PANTHERS BATTLE TO A POINT

Thursday June 26, 2014
REDCAR 47, PETERBOROUGH 43: PETERBOROUGH pocketed a richly-deserved Premier League point - despite only having five fit riders for much of a narrow loss at Redcar.

The 'TC Harrison' Panthers were a man down from the start after Ales Dryml was ruled out with a back injury and they then saw Lasse Bjerre controversially withdrawn on medical advice.

Bjerre was deemed unfit to continue after suffering a wrist injury in the first of two heat six tumbles, but Panthers battled on valiantly without their influential Dane to push their hosts to the limit.

And there was another major talking point in a last-heat decider as top-scorer Lewis Blackbird was excluded for hitting the deck when attempting to pass home rider Richard Lawson on the outside.

Skipper Ulrich Ostergaard's second place in the re-run ensured Panthers left with a point, but team boss Carl Johnson cut a frustrated figure afterwards.

He said: "I challenged the decision of the Redcar paramedic over Lasse being unfit to race because we were adamant he was absolutely fine, but it was to no avail.

"It was very disappointing to lose a rider like that as and I also felt the decision in heat 15 went against us as Lewis was left no racing room whatsoever.

"It still goes down as a great point under the circumstances, but it is tinged with disappointment as we know we could have won the meeting."

Panthers held a six-point advantage after just four races as two Blackbird-inspired 4-2s were followed by a 5-1 from the Danish duo of Bjerre and Nicki Barrett in heat four.

They remained ahead until conceding a 5-1 in heat nine when Bjerre's place had to be taken by reserve Barrett, but responded well as Blackbird completed a hat-trick of wins by leading home Ryan Fisher for a maximum in heat 11.

Ostergaard took the flag in a 4-2 in the next race before Panthers were again hurt by the loss of Bjerre when conceding a 5-1 in heat 13 as the hosts drew level.

Redcar then claimed 4-2s in the final two races to take victory, but Panthers collected a valuable point for a stirring performance.
They continue their travels tomorrow night (Friday) when facing unbeaten Premier League leaders Edinburgh.

Bjerre is expected to be fit to race at Armadale (7.30pm start) while they will again operate the rider replacement facility to cover the absence of Dryml.

Number one Fisher is expected to be a key figure after helping the Scottish side to two Premier League titles in recent years.

SCORES:

REDCAR: Carl Wilkinson 12, Hugh Skidmore 11, Richard Lawson 7+2, Aaron Summers 7, Jan Graversen 4+1, Luke Crang 4, Rafal Konopka 2.

'TC HARRISON' PANTHERS: Lewis Blackbird 13, Ulrich Ostergaard 12+1, Joe Jacobs 6, Ryan Fisher 5+2, Nicki Barrett 4+1, Lasse Bjerre 3 (withdrawn), Rider replacement for Ales Dryml.

HEATS
1 – Blackbird, Skidmore, Fisher, Lawson. 2-4, 2-4.
2 – Crang, Jacobs, Konopka, Barrett. 4-2, 6-6.
3 – Blackbird, Wilkinson, Ostergaard, Graversen (fell). 2-4, 8-10.
4 – Bjerre, Barrett, Summers, Konopka (ret). 1-5, 9-15.
5 – Wilkinson, Blackbird, Fisher, Graversen. 3-3, 12-18.
6 – re-run x2 Skidmore, Lawson, Jacobs, Bjerre (fell/exc). 5-1, 17-19.
7 – Ostergaard, Summers, Jacobs, Crang. 2-4, 19-23.
8 – Skidmore, Blackbird, Konopka, Barrett. 4-2, 23-25.
9 – Wilkinson, Graversen, Jacobs, Barrett. 5-1, 28-26.
10 – Skidmore, Barrett, Ostergaard, Lawson. 3-3, 31-29.
11 – Blackbird, Fisher, Summers, Crang. 1-5, 32-34.
12 – Ostergaard, Graversen, Jacobs, Konopka (fell). 2-4, 34-38.
13 – Summers, Lawson, Fisher, Jacobs. 5-1, 39-39.
14 – Wilkinson, Ostergaard, Crang, Barrett. 4-2, 43-41.
15 – re-run Lawson, Ostergaard, Wilkinson, Blackbird (fell/exc). 4-2, 47-43.

Picture: COLIN POOLE

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