No home comforts for Peterborough Panthers speeedway as they lose a cracking Bank Holiday clash
Peterborough Panthers return to the East of England Arena last night (May 31) was spoiled by an impressive display from visitors Belle Vue.
In a thrilling encounter raced in front of a terrific crowd, Panthers went down to a 40-50 Premiership defeat just hours after racing to a highly creditable 45-45 draw in Manchester.
But just as in that first meeting, Panthers had little answer to Aces sensation Dan Bewley, who completed a remarkable total of 29 points from a possible 30 on the day.
Bewley’s only dropped point came in Heat 3 of the evening meeting when he touched the tapes and was sent back off a 15-metre handicap – and still came through the field to snatch second place as Panthers skipper Scott Nicholls held on up front.
Bewley supplied further thrills with his late pass on Hans Andersen in Heat 10 and his victorious Heat 15 effort against Andersen and Michael Palm Toft, but the Aces’ victory also owed much to reserves Tom Brennan and Jye Etheridge.
For the Panthers there were plus points, most notably the form of Andersen who was involved in some tremendous battles throughout, and Palm Toft who combined with Nicholls for a match-levelling 5-1 in Heat 5 as both overhauled Richie Worrall.
But three 4-2s in the space of four mid-meeting heats saw the Aces regain control, and whilst Andersen took a winning tactical substitute ride in Heat 11, Brady Kurtz prevented maximum damage by edging out Chris Harris for second after a dramatic three-way battle.
Another Bewley win in Heat 12 put the Aces six up, and they made sure of victory when Kurtz and Charles Wright held back every effort from Harris in the next.
Elsewhere for Panthers, star of the morning Ulrich Ostergaard experienced the massive frustration of two punctures, dropping him to the back of Heat 8 and costing him victory over Brennan on the last bend of Heat 14.
After an excellent lunchtime debut at Belle Vue, Bjarne Pedersen unexpectedly failed to score, whilst youngster Jordan Palin experienced a tough night after his earlier crash and was necessarily thrown into the ultra-tough Heat 13 as Panthers looked to maximise their scoring elsewhere.
Andersen said: “It would have been nice to start the season with a win, especially after the performance we put in away at Belle Vue.
“But you have to remember that not all of us have raced the bike in nearly two years, myself included, so getting more and more laps in is vital.
“It was so nice to be riding in front of the fans again. I’ve always enjoyed riding here, I’ve been here 20 years or so, and the fans have been just as eager as we have to get on track again, so it’s nice to see them and give them a show.”
Despite the defeat, there was much to take from the day and Panthers now prepare for their local derby clash with King’s Lynn back at the Showground next Monday (June 7).
PETERBOROUGH 40: Hans Andersen 13+1, Michael Palm Toft 11, Scott Nicholls 6+2, Ulrich Ostergaard 6, Chris Harris 4, Bjarne Pedersen 0, Jordan Palin 0.
BELLE VUE 50: Dan Bewley 14, Tom Brennan 8+2, Jye Etheridge 8+1, Brady Kurtz 8, Charles Wright 7+2, Richie Worrall 3, Steve Worrall 2.