Number one Jack Holder admitted he was gutted to miss out on a maximum when leading Peterborough Panthers to SGB Championship success yesterday (September 10).
The Australian ace top-scored with 15 points as the city side overcame Workington 51-42 in another rain-affected meeting at the East of England Arena.
Holder reeled off victories in his opening four rides before losing out to rival number one Craig Cook in heat 13.
And he then had to sit and suffer behind Comets pair Cook and Ty Proctor when the away side collected a 5-1 in the finale to cut their arrears back into single figures.
Holder said: “It’s a long time since I actually raced on our track - but I showed I haven’t forgotten how to ride it!
“My last meeting here was in July so it was good to be back putting on a show for the fans.
“It was a shame not to get a maximum to be honest after winning my first four races.
“It looked like the meeting was going to be called off after heat 12 due to the rain and I would have been unbeaten if that happened.
“The track was getting pretty dangerous at that point, but the management could see it was brightening up and wanted to make sure the crowd got to see a full meeting.
“It was a shame to be beaten in my last two rides, but the main thing is winning meetings and we did that.”
Panthers were much more dominant than their final nine-point margin of victory suggested.
They produced a solid display from top-to-bottom with reserve Tom Bacon, who collected a more than respectable 5+2, their lowest scorer.
Panthers were always in command after starting the contest with back-to-back 5-1s.
Holder and fellow returning rider Bradley Wilson-Dean, who was back after a wrist problem had kept him out of seven of the club’s previous eight meetings, zoomed clear of Cook in the opener.
Wilson-Dean was paid for double-figures in a pleasing comeback outing - a feat matched by Simon Lambert who led in fellow reserve Bacon for another 5-1 in heat two.
Proctor provided some resistance when triumphing in the next race before a Holder-led 4-2 in heat four stretched Panthers’ advantage into double-figures.
Cook cashed in a tactical ride in the fifth contest after forcing his way past Paul Starke on the opening lap, but the Panthers rider and captain Ulrich Ostergaard tucked into the minor places to reduce the damage to a 6-3 in favour of Workington.
Further 4-2 gains, featuring wins for Holder and Wilson-Dean in heats six and eight respectively, ensured there was no Workington revival.
And when the Oceanic duo of Holder and Wilson-Dean zoomed to a 5-1 in a re-run 10th instalment, victory was pretty much assured for Panthers.
That race had looked set to provide a mouth-watering clash between Holder and fellow unbeaten Aussie, Proctor.
But the Workington man was excluding after hitting the deck in the opening corner. He was forced wide by Holder, but there was no contact between the two.
Track conditions then became testing as rain set in for the second time on the day following an earlier downpour just before the start.
Panthers’ previous two home meetings were abandoned and this one looked set to follow suit after heat 12, but club bosses’ decision to allow the rain to pass proved correct as the meeting was seen through to a finish.
And while the home side’s lead was cut by more than a third, it was nonetheless a fine display from them when without Chris Harris due to a grasstrack commitment.
Cook ended Holder’s maximum hopes in a shared heat 13, before bad luck beset Ostergaard when he retired from the lead of the penultimate race with bike trouble.
Ostergaard was sitting on a 5-1 with Lambert, but Workington man Matt Williamson took advantage to nip to the front and give his side a 4-2.
The visitors’ top duo, Cook and Proctor, then produced a rolling roadblock to frustrate Holder in the finale, but the job had long been done by Panthers.
They return to action on Sunday (September 17) when travelling to Glasgow ahead of a KO Cup quarter-final second leg at Scunthorpe on Friday, September 22.
The club have four other league meetings - home clashes against Scunthorpe, Edinburgh and Workington, and an away trip to Workington - still to arrange.
PETERBOROUGH: Jack Holder 15, Paul Starke 10, Simon Lambert 8+3, Bradley Wilson-Dean 8+2, Ulrich Ostergaard 5+3, Tom Bacon 5+2, Rider replacement for Chris Harris.
WORKINGTON: Craig Cook 16, Ty Proctor 11+1, Thomas Jorgensen 9, Matt Williamson 4, Jake Knight (guest) 2, Ryan Terry-Daley (guest) 0, Rider replacement for Mason Campton.
1 - Holder (61.0), Wilson-Dean, Cook, Terry-Daley. 5-1, 5-1
2 - Lambert (62.0), Bacon, Knight, Terry-Daley. 5-1, 10-2.
3 – Proctor (60.5), Starke, Ostergaard, Williamson. 3-3, 13-5.
4 - Holder (61.4), Jorgensen, Bacon, Knight (ret). 4-2, 17-7.
5 - Cook (t/r, 60.9), Starke, Ostergaard, Williamson, 3-6, 20-13.
6 - re-run Holder (61.3), Jorgensen, Wilson-Dean, Terry-Daley. 4-2, 24-15.
7 - Proctor (62.5), Starke, Lambert, Williamson. 3-3, 27-18.
8 - Wilson-Dean (62.4), Jorgensen, Bacon, Knight. 4-2, 31-20.
9 - Jorgensen (61.7), Starke, Ostergaard, Terry-Daley. 3-3, 34-23.
10 - re-run Holder (63.0), Wilson-Dean, Williamson, Proctor (fell.exc). 5-1, 39-24.
11 - Cook (63.8), Ostergaard, Lambert, Knight. 3-3, 42-27.
12 - Proctor (65.0), Starke, Bacon, Terry-Daley (ret). 3-3, 45-30.
13 - Cook (61.9), Holder, Lambert, Jorgensen. 3-3, 48-33.
14 - Williamson (63.7), Lambert, Knight, Ostergaard (ret). 2-4, 50-37.
15 - Cook (62.5), Proctor, Holder, Starke. 1-5, 51-42.