MEETING REPORT: Terrific road trip for city racers

Ashley Morris rode well for Panthers ar Berwick.

Ashley Morris rode well for Panthers ar Berwick.

2
Have your say

Away specialists Peterborough Panthers took a giant stride towards securing a Premier League play-off spot following another triumphant trip last night (August 13).

The city races swooped for a 50-40 success at Berwick to register a sixth road win of 2016 in all competitions. Five of those have arrived in the league with the latest victory being the third to be worth all four available league points.

Craig Cook was in typically excellent form for Panthers at Berwick.

Craig Cook was in typically excellent form for Panthers at Berwick.

It was inspired by double-figures displays from number one Craig Cook, Danish racer Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen and reserve Ashley Morris, and enabled Panthers to jump back into third spot in the second-tier standings.

And the significance of the win was not lost on boss Carl Johnson, who was able to celebrate for the first time since being put back in charge of team affairs.

“Berwick has been a happy hunting ground for us in the last two seasons, and that was the case again,” said Johnson.

“It was a very well deserved victory and a very important one as well. These four points are a big step towards nailing down our place in the play-offs although we still have work to do.

Emil Grondal claimed an important heat win for Panthers at Berwick.

Emil Grondal claimed an important heat win for Panthers at Berwick.

“Our away form has been terrific and no other team has picked up as many points as us on the road.

“The challenge for us now is to make sure we bring our home form up to scratch to complement what we are doing on our travels.”

The opening seven races last night ended in deadlock – a frustrating series of results for Panthers who provided five winners in that time but were let down by last places.

They eventually hit the front when Emil Grondal led home Morris for a tapes-to-flag 5-1 in heat eight. It was the victor’s only points-scoring ride of the night, but a hugely valuable one.

Panthers edged further clear when Busk Jakobsen and Tom Perry secured a 4-2 in a heat 10 re-run after Bandits rider Dawid Stachyra was excluded from the initial staging following a spill.

A further 5-1 from Morris (whose 11+1 haul was his best for the club) and Perry in heat 12 left them 10 points to the good and victory was secured when Cook worked his way through from last to first in a shared 13th heat.

Busk Jakobsen then inspired a 4-2 in the penultimate race with Morris back in third to seal all four league points.

Cook missed out on a maximum in the finale after winning his previous four races, but that did little to dampen the joy for Panthers.

Johnson added: “You’re always going to have a chance of winning a meeting when three riders are flying in the way Craig, Nikolaj and Ashley were.

“It was a good all-round performance with other guys also chipping in as well.

“I have to admit that I think it did us a favour that the Friday meeting (August 12) at Edinburgh was postponed.

“We were without Nikolaj there and would more than likely have been beaten, but rather than coming off the back of a defeat, we went into the Berwick clash full of confidence and the lads showed their character.”

Panthers now boast an eight-point cushion over the Workington side who sit directly below the play-off places.

The club’s next fixture is away at Newcastle next Sunday (August 21).

SCORES

BERWICK: Kevin Doolan 12, Thomas Jorgensen 7+2, Matthew Wethers 6+1, Theo Pijper 6, Danny Gappmaier 4+2, Liam Carr 4+1, Dawid Stachyra 1+1.

PANTHERS: Craig Cook 14, Ashley Morris 11+1, Nikolaj B Jakobsen 11, Ulrich Ostergaard 6+1, Tom Perry 4+2, Emil Grondal 3, Zdenek Holub 1+1.