Peterborough Panthers made an immediate return to winning ways, but success at Newcastle last night (June 14) came at a cost.
The city racers triumphed 46-44 in the North-East to get back on track 48 hours after surrendering their unbeaten Premier League record to East Anglian rivals Ipswich.
But key reserve Simon Lambert now faces a spell on the sidelines after being an innocent victim in a crash involving all four riders in heat 14.
His partner Michael Palm Toft and the home duo of Simon Nielsen and Christian Henry also hit the deck with Palm Toft being excluded as causing the spill – a harsh decision in the opinion of the Panthers camp.
Lambert was taken to hospital and suffered concussion, severe bruising and a burn to his lower back. He will automatically be out for seven days.
Panthers team boss Carl Johnson said: “Thankfully it is nothing that will keep Simon out for too long.
“The worst thing is that the crash was not Simon’s fault at all. We didn’t feel it was Michael’s either even though he was excluded by the referee.
“The incident probably ended up costing us a league point. It was a great response from the lads after losing at home to Ipswich on Friday, but they deserved to win a bit more comfortably.
“Simon had earlier retired when winning heat two and he was also in front in heat 14 when the crash happened.”
Panthers led by eight points at the time of that incident, but struggling reserve Ollie Greenwood was on the receiving end of a 5-1 in the re-run.
That meant top-scoring Panthers duo Robert Lambert and Ulrich Ostergaard had to avoid conceding another maximum in the finale and they duly restricted Newcastle to a 4-2.
Robert Lambert made an impressive return to Panthers duty with a 14-point haul which included three race wins. He had missed their home defeat at the hands of Ipswich on Friday after riding for Great Britain in the World Cup the previous night.
Ostergaard continued to battle through the pain of ankle ligament damage with a double-figure haul while guest number one Ben Barker added a useful 8+1.
Panthers are now third in the Premier League standings after being leapfrogged by reigning champions Edinburgh over the weekend, but they are within three points of leaders Somerset and boast a meeting in hand.
Panthers are back in action on Thursday (June 18) when they travel to Plymouth for the second leg of a KO Cup first round clash.
Lewis Blackbird is set to make his comeback from injury in the British Final at Wolverhampton tonight. He is still experiencing back trouble following a crash in the first leg of the KO Cup tie last month.
NEWCASTLE: Steve Worrall 13, Ludvig Lindgren 7, Simon Nielsen 7, Christian Henry 5+3, Anton Rosen 5, Lewis Kerr 4, Lewis Rose 3+1
PANTHERS: Robert Lambert 14, Ulrich Ostergaard 10+1, Ben Barker (guest) 8+1, Simon Lambert 6+1, Michael Palm Toft 5, Oliver Greenwood 3+1, Rider replacement for Lewis Blackbird.