Peterborough Panthers team boss Carl Johnson pulled no punches in the wake of an ‘embarrassing’ drubbing last night.
The city men were thumped 57-33 by Workington in an SGB Championship clash at the East of England Arena. It is thought to be their heaviest defeat on home shale in the modern era of 15-heat meetings since 1997.
Panthers provided only two race-winners all night and both of those successes led to heat advantages – although even the second of them was highly fortunate.
Workington man Nicolai Klindt was a clear leader of heat 13 until suffering a mechanical issue on the final lap, which allowed Ulrich Ostergaard and Scott Nicholls to claim a 5-1.
Michael Palm Toft provided the only previous victory when leading the way in a 4-2 in heat nine as Nike Lunna took third spot.
Much of the damage was done from the start of races with Panthers men frequently finding themselves adrift.
Johnson admitted: “I can only apologise to the supporters for what they saw last night. It was an embarrassing performance.
“There is nothing we can complain about it and there was no bad luck involved – it was just a case of us being beaten by a far better side on the night.
“Every single Workington rider made good starts whereas we struggled in that respect from the word go.
“We were three bike lengths down going into the first corner and it is unusual to see that in so many races.
“In this day and age you don’t have to go around shouting and screaming. The riders all know it shouldn’t have happened and they’re all disappointed.”
Workington were the only team yet to have contested a league meeting this season, but they certainly made up for lost time.
They began with back-to-back 4-2s before slamming in a hat-trick of 5-1s to leave Panthers in dire straits. A shared sixth heat did briefly stem the tide before two further Comets full-houses effectively sealed victory after only eight races.
The outcome was put beyond doubt as Workington maximum man Ty Proctor – who went unbeaten in a 13+2 display – held off Nicholls to inspire a 4-2 in heat 10.
Panthers did actually succeed in not falling any further behind during the final five races, but that was the tiniest crumb of comfort on a miserable night.
Nicholls and Ostergaard top-scored for the hosts with eight points apiece, while three Workington men – Proctor, top-scorer Dan Bewley and reserve Bradley Wilson-Dean - roared into double-figures. Wilson-Dean’s 13+1 haul at reserve meant he scored more points last night than in his final five appearances when a Panthers rider last season.
Panthers have a quick chance to make amends when entertaining Edinburgh at the East of England Arena tomorrow (May 13, 5pm) and it is one Johnson has demanded they take.
He added: “We’re not a bad team. It was one bad night and we will hopefully put things right. The boys know they owe everyone a performance.”
Panthers: Scott Nicholls 8+1, Ulrich Ostergaard 8, Michael Palm Toft 6, Nike Lunna 4, Tom Bacon 3+1, Emil Grondal 2+1, Simon Lambert 2+1.
Workington: Dan Bewley 15+1, Ty Proctor 13+2, Bradley Wilson-Dean 13+1, Nicolai Klindt 8, Adam Ellis (guest) 7+1, Kyle Bickley 1, Rider replacement for Rasmus Jensen.