Investigation launched after abandoment of Peterborough Panthers' Bank Holiday monday meeting

Benjamin Basso's burst tyre. Photo: Jeff Davies.Benjamin Basso's burst tyre. Photo: Jeff Davies.
Benjamin Basso's burst tyre. Photo: Jeff Davies.
Peterborough Panthers co-promoter Carl Johnson confirmed the abandonment of Monday’s home clash with Sheffield was a unanimous decision – as the sport’s authorities investigate the tyre issues which brought an early halt to the meeting.

With ten races completed, a result was able to be declared with the Tigers collecting a 32-28 victory, but that was very much a side-story on the day.

A series of riders suffered tyre issues, and Panthers star Benjamin Basso suffered a blow-out on the last bend of Heat 10 after attempting to race on with a tyre which was going down.

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It was following that incident that referee Mick Bates was called to visit the pits, and after discussions with riders and officials the meeting was abandoned.

Benjamin Basso of Panthers leads during the abandoned meeting with Sheffield. Photo: Jeff Davies.Benjamin Basso of Panthers leads during the abandoned meeting with Sheffield. Photo: Jeff Davies.
Benjamin Basso of Panthers leads during the abandoned meeting with Sheffield. Photo: Jeff Davies.

British Speedway Promoters’ Ltd and tyre manufacturers Anlas immediately launched an investigation, with the unique nature of the Showground circuit clearly a contributory factor.

It’s also believed that the early start to racing on Monday may have played a part, as similar issues were encountered in a previous Bank Holiday meeting which was completed, whilst more moisture comes through the track in the evening offering better conditions for tyres.

Johnson was standing in as team manager for Rob Lyon, who was on a pre-arranged family holiday, and has remained on board as a promoter at the club despite not having as much day-to-day involvement as in the past.

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Johnson said: “We never want to see anything like this happen, but we’ve taken a decision which is a regrettable one for the supporters, but which we feel is the right one for the safety of the riders.

“The track was slightly different on Monday to how it was on Thursday (against King’s Lynn), and we didn’t have as much of an issue on Thursday.

“It was slightly harder on Monday, but there was still dirt on there so there was no reason for it to happen.

“Obviously with cooler nights it helps with the tyre temperatures, and a bit of moisture coming through the track later in the evening does help.

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“Rider safety is paramount. We saw Benjamin ride four laps and he slowed up on the fourth bend with his tube hanging out of the back of his tyre, and with two riders behind him, and we wouldn’t want anyone to be hit like that.”

Panthers have two home meetings remaining this season, and it is expected that all riders will be issued with two new tyres to use in both of those matches, starting against Ipswich on Monday (Seprtember 5, 7.30pm).

At all other venues, riders are given one tyre to last throughout the meeting although a concession has been made for events at Peterborough in the past with nine tyres given to cover seven riders in each team.

Meanwhile Panthers are back in action at King’s Lynn on Thursday with long-term injury victims Michael Palm Toft and Ulrich Ostergaard both expected to remain on the sidelines.