SPEEDWAY: Panthers sweep to the top of the Premier League
Peterborough Panthers swept to the top of the Premier League with another sizzling away success last night (April 21) - and that's where they intend to stay.
The ‘T Balfe Construction’ Panthers powered to a 53-40 triumph at Redcar to pocket all four available league points. It also took them clear at the summit of the early-season standings by the same margin.
Captain Ulrich Ostergaard spear-headed another memorable road display while winter signings Nicklas Porsing and Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen also starred with double-figure returns.
Ostergaard reeled off a hat-trick of heat wins on his way to a 12-point haul and Porsing also took the chequered flag three times to rack up an impressive 11 during arguably his best Peterborough performance to date.
Busk Jakobsen continued a sparkling start to his Panthers career with 10+2 and the same can also be said of reserve revelation Tom Perry, who bagged a couple of victories in his paid eight.
Temporary team boss Dale Allitt said: “It was another away performance and result that showed we are a team to be taken seriously.
“A lot of people wrongly seemed to think it was just a case of having to turn up at Redcar to get a result.
“I can assure everyone it was considerably tougher than that and we required a good team performance to get the win and maximum points.
“It was a tight meeting early on, but we managed to take control with a series of advantages and wrap up the victory with a few races to spare.
“Speedway is a confidence sport and winning is a great habit to get into so long may it continue.
“The more points we can put on the board, the harder it will be for the other teams to chase us down.
“We know there is no trophy for topping the league, but it gives you a direct route into the semi-finals of the play-offs and that is reward in itself.”
Skipper Ostergaard – a former Redcar rider - held off Bears guest number one Stuart Robson to inspire a 4-2 in the opener as Panthers got off to a fine start.
A series of shared races followed before Emil Grondal passed fellow Danish racer Jacob Bukhave for a crucial third spot in a sixth heat won by Porsing to earn a 4-2 and trigger Panthers’ best spell of the night.
Back-to-back 5-1s followed with a much-improved Simon Lambert leading home Busk Jakobsen in heat seven before Perry and Michael Palm Toft took the honours in heat eight.
That extended the cushion to a dozen points, but Redcar hit back as Hugh Skidmore made the most of a tactical ride in heat nine to earn a 7-2.
But that only provided brief respite as Panthers immediately regained the initiative. Busk Jakobsen took the flag in a 10th heat 4-2 before Ostergaard and Palm Toft streaked clear for a 5-1 in the next instalment.
That left Peterborough on the brink of a victory which was secured when Busk Jakobsen and Perry packed the minor places behind home reserve Lee Payne in a shared heat 12.
Ostergaard saw his maximum hopes ended when having to settle for third place in heat 13, but the exploits of Porsing, who signed off with his third success of the night, ensured another race advantage and clinched all four league points.
Allitt added: “Nick really bossed the meeting and that was great to see.
“Simon was much more like his old self again and we always thought that would be the case after a run of fixtures at places – Scunthorpe, Ipswich and Rye House – which have never been his tracks.
“Michael also came to the party with some important points after a slow start. He changed bike again after two rides, which is something that also worked at Rye House last weekend.
“Emil had a difficult night at reserve, but that is understandable when visiting a track for the first time.
“We opted to leave him in his final outing in heat 14 – even though Tom performed superbly again – and he came up with his best ride of the night.”
Peterborough return to action on Sunday when entertaining Somerset (5pm) in their first home league meeting.
REDCAR: Hugh Skidmore 13+1, Lee Payne 10+1, David Bellego 6, Stuart Robson (guest) 6, Jonas B. Andersen 4, Simon Nielsen 1+1, Jacob Bukhave 0.
PETERBOROUGH ‘T BALFE CONSTRUCTION’ PANTHERS: Ulrich Ostergaard 12, Nicklas Porsing 11, Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen 10+2, Tom Perry 7+1, Michael Palm Toft 5+2, Simon Lambert 5+1, Emil Grondal 3.