Peterborough Panthers slumped to their heaviest defeat for three years last night (June 13) when being blown away by the SGB Premiership leaders.
The city side went down to a 62-28 defeat at the hands of table-topping Belle Vue Aces at the National Speedway Stadium.
A miserable night in Manchester came complete with a painful conclusion as Bradley Wilson-Dean suffered a suspected broken collar-bone when crashing out of heat 15.
The Kiwi racer hit the deck at high-speed when battling for second place on the second lap of the final race.
Wilson-Dean provided one of only two race wins for Panthers and also inspired their only heat advantage when taking the chequered flag in a 4-2 in the fourth contest.
It was a sorry showing which drew a damning assessment from team manager Carl Johnson as he questioned the attitudes of his riders.
“It never rains, it pours,” said Johnson, although clearly not enough to prevent this hammering.
“The meeting started badly for us and it continued that way right up to when we lost Bradley to injury in heat 15.
“Losing him is massively disappointing and it looks like he’ll be out for a few weeks if our fears of a broken collar-bone are confirmed.
“To be honest that just rubbed salt into the wounds on a night to forget for us.
“We travelled through bad weather all the way to Manchester and our boys got there in the wrong mindset.
“I’m sure a lot of people will wonder why I didn’t use a tactical substitute, but why would I allow lads to go out and earn extra money when they’re not putting 110 per cent in.
“Belle Vue showed why they are sitting at the top of the table, but we’re in third ourselves and we need to ensure we stay there.
“We just have to put this one behind us as soon as possible and we’re looking forward to getting back on our own track next week.”
Charles Wright top-scored for Panthers with seven points and also provided their other race win when coming home in front in the penultimate heat.
Wilson-Dean contributed six points before crashing out while fellow reserve Aaron Summers was paid for five.
Michael Palm Toft, who was hired as an 11th hour guest after his club King’s Lynn saw their trip to Poole postponed, could only manage four points as he filled in for injured skipper Hans Andersen.
Two former Belle Vue riders endured tough returns to their former home with Rohan Tungate managing just three points and Scott Nicholls contributing only two – the same tally as Josh Bates on his comeback from injury.
It was a different story for the Aces with number one Max Fricke (who produced a paid maximum), Steve Worrall and Kenneth Bjerre all roaring into double-figures.
Panthers are back in action next Thursday (June 20) when hosting Swindon at the East of England Arena.
BELLE VUE: Max Fricke 14+1, Steve Worrall 13+1, Kenneth Bjerre 10+1, Dimitri Berge 8+2, Ricky Wells 7+2, Dan Bewley 6+1, Jaimon Lidsey 4.
PANTHERS: Charles Wright 7+1, Bradley Wilson-Dean 6, Aaron Summers 4+1, Michael Palm Toft (guest) 4, Rohan Tungate 3, Scott Nicholls 2, Josh Bates 2.