Brilliant Panthers clinch top spot ahead of play-off clashes
Peterborough Panthers head into the Premiership play-offs as league leaders after trouncing King’s Lynn 58-32 at the East of England Arena on Thursday.
The Crendon Panthers have finished the regular campaign in first position in the top-flight league table for the first time since 2006 and will now look to finish the job over the coming weeks.
As a response to Monday’s home defeat by Sheffield, this was a big statement from Rob Lyon’s side, who only allowed their visitors a single race victory – and that came in the very first race.
Michael Palm Toft lost out to Ben Barker in that Heat 1 but was otherwise undefeated from six outings, whilst Chris Harris and Hans Andersen were both only denied maximums by mechanical trouble.
Skipper Scott Nicholls won two rides and thankfully emerged unscathed from a clash with Lewis Kerr in Heat 14, whilst youngster Jordan Palin gave another strong display at reserve as he notched paid-eight, scoring in every ride.
Barker was the sole winner for the Stars in Heat 1, but that success was quickly cancelled out by Andersen and Palin in the reserves’ race.
Harris got the better of Kasper Andersen in a ding-dong scrap in Heat 4, and that was followed by three successive Peterborough 5-1s – the highlight coming in Heat 6 when Thomas
Jorgensen led for the Stars only to be overtaken first by Hans Andersen at the start of the third lap, and then by guest Simon Lambert with an excellent move around the outside.
Palm Toft was next to star from the back as he stormed under Jorgensen to take Heat 9 as Panthers went 18-points clear, and they would have extended it further in Heat 11 when Harris and Andersen produced a spectacular first-lap effort to clear Jorgensen and Barker, only for Andersen to slow up on the second lap.
Erik Riss led Heat 12 for King’s Lynn but Palm Toft surged through on the inside for yet another Panthers victory, and a fifth 5-1 of the night looked on the cards with Nicholls and Harris out-front early in Heat 13 until Harris hit trouble on the third bend.
Another 5-1 was denied in Heat 14 after Kerr was disqualified for bringing Nicholls down, with Kasper Andersen riding a good race in the re-run to split Hans Andersen and Nicholls – but
Panthers did emphasise their domination in the last race as Harris and Palm Toft roared clear of Riss and Barker.
Lyon’s side now head to Wolverhampton on Monday in the first leg of the play-off semi-final with their position as league leaders in the record books.
He said: “We got the response we wanted. We’ve done it before after losing twice to Belle Vue, we bounced back and had terrific meetings, and we’ve done it again tonight.
“The character in this team has been fantastic all season, and I’m proud of the way they’ve all performed throughout the season.
“To finish top of the table, although it means nothing really in this day and age, is a terrific achievement from all the boys, and we need to use that confidence going into Monday’s play-off and take it from there.”
PETERBOROUGH 58: Michael Palm Toft 15+2, Chris Harris 15, Hans Andersen 12, Scott Nicholls 8, Jordan Palin 6+2, Simon Lambert 2+1, Ulrich Ostergaard r/r.
KING’S LYNN 32: Ben Barker 7+2, Thomas Jorgensen 7, Erik Riss 6+2, Kasper Andersen 6+1, Lewis Kerr 6, Jordan Jenkins 0, Richard Lawson r/r.
PETERBOROUGH SPEEDWAY are delighted to be supported by Crendon Timber Engineering as main team sponsors and City Auction Group as club sponsors.