with all four riders in contention throughout – but a crucial on-the-line verdict for Kevin Wolbert in third place ahead of Patrick Hougaard maintained a level scoreline.

The last race was set with Zagar to go off the outside gate, but that all changed when team-mate Nieminen suffered mechanical problems and was penalised 15-metres, sending Zagar across into gate two.

It didn’t affect the Slovenian though, who first dispatched Sundstrom wide into the first corner and then generated speed to dive inside Larsen going into the third bend.

That looked like enough to secure a drawn match, but it got even better for the visitors as Nieminen mounted a remarkable comeback from the handicap, and by holding a tight inside line he made it inside Sundstrom on the third lap – and for the Panthers, there was no coming back.

PETERBOROUGH 45: Kenni Larsen 11, Kenneth Bjerre 10+2, Linus Sundstrom 10, Ryan Fisher 7, Dakota North 3+1, Norbert Kosciuch 2+1, Patrick Hougaard 2+1.

BELLE VUE 47: Ales Dryml 13+2, Matej Zagar 12, Kauko Nieminen 10+1, Kevin Wolbert 8+2, Magnus Zetterstrom 4+1, Artur Mroczka 0, Craig Cook r/r.

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