Bradley Wilson-Dean produced a spectacular first paid maximum for Peterborough Panthers as they swept to SGB Premiership derby glory on Bank Holiday Monday (May 27).
The city side put King’s Lynn to the sword when claiming a 54-36 victory at the East of England Arena . . . and their biggest win of the 2019 campaign to date was gained in front of what appeared to be their biggest crowd.
The A47 rivals battled out a 45-45 draw at the same venue on Easter Monday but there was no doubt about the outcome when Panthers put the bottom-of-the-table Stars to the sword following a fast start.
Kiwi king Wilson-Dean delivered the headline contribution to a fine all-round performance - which also featured double-figures hauls from captain Hans Andersen and Rohan Tungate - as he went unbeaten by opposing riders.
“It was a massive team effort,” said team boss Carl Johnson. “And it’s great to beat our local rivals in that manner.
“Everyone really wanted it and they delivered out on the track with all seven riders scoring well.
“Bradley had by far his best meeting in his three seasons here at Peterborough.
“We all know he can be erratic on the bike at times, but he was much more smooth and a whole lot faster as a result.
“I could have given him the extra ride in heat 15, but I wanted to protect his maximum and we had plenty of riders who deserved to be in it.
“The track was fantastic, the racing was superb and the crowd was brilliant. All in all, it was a great day for us.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I feel we’re finding our feet back in the SGB Premiership now and making progress.”
Panthers got off to the perfect start with Andersen and Wilson-Dean claiming a 5-1 in the opener before Aaron Summers went tapes to flag to inspire a 4-2 in heat two.
He was briefly followed by guest Paul Starke who then succumbed to former Panthers man Michael Palm Toft, but was able to hold off a late thrust from Kasper Andersen to retain third spot.
Scott Nicholls claimed the first success of his latest spell as a Panthers rider in a third contest which ended in another 4-2 and was followed by some afters between Charles Wright and Cameron Heeps after the Stars guest produced a particularly forceful move to reclaim second place.
The one-way traffic continued as Tungate and Starke bagged another 5-1 in heat four, but Lynn finally woke up when hitting back with a full house of their own from Robert Lambert and Palm Toft in the fifth contest.
Visiting boss Peter Schroeck sent out the same visiting duo for the next with Lambert deployed as a tactical substitute, but they were left trailing in the wake of the brilliant Wilson-Dean who streaked to victory after blasting round the boards on the opening lap.
Panthers had to settle for a 3-3 with captain Andersen retiring, but they maintained an eight-point cushion which was reduced when Heeps took the flag in a Lynn 4-2 in heat seven.
Wilson-Dean continued his unbeaten streak with another fence-brushing blast to inspire a 4-2 in the next race before Wright picked his way through the Lynn traffic to triumph in a shared ninth heat.
Wilson-Dean was soon back on track to deliver another accomplished ride when roaring clear in heat 10 to complete his paid maximum and Andersen was rewarded for a race-long pursuit of Heeps when snatching third place on the line.
That 4-2 left the city racers 10 points clear at two-thirds distance and that remained the case when the action resumed after the interval with an 11th contest which provided two races in one.
Tungate classily nipped back past Lambert to take victory but Summers surrendered third spot to Palm Toft entering the final lap.
Palm Toft continued his productive Alwalton return by zooming past Nicholls for glory as the visitors took a 4-2 in heat 12, but their fate was sealed in the next race.
Andersen produced a fine front-running ride to keep Lambert at bay in a thrilling clash of the rival number ones after darting to the lead on the opening lap, while partner Tungate burst back past Thomas Jorgensen for third place to earn a 4-2.
Given the fact that all three of the club’s previous victories this season (two in the league/one in the Supporters’ Cup) had been gained after coming through last-heat deciders, it made a pleasant change to have the points in the bag with a couple of races to spare.
But Panthers still provided a big finish thanks to back-to-back 5-1s as Wright and Summers starred in the penultimate contest before Andersen and Tungate applied the icing to the cake in the finale.
It was a fine way to sign off on home shale as Panthers now face a run of four successive away fixtures which starts at Poole this Thursday (May 30).
PANTHERS: Bradley Wilson-Dean 11+1, Rohan Tungate 11+1, Hans Andersen 10, Charles Wright 7, Scott Nicholls 6, Aaron Summers 5+1, Paul Starke (guest) 4+1.
KING’S LYNN: Michael Palm Toft 12+3, Robert Lambert 10+1, Cameron Heeps 5, Ty Proctor 4, Thomas Jorgensen 3, Kasper Andersen 2, Rider replacement for Erik Riss.
1 – H. Andersen (59.8), Wilson-Dean, Lambert, Heeps. 5-1, 5-1.
2 – Summers (60.9), Palm Toft, Starke, K. Andersen. 4-2, 9-3.
3 – Nicholls (60.2), Heeps, Wright, Proctor. 4-2, 13-5.
4 – Tungate (60.0), Starke, Jorgensen, K. Andersen. 5-1, 18-6.
5 – Lambert (61.1), Palm Toft, Nicholls, Wright. 1-5, 19-11.
6 – Wilson-Dean (61.3), Palm Toft, Lambert (tac sub), H. Andersen (ret). 3-3, 22-14.
7 – Heeps (61.7), Tungate, Proctor, Summers (ret). 2-4, 24-18.
8 – Wilson-Dean (61.0), K. Andersen, Starke, Jorgensen. 4-2, 28-20.
9 – Wright, Jorgensen, Palm Toft, Nicholls. 3-3, 31-23.
10 – Wilson-Dean (61.0), Proctor, H. Andersen, Heeps. 4-2, 35-25.
11 – Tungate (60.1), Lambert, Palm Toft, Summers. 3-3, 38-28.
12 – Palm Toft (60.0), Nicholls, Proctor, Starke. 2-4, 40-32.
13 – H. Andersen (60.3), Lambert, Tungate, Jorgensen. 4-2, 44-34.
14 – Wright (60.3), Summers, Palm Toft, Heeps. 5-1, 49-35.
15 – H. Andersen (60.3), Tungate, Lambert, Proctor. 5-1, 54-36.