First away win in the Premiership for Peterborough Panthers
Peterborough Panthers have toasted their first away success since reurning to the top flight of British speedway.
The city club raced to a 47-43 triumph at Poole last night (May 30) after leading from start to finish to collect a third consecutive SGB Premiership win.
High-scoring captain Hans Andersen and recent recruit Scott Nicholls provided a 4-2 in the crucial finale to seal victory that lifted Panthers into second place in the standings.
And they pocketed three points in Dorset despite being without two of their regular riders as Rohan Tungate joined reserve Josh Bates on the sidelines.
The Australian ace has ‘aggravated a previous speedway injury’ according to team boss Carl Johnson, who declined to give any further specific information.
But the Panthers boss was more than happy to wax lyrical about his side’s super showing at Wimborne Road, saying: “It was another terrific performance and great to get our first away win back in the SGB Premiership.
“We picked up two excellent home results and it is brilliant to be able to back them up with another one on the road.
“Poole is not the easiest place to go so to lead from start to finish there is no mean feat. There is no doubt in my mind we deserved the win.
“And I don’t think it will be the last we pick up on the road either. I said earlier this week that I feel we have a team capable of excelling on all types of tracks.
“We intentionally kept it quiet about Rohan being injured. We didn’t want to announce it in advance and put ourselves on the back foot.
“It was a obviously a blow to be without our second highest averaged rider, but the other lads dug deep to keep our good run going.”
Andersen was a fitting hero for Panthers in the final heat where his victory completed a 13+1 haul of points.
He had also provided the perfect start for the away side when combining with Bradley Wilson-Dean, who continued his fine form with a 9+2 return, for a 5-1 in the opener.
The same pair provided a 4-2 in heat five to extend Panthers’ lead to six points and their cushion reached double-figures when Wilson-Dean combined with classy reserve Aaron Summers for a 5-1 in heat eight.
Any thoughts of a cruise to victory were quickly dispelled as Poole number one Jack Holder inspired a quick fightback.
He made the most of a tactical substitute outing in heat nine when following in home captain Grajczonek for a 5-1 in heat nine before triumphing in a 4-2 in the next race.
But Holder could only split Andersen and Wilson-Dean when taking a third ride on the trot in the 11th contest which ended in a 4-2 to Panthers and left them six points up.
That advantage was slashed when Grajczonek and Nico Covatti claimed a 5-1 in the penultimate race, but Panthers dragged themselves over the line thanks to the heroics of Andersen and Nicholls in the closing instalment.
There Andersen saw off Holder for victory while Nicholls took third place with Grajczonek at the rear.
Nicholls was the club’s second-lowest scorer but still got the nod from Johnson, who added: “It was a big call and thankfully one I got right.
“Bradley and Charles Wright had both scored more points than Scott, but Bradley hadn’t been out since heat 11 and Charles was on the end of a 5-1 in heat 14.
“Hans and Scott are my two most experienced riders and I felt they were the men to get the job done.”
Panthers continue a series of four away meetings when they travel to Ipswich for an East Anglian derby next Thursday (June 6).
POOLE: Jack Holder 14+1, Josh Grajczonek 14, Richie Worrall 6+1, Nico Covatti 3+2, Paul Starke (guest) 3+1, Adam Ellis (guest) 3, Rider replacement for Brady Kurtz.
PANTHERS: Hans Andersen 13+1, Bradley Wilson-Dean 9+2, Charles Wright 9, Aaron Summers 8+2, Scott Nicholls 7+1, Kasper Andersen (guest) 0, Rider replacement for Rohan Tungate.
Charles Wright does battle in the British semi-final tonight at his home SGB Championship track, Redcar.
Wright, who has been in terrific form this season and has earned a place in the World Championship qualifiers, will be one of the favourites to advance to the British Final in July.
Former Panthers star Kenneth Bjerre won the Danish Final last night.
The Huntingdon-based racer roared to glory at Holsted with reigning and seven-time champion Niels Kristian Iversen – another local resident in Yaxley – having to settle for second spot.