Promoter Ged Rathbone insists Peterborough Panthers can finish top of the Premier League after shocking reigning champions Edinburgh last night (August 7).
The third-placed city racers collected a seventh away win of a terrific season when triumphing 45-44 in Scotland to move to within three points of the summit - a result made even more impressive by the absence of two of their star riders in injured skipper Ulrich Ostergaard and reserve match-winner Simon Lambert.
It provided also another example of Panthers bosses’ terrific use of the guest system during an injury-plagued campaign as borrowed rider Ricky Wells top-scored with a stunning paid 16-point haul.
The American ace was only drafted in the previous night after original guest booking Kenneth Hansen pulled out, but he proved to be a star turn with four victories in six races around the tight Armadale turns.
And fellow guest, reserve Matthew Wethers, also contributed a valuable paid seven from the bottom of the order to help Panthers to glory on a night when the lead changed hands on numerous occasion in a second-versus-third clash.
But it was Panthers on top when it mattered most. Michael Palm Toft’s heat 14 triumph inspired a 4-2 which edged them into the narrowest of advantages before new number one Robert Lambert and Wells preserved it by packing the minor places in a last-heat decider.
Rathbone said: “We have beaten a top team on their own track and it has blown the race to finish top wide open.
“To go to the home of the reigning champions and win with riders missing if a fantastic effort. All six riders involved played their part.
“I’m hugely proud of what we continue to achieve despite the amount of adversity we have had to deal with.
“We built a team to compete with any team on any track on any night and, regardless of the actual riding line-up, we are consistently doing that.”
The two teams meeting again at the East of England Showground tomorrow and Rathbone has challenged his riders to produce another top result.
He added: “We will enjoy the win at Edinburgh, but we have to be mindful of the fact it is only worth three league points. We have to be professional and focus on getting another win on Sunday.”
Emil Grondal returns and Luke Bowen guests at reserve in place of the injured Simon Lambert. It will be rider replacement for Ostergaard.
EDINBURGH: Craig Cook 15, Kevin Wolbert 11+1, Justin Sedgmen 9+2, Erik Riss 4+1, Rob Branford 3, Max Clegg 2, Rider replacement for Sam Masters.
PANTHERS: Ricky Wells (guest) 15+1, Robert Lambert 9+2, Michael Palm Toft 7+1, Lewis Blackbird 6, Matthew Wethers (guest) 5+2, Rafal Konopka 3, Rider replacement for Emil Grondal.