Captain Hans Andersen was rushed to hospital following a frightening crash as Peterborough Panthers slumped to East Anglian derby defeat last night (July 1).
he city team went down 51-38 to Ipswich at the East of England Arena but the condition of their skipper was understandably a much bigger concern than the scoreline in the immediate aftermath of a one-sided meeting.
Andersen was thrown from his bike after a tangle with Witches man Cameron Heeps entering the third bend on the second lap of a heat 10 re-run.
The 38 year-old was knocked unconscious after landing on his head and was treated by track paramedics before being taken to Peterborough City Hospital on blue lights.
Initial updates late last night suggested Andersen miraculously escaped serious injury. His long-time friend Mick Bratley reported that although the Danish star was heavily dazed, he had full body movement with the possibility of a broken wrist.
Panthers’ team manager Carl Johnson said: “It’s obviously disappointing to have lost, but Hans is the main thing on our minds.
“Everyone knows when there has been a bad crash . . . and that was a very bad one.
“Hans came down hard on his head - you could see the impact from the state of his helmet.
“When someone is out cold for as long as Hans was, you can’t help but fear the worst.
“The paramedics were very concerned and that is why he was taken straight to hospital on blue lights. They did a great job as they always do.
“The updates from Mick were really positive given the awful crash and hopefully that’s still the case after he has a CT scan.
“I’m sure everyone involved in the sport is hoping for more good news. Hans has been a great servant to this club and British speedway as a whole.”
The meeting was delayed for around an hour with racing unable to resume until the ambulance returned to Alwalton, but both teams and referee Chris Durno deserved credit for ensuring it reached a conclusion with seconds to spare ahead of the 10pm curfew.
Panthers were behind throughout with a six-point deficit at the time of Andersen’s awful exit – and Ipswich then dominated the remainder of the contest.
Chris Harris, who had initially been due to be a Panthers rider this season until being removed from their team on financial grounds, led the way for Ipswich with 11+1.
Heeps, who was able to walk away unscathed from the crash with Andersen, added 10+1 with every member of the visiting side except guest reserve Danny Ayres managing at least one race win.
The Witches wrapped up victory with two heats to spare despite the best efforts of Rohan Tungate, who produced a stunning display to pile up 16 points.
Short-term recruit Ty Proctor also performed solidly with a paid nine-point debut, but Panthers were seriously short of points in other areas.
Johnson added: “Ipswich are an excellent side with a lot of riders who love our place.
“There is no doubt they deserved the win, but what we produced as a team wasn’t anywhere near good enough.
“Rohan rode brilliantly and Ty had a good debut, but we need to see what the next few days bring and regroup ready to kick on again.”
Ipswich’s latest success on Panthers’ shale was marginally more emphatic than the 51-39 verdict during their last visit in May and also carried them to the top of the SGB Premiership.
Panthers, on the other hand, dropped out of the play-off places and will need to respond when they return to action a week on Thursday (July 11) against Wolverhampton.
PANTHERS: Rohan Tungate 16, Ty Proctor 8+1, Charles Wright 5, Aaron Summers 4, Scott Nicholls 3, Hans Andersen 2 (withdrawn), Paul Starke (guest) 0.
IPSWICH: Chris Harris 11+1, Cameron Heeps 10+1, Krystian Pieszczek 8+2, Richard Lawson 7, Danny King 5+1, Jake Allen 6+1, Danny Ayres (guest) 4.
1 – Lawson (59.9), Harris, Proctor, Andersen. 1-5, 1-5.
2 – Summers (59.5), Ayres, Allen, Starke. 3-3, 4-8.
3 – Heeps (59.2), Wright, King, Nicholls. 2-4, 6-12.
4 – Tungate (59.3), Allen, Pieszczek, Starke. 3-3, 9-15.
5 – Nicholls (60.1), Harris, Lawson, Wright. 3-3, 12-18.
6 – Pieszczek (59.9), Andersen, Proctor, Ayres. 3-3, 15-21.
7 – re-run Tungate (59.5), Heeps, King, Starke. 3-3, 18-24.
8 – Proctor (60.2), Lawson, Summers, Allen. 4-2, 22-26.
9 – re-run Pieszczek (60.2), Wright, Ayres, Nicholls. 2-4, 24-30.
10 – re-run x2 Heeps (60.9), Proctor, Andersen (fell/exc), King (fell/exc). 2-3, 26-33.
11 – Harris (60.6), Tungate, Lawson, Summers. 2-4, 28-37.
12 – King (60.5), Tungate, Ayres, Nicholls. 2-4, 30-41.
13 – Tungate (60.6), Harris, Pieszczek, Starke. 3-3, 33-44.
14 – Allen (61.3), Heeps, Wright, Summers. 1-5, 34-49.
15 – re-run Tungate (60.8), Harris, Proctor, Heeps. 4-2, 38-51.