Peterborough Panthers take a giant step towards the Premiership play-offs after sensational victory which included a career best ride by the team’s rising star
Peterborough Panthers took a giant step towards the Premiership play-offs with a sensational 47-43 win at Belle Vue last night (August 9).
Michael Palm Toft and Bjarne Pedersen were the last heat heroes as they got Panthers over the finishing line in Manchester after a spectacular battle with Charles Wright.
Just as on their previous visit in May, Panthers went into Heat 15 with a 44-40 lead – but whilst on that occasion they conceded a 5-1 and had to settle for a draw, this time they managed to pack the places behind the flying Dan Bewley with both Danes working overtime after Wright at one stage appeared to have moved into second place.
Palm Toft and Pedersen won five races between them, but the victory was also built at reserve where Hans Andersen enjoyed another field day, unbeaten in his first four rides – and 17-year-old Jordan Palin put in his best-ever Premiership performance.
Palin joined Andersen to cancel out a Heat 1 Aces’ 5-1 with a maximum score in the reserves’ race, and then he took second place ahead of home captain Steve Worrall in Heat 9.
And having been thrown into the cauldron of Heat 13, Palin stunned the National Speedway Stadium by storming around the field off turn two, leaving Bewley and Brady Kurtz in his wake and inflicting the only defeat of the last two home matches on the Aces’ number one for the biggest win of his career.
It was 9-9 after Heat 3 before Andersen then rode a stormer in the next, getting the better of Brady Kurtz in a ding-dong scrap and then charging inside Ricky Wells for the win.
Palm Toft won his opening two outings, but then drew a surprise blank in Heat 7 when Aces reserve Tom Brennan proved the surprise package, teaming up with Kurtz to put the hosts four points ahead.
But the trusty combination of Pedersen and Andersen brought Panthers straight back on terms with a 5-1 in Heat 8 as Andersen cleverly eased out Richie Worrall off turn four.
Palin’s second place in Heat 9 was important as Chris Harris was squeezed out, and Palm Toft rounded Richie Worrall in the next to limit Belle Vue to a two-point lead with five races to go.
Pedersen and Andersen then shot from the start in Heat 11 to turn the match in Panthers’ favour with the latter superbly holding off Kurtz and put them 34-32 up.
Palm Toft then rode an intelligent race to turn back under Steve Worrall in Heat 12 and win, with Andersen supplying third place, and the incredible events of Heat 13 saw Palin’s victory backed up by third for Pedersen to put Panthers six up.
The Aces responded with Bewley taking a tactical substitute ride in Heat 14, but whilst he was a clear winner, Panthers skipper Scott Nicholls ensured Wright would not join him up front and the lead was four points with one race to go.
Heat 15 produced a frantic battle to end a thrilling contest, but with the home crowd roaring Wright on, Palm Toft and Pedersen kept their heads to relegate him back to fourth place and give the Panthers a dramatic victory.
Team boss Rob Lyon said: “It was absolutely brilliant. We knew it would be tough coming here, it always is, but the boys responded superbly and it was a terrific team effort.
“Obviously we were looking for a 3-3 in Heat 14 to clinch it, which didn’t quite work out, so we took our time in choosing gates for Heat 15. Both Bjarne and Tofty were quick tonight, and they did the business for us.
“Jordan was terrific, he’s had some tough meetings with us recently, but we know what he’s capable of and Heat 13 was probably the best ride of his career I would say.
“I guess that’s our best win so far. Sheffield was pretty good, but especially without Ulrich (Ostergaard), and with Belle Vue having turned us over twice at home we owed them one, so it certainly ranks up there!”
BELLE VUE 43: Dan Bewley 17, Steve Worrall 6+1, Charles Wright 6, Brady Kurtz 6, Richie Worrall 4+1, Tom Brennan 3+1, Ricky Wells 1+1.
PETERBOROUGH 47: Michael Palm Toft 12+1, Hans Andersen 10+3, Bjarne Pedersen 10+1, Jordan Palin 8, Scott Nicholls 5, Chris Harris 2, Ulrich Ostergaard r/r.