It was a bad Thursday night (July 21) for Peterborough Panthers on and off the track.
The city team missed the chance to return to the top of the Premier League after slumping to a heavy East Anglian derby defeat at Ipswich.
Only back-on-song Danish ace Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen and short-term recruit Ashley Morris could cover themselves in any glory during a 57-36 reverse.
And there was further bad news in the form of an injury bulletin from Simon Lambert, who chose the same evening to reveal he suffered cruciate ligament damage to his knee in addition to a broken hand when crashing out of a Premier League KO Cup exit against Somerset earlier this month.
Lambert now expects to be out for at least another six weeks with the prospects of a return this season not looking great.
Team manager Jason Attwood said: “Disappointing is probably the only printable word I can offer to describe that performance. Maybe it should be the riders who explain how and why it happened.
“Nikolaj has had another good night and Ashley did a sound job at reserve, but there was very little else to cheer.
“It’s a case of stating the obvious – there were not enough race-winners, not enough heat advantages and too many last places.
“It all added up to a good hiding and it certainly wasn’t the start we wanted to a very tough run of away meetings.
“If we perform like that at places like Sheffield and Workington, we will get absolutely annihilated.
“And to hear that Simon now has another serious injury is more salt into our wounds – and the salt is running pretty deep right now.”
Panthers were undone by a run of five Ipswich 5-1s in the space of six races last night.
They initially kept their hosts in check, responding to an opening maximum from British champion Danny King and James Sarjeant (who both went through the card - a 15-point full-house from five rides for the former and an 8+4 paid effort from four rides for the latter) with a Morris-inspired 4-2 in heat two.
A couple of shared races then followed before the hosts upped the ante with back-to-back 5-1s to ease into a 10-point advantage.
The excellent Busk Jakobsen made the most of a tactical ride in heat seven to eat into those arrears, but it provided only temporary respite as another three Ipswich 5-1s (including in the re-runs of heats eight and nine after the returning Zdenek Holub and skipper Ulrich Ostergaard were excluded respectively) were followed by a 4-2 to wrap up victory for the hosts with four races to spare.
Busk Jakobsen continued to offer resistance as he took the chequered flag in a heat 12 4-2 before guest number one Lasse Bjerre and Ostergaard packed the minor places behind King in the next instalment.
Morris then completed another hard-working shift by splitting the home pairing in the penultimate race before Busk Jakobsen did likewise in the finale.
But it wasn’t enough to prevent a 21-point loss at the start of a run of seven away meetings in the club’s next eight Premier League fixtures.
They’re back on the road again next Thursday (July 28) when they go to Sheffield.
The club’s management will have much to ponder before then – both the form of their fit riders and long-term options to solve a big injury problem.
IPSWICH: Danny King 15 (max), Danny Ayres (guest) 10+1, Morten Risager 9, James Sarjeant 8+4 (paid max), Ben Barker 8, Nico Covatti 7+3, Connor Mountain 0.
PANTHERS: Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen 15, Ashley Morris 7, Lasse Bjerre (guest) 5+1, Ulrich Ostergaard 4+1, Zdenek Holub 2+1, Emil Grondal 2, Tom Perry 0.