Thursday September 23, 2010
THE READYPOWER PANTHERS secured third place in the Sky Sports Elite League with an impressive late fightback at Ipswich.

The Showground side were a massive 16 points down after just six heats, with the home side looking like ending their league campaign with a huge win.

A combination of two successful tactical rides and some gritty riding from Dakota North meant that the Panthers left Foxhall with a well-deserved point.

The meeting got off to a good start, with Kenneth Bjerre easing to an opening-heat win. The Witches struck back immediately, with the strong reserve partnership of Dawid Stachyra and Linus Sundström showing their class in heat two.

Panthers’ skipper Niels-Kristian Iversen has been struggling to find his best form recently, but the Danish World Cup star was majestic for the city side and he raced to an excellent heat three win.

The Witches then registered three successive maximum heat advantages to extend their lead to 16, with even a point looking increasingly unlikely for the Panthers. An awkward crash for Craig Cook in heat six resulted in a suspected broken collarbone for the Workington man, which meant that the Panthers were down to just six riders.

Iversen provided the away team with a much-needed spark, this time teaming up with Rory Schlein for an 8-1, with the Dane donning the black-and-white helmet colour.

Again Ipswich struck back straight away, with former Panther Ales Dryml and the superb Sundström beating Krzysztof Buczkowski and the battling North.

The second half of the meeting saw a much-improved performance from the away team, gaining nine more points than their East Anglian counterparts.

Dryml raced to an easy win in heat nine, before Iversen and Schlein again teamed up for a heat advantage in the next race.

Yet another shared heat was followed by a home 5-1, Sundström again causing the Panthers problems with his fifth win of the night.

Team manager Trevor Swales’s decision to put Kenneth Bjerre on a tactical ride in heat 13 paid off; the GP man making a lightning start to bring home all six points, whilst Troy Batchelor filled in for third place.

With the prospect of a point now a serious possibility, it was down to Iversen and North to give hope to the travelling fans and take the meeting to an exciting climax.

No-one would have predicted the outcome of the race: North riding the best four laps of his career to join Iversen at the front and hold on for a vital 5-1, spoiling Sundström’s chances of a maximum in the process.

With Kenneth Bjerre needing to catch a 4am flight to Italy for this weekend’s Grand Prix, Trevor Swales entrusted the fruitful combination of Schlein and Iversen to give his side a point.

The Australian made an excellent start, and battled former teammate Scott Nicholls for four laps to hold on to the win, whilst Iversen held off Danny King to secure the required heat advantage.

Iversen, who registered 16 points, was happy to regain some form: “My form hasn’t been so good lately but today was a lot better.

“We’re disappointed because we came here to win and we didn’t, at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about. We needed to start the meeting how we finished it and we would have won.”

He added: “We have two big meetings now in the Knockout Cup, and I think that we can win them.

“Obviously Poole are the best team in the league, and will probably win the league, but if we get our heads together we can cause them trouble.

“We’ve got a bit of time until our next meeting so we have to regroup and hope that we can end the season on a high.”

IPSWICH 50 (Scott Nicholls 9:1 (1:1-2-2-2-2), rider replacement Chris Slabon, Daniel King 6:2 (2-2:1-F-2), Ales Dryml 11:1 (1:1-3-3-3-1), Robert Miskowiak 3:1 (2:1-1-0-0), Dawid Stachyra 7:1 (2-2:1-FD-0-3), Linus Sundström 14:1 (3-3-3-2:1-3-0).

PETERBOROUGH 46 (Kenneth Bjerre 12 (3-1-2-6), Krzysztof Buczkowski 1:1 (0-0-0-1:1), Rory Schlein 7:1 (R-2:1-1-1-3), Niels-Kristian Iversen 16 (3-6-3-3-1), Troy Batchelor 5 (1-1-2-1), Craig Cook 0 (0-FD-N-N), Dakota North 5:2 (1-0-1-1:1-F-2:1).

Heat 1: Bjerre, Stachyra, Nicholls, Buczkowski, 3-3.
Heat 2: Sundström, Stachyra, North, Cook, 5-1.
Heat 3: Iversen, King, Dryml, Schlein, retired, 3-3.
Heat 4: Sundström, Miskowiak, Batchelor, North, 5-1.
Heat 5: Dryml, King, Bjerre, Buczkowski, 5-1.
Heat 6: Sundström, Nicholls, Batchelor, Cook, fell, disqualified, 5-1.
Heat 7: Iversen (TR), Schlein, Miskowiak, Stachyra, fell, disqualified, 1-8.
Heat 8: Dryml, Sundström, North, Buczkowski, 5-1.
Heat 9: Dryml, Batchelor, North, King, fell, 3-3.
Heat 10: Iversen, Nicholls, Schlein, Stachyra, 2-4.
Heat 11: Stachyra, Bjerre, Buczkowski, Miskowiak, 3-3.
Heat 12: Sundström, King, Schlein, North, 5-1.
Heat 13: Bjerre (TR), Nicholls, Batchelor, Miskowiak, 2-7.
Heat 14: Iversen, North, Dryml, Sundström, 1-5.
Heat 15: Schlein, Nicholls, Iversen, King, 2-4.

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