Peterborough Panthers team chief Carl Johnson blasted referee Paul Carrington after seeing his side’s losing start to the season continue today (April 3).
The city team were beaten 53-39 at Ipswich to complete a hat-trick of Southern Group defeats in the Premier League Cup competition.
Johnson was unhappy with the way a number of incidents during the course of the Foxhall clash were handled by the official.
Home rider Danny King demolished the tapes in the opening race, but was allowed to take his place in the re-run which he won on his way to a 12-point maximum.
Referee Carrington deemed the damage had been done by the chest of the rider rather than his bike, which would have led to an exclusion and either racing off a 15-metre handicap or being replaced by a reserve.
Carrington also failed to exclude any of the three riders – Panthers’ Lewis Blackbird, Ipswich man Rohan Tungate and their reserve guest Luke Bowen – who fell independently in the opening couple of corners of heat 11.
Instead, he allowed all of them to contest the re-run when Panthers felt all three should have been thrown out with their other representative – Michael Palm Toft – completing the re-run alone.
And Carrington then allowed heat 15 to continue despite the green light not coming on when the tapes went up.
As a result Panthers captain Ulrich Ostergaard remained motionless at the start with the race continuing without him.
The silver lining on that particular cloud was a second success of the day for Palm Toft, who delivered by far his best performance as a Panthers ride to date.
The Dane, who had earlier collected his first win for the club in heat eight, finished with a haul of 10+1 points.
That was only bettered by guest Jason Garrity whose contribution of 11 did include a second place worth double points when deployed on a tactical ride in heat five.
Johnson said: “Everyone in the stadium saw Danny go straight through the tapes in the first race and he even admitted as much himself.
“I’m sorry but there is absolutely no way he has hit them with his chest unless he was limbo dancing.
“Not excluding anyone in heat 11 was quite simply farcical. There has to be a cause of a stoppage.
“The right thing to do would have been to exclude all three men who came down and leave Michael to go round for a 3-0 in the re-run.
“That would have left us just five points down with four races to go and our tails would have really been up. We would have been in with a shout of getting something from the meeting.
“And to top it off the green light didn’t come on in heat 15. One of the home riders verified that was the case but the referee just let the race carry on without Ulrich.
“Rules are rules and referees need to stick to them.”
The opening heat fiasco, along with a Garrity crash on the final bend of heat three, was a contributory factor in a nightmare Panthers start as they conceded 5-1s in the opening three races to fall 12 points adrift.
But they improved from then on as they only conceded three further heat advantages during the remainder of the contest.
Ostergaard stormed to success in a 4-2 in heat four before a hectic fifth race resulted in a 5-3 with the double-points chasing Garrity taking second after a titanic scrap with home pair Cameron Heeps and Gino Manzares, who fell later in the race.
Garrity was then the beneficary of more questionable refereeing when appearing to get a flying start to a seventh heat he won.
Palm Toft’s first triumph for the club inspired a 4-2 in heat eight before Panthers briefly held a 5-1 in heat 10 only for home star King to work his way past both Garrity and Lewis Blackbird.
Their fate was eventually sealed when Ostergaard and Palm Toft were on the receiving end of a 5-1 in heat 13 and a further 4-2 for the hosts stretched their cushion to 14 points in the penultimate race.
Johnson added: “The poor start cost us but the boys dug in very well from then on.
“Ipswich are a strong team and many people’s idea of Premier League champions, but we gave them a good run for their money despite those decisions going against us.”
An evening return clash at the East of England Showground was postponed after heavy rain. Panthers are back in action on Easter Monday (April 6) with a 2pm revenge mission at Rye House.
The Hertfordshire club have taken control of the Southern Group with a hat-trick of wins, including a 51-40 success at the Showground last Friday (March 27).
IPSWICH: Danny King 12 (max), Rohan Tungate 10+2, Cameron Heeps 10+1, Gino Manzares 9+1, Nico Covatti 7+2, Luke Bowen (guest) 5+1, Rider replacement for Ritchie Hawkins.
PANTHERS: Jason Garrity (guest) 11, Michael Palm Toft 10+1, Ulrich Ostergaard 9, Lewis Blackbird 5+2, Simon Lambert 4+1, Ollie Greenwood 0, Rider replacement for Olly Allen.
1 – re-run King (57.8), Covatti, Ostergaard, Palm Toft (ret). 5-1, 5-1.
2 - Bowen (59.8), Covatti, Lambert, Greenwood. 5-1, 10-2.
3 - Manzares (59.0), Heeps, Blackbird, Garrity (fell). 5-1, 15-3.
4: Ostergaard (59.3), Tungate, Lambert, Covatti. 2-4, 17-7.
5 - Heeps (58.7), Garrity (t/r), Palm Toft, Manzares (fell). 3-5, 20-12.
6 – re-run King (57.3), Ostergaard, Bowen, Greenwood. 4-2, 24-14.
7 - Garrity (58.7), Tungate, Bowen, Blackbird. 3-3, 27-17.
8 - Palm Toft (60.3), Heeps, Lambert, Covatti. 2-4, 29-21.
9 - Ostergaard (59.3), Heeps, Manzares, Greenwood. 3-3, 32-24.
10 - King (59.4), Garrity, Blackbird, Bowen. 3-3, 35-27.
11 – re-run Tungate (60.1), Palm Toft, Blackbird, Bowen. 3-3, 38-30.
12 - Manzares (59.4), Garrity, Lambert, Covatti. 3-3, 41-33.
13 - King (58.2), Tungate, Palm Toft, Ostergaard. 5-1, 46-34.
14 - Covatti (59.8), Blackbird, Heeps, Lambert. 4-2, 50-36.
15 - Palm Toft (59.3), Manzares, Tungate, Ostergaard (ret). 3-3, 53-39.