Peterborough Panthers pipped in televised tussle despite career-best haul from Charles
Peterborough Panthers picked up a valuable SGB Premiership point last night (May 6) - but were left kicking themselves for missing out on a memorable victory.
The city team were pipped 46-44 in a televised tussle at Swindon after producing a fine fightback inspired by a career-best performance from Charles Wright, who piled up a stunning paid 18 points.
And while the battling effort to recover from being 10 points adrift earned plenty of praise from team boss Carl Johnson, the Panthers chief was left counting the cost of mechanical woes which prevented his side from powering to glory.
Captain Hans Andersen and Rohan Tungate both suffered bike issues while reserve Bradley Wilson-Dean twice crashed out of races, but did also record a hat-trick of wins.
Johnson said: “We always go into away meetings with the target of picking up a point and we managed to do that.
“To get anything out of the night after being so far behind at one stage is very pleasing, but we’re also frustrated not to have come away with a win.
“It’s the same old story of mechanical problems costing us and we’ve got to get things sorted.
“We had by far the best rider of the night in Charles and Bradley also got us plenty of points down at reserve, but we lacked the consistency right through the team again.”
Captain Andersen was cast adrift as Swindon claimed a 4-2 in the opener with guest number one Brady Kurtz powering past Tungate for victory, but Panthers replied in kind.
Wilson-Dean roared to glory in heat two with partner Aaron Summers working his way past James Shanes for third spot before the Robins man tumbled out on the last lap.
Two shared races then followed - the second of which was won by Wilson-Dean after Tungate’s machine packed up at the start.
Wilson-Dean came back down to earth with a bump - literally - when crashing out of last place in heat five and referee Chris Durno controversially awarded the race as a 5-1 to Swindon even though Andersen was battling Tobiasz Musielak for second place at the time the red lights went on.
There was more mechanical woe for Tungate as he went into the tapes at the start of heat six with replacement Wilson-Dean and Summers on the receiving end of a 5-1 from Kurtz and Dawid Lampart in the re-run.
A shared seventh race followed before Wilson-Dean was excluded from an awarded and shared eighth instalment for wiping out Shanes when attempting to take third place from the Swindon man.
His ill-judged blast into the opening bend of lap three left both riders on the deck at a time when Wright led the way for Panthers to claim the first of his three victories.
The city side’s deficit reached double-figures as Swindon man Adam Ellis completed a hat-trick of wins when inspiring a 4-2 in heat nine, but Wright continued to offer impressive resistance as he took the flag in the next race when claiming the scalp of the previously unbeaten Kurtz.
Wright was immediately deployed again as a tactical substitute in heat 11 and it proved to be an inspired move as he led home captain Andersen for a 5-1 that ate into their arrears.
The margin remained at six points when Musielak breezed to victory in a shared 12th contest, but Panthers’ hopes to clawing their way back into contention appeared to be hit when Andersen suffered bike trouble at the start of heat 13.
He deliberately rolled into the tapes to allow himself to be replaced by reserve Wilson-Dean who predictably brought up the rear as Tungate found winning form for the first time.
But Panthers received a huge boost when unbeaten Robins man Ellis was thrown out of heat 14 for jumping the start after already being warned for a similar offence earlier in the night.
He raced off a 15-metre starting handicap in the re-run and was powerless to prevent Wright and Wilson-Dean scorching to a 5-1 to earn a consolation point for Panthers.
But Swindon stand-in Kurtz - who replaced the injured former world champion Jason Doyle - ensured that is all Panthers got by winning a shared finale from Wright and Tungate.
Panthers now face four successive home meetings this month - the first of which is on Thursday (May 9) when they host Belle Vue.
SWINDON: Brady Kurtz (guest) 13, Adam Ellis 10, Troy Batchelor 7+1, Dawid Lampart 6+2, Tobias Musielak 6+1, James Shanes 2+2, Zach Wajtknecht 2.
PANTHERS: Charles Wright 16+2, Bradley Wilson-Dean 10, Rohan Tungate 6+1, Ben Barker 5+1, Aaron Summers 4+2, Hans Andersen 3+1, Rider replacement for Lasse Bjerre.