Peterborough Panthers suffer a disastrous start to the Premiership pairs competition

Peterborough Panthers made a disappointing start to their Premiership Pairs campaign with no points gleaned from the opening round at the East of England Arena on Monday.

By Alan Swann
Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 6:50 am
Panthers riders Michael Palm Toft (red helmet) and Chris Harris (blue) in action in the Premi8ership pairs event at the Showground. Photo: David Lowndes.
Panthers riders Michael Palm Toft (red helmet) and Chris Harris (blue) in action in the Premi8ership pairs event at the Showground. Photo: David Lowndes.

Crendon Panthers duo Michael Palm Toft and Chris Harris collected three race wins from their four rides as a combination, but on each occasion their team-mate was at the back.And that proved costly in a format which rewards consistency and where avoiding last places is more important than race wins.That said, some of those victories provided some fine action with Palm Toft pulling off a brilliant ride to take Heat 7 in Panthers’ clash with Ipswich.MPT cleared Danny King at the end of the first lap before reeling in former World Champion Jason Doyle and superbly switched inside him going into the last lap.Harris won two races, the second of which in Heat 12 saw him enjoy a fine battle with Wolverhampton’s Ryan Douglas as the two passed and re-passed up-front.And he was also close to defeating Jack Holder in Heat 15 only for the Sheffield man to produce a classy move on the last lap.The Tigers led the scorechart after the qualifiers and they were joined in the Final by King’s Lynn, whose progress past Belle Vue in the semi was virtually assured when Max Fricke fell on turns three and four whilst trying to pass Richard Lawson.The Final was controversial with Holder well clear whilst his Sheffield team-mate Adam Ellis holding third place which would have won the meeting, but as team-riding came into play, Richard Lawson slowed the race down in a bid to bring Josh Pickering into contention, and Ellis crashed heavily at the start of the last lap as King’s Lynn were awarded overall victory.Panthers boss Rob Lyon said: “It was a frustrating night, and really it’s the way our season has gone so far. We couldn’t get both boys firing at the same time, but that’s the way it goes. It was a very competitive line-up, and a competitive meeting all the way through, so it was always going to be tight.“It’s disappointing that we finished last on our own track, I’ve got to be honest about that, but fair play to the other boys and congratulations to King’s Lynn for coming out on top.”Panthers are back in league action next week with a trip to King’s Lynn on Monday (May 30), and they then host Wolverhampton at the East of England Arena next Thursday (June 2).

PREMIERSHIP PAIRS Round 1, PeterboroughQUALIFYING SCORES:SHEFFIELD 26: Jack Holder 18, Adam Ellis 6, Connor Mountain (RS) 2.BELLE VUE 24: Max Fricke 17, Brady Kurtz 7, Tom Brennan (RS) 0.KING’S LYNN 23: Josh Pickering 15, Richard Lawson 8, Jack Thomas (RS) 0.WOLVERHAMPTON 23: Sam Masters 12, Ryan Douglas 11, Joe Thompson (RS) 0.IPSWICH 21: Jason Doyle 17, Danny King 2, Danyon Hume (RS) 2.PETERBOROUGH 18: Chris Harris 11, Michael Palm Toft 7, Max Clegg (RS) 0.

SEMI-FINAL: Pickering, Lawson, Kurtz, Fricke (F) - [King’s Lynn beat Belle Vue 7-2]GRAND FINAL: Holder, Lawson, Pickering, Ellis (Fx) – [King’s Lynn beat Sheffield 5-4]

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Heat two of the Premiership Pairs event at the Showground involving Panthers duo Michael Palm Toft (white helmet) and Chris Harris (yellow). Photo: David Lowndes.

STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 1King’s Lynn 12, Sheffield 8, Belle Vue 6, Wolverhampton 4, Ipswich 2, Peterborough 0.