BLACKBIRD BLOW IN CUP WIN

Monday May 25, 2015
PETERBOROUGH claimed a narrow Travel Plus Tours KO Cup first round, first leg triumph over Plymouth at the East of England Showground this afternoon (Bank Holiday Monday).

The Readypower Panthers edged to a 46-44 success in a meeting overshadowed by the loss of Lewis Blackbird to injury after a heat nine crash.

Blackbird suffered a suspected broken jaw and was taken to Peterborough City Hospital also complaining of back pain after a nasty spill in the fourth turn.

Reserve Simon Lambert was the star performer for Peterborough as he piled up 15+1 from a full seven-ride shift – included a first outing in heat 15 for the club.

But Plymouth again provided tough opposition at Alwalton in a meeting book-ended by 5-1s from their leading duo, Kyle Newman and Jack Holder, to set up a mouth-watering second leg at the St Boniface Arena next month.

Panthers team boss Carl Johnson admitted: “First and foremost our thoughts are with Lewis after a really nasty crash.

“I was a long way away from the incident but it looked at first as though either his chain had snapped or his engine had seized to cause his bike to stop so suddenly.

“Neither of those things look like being the case though judging by checks on the bike afterwards and Lewis can’t remember much of the accident himself.

“He was very groggy and looks to have broken his jaw. He was also in a bit of pain with his back and we obviously hope that proves to be something muscular rather than spinal.

“Losing Lewis was a big blow and it certainly made a tough meeting even more difficult on a day when we were already relying on rider replacement.

“We had hoped to go down to Plymouth with a double-figure lead, but that is not the case. The main thing is we got a win and there is no reason why we can’t finish the job in the second leg.

“We have beaten Plymouth twice at their place in convincing fashion and going down there holds no fears to us.”

Panthers suffered a nightmare start today when on the receiving end of a 5-1 in the opening heat, but they quickly clawed their way level courtesy of successive 4-2s.

Lambert bagged the first of his trio of triumphs in heat two to inspire a 4-2 and Blackbird roared clear to take the flag in the next race.

Two 5-1s in the space of three races put Panthers on top and both were achieved in exciting fashion as home riders caught former Peterborough man Ryan Fisher in the closing stages.

Robert Lambert was first to pick the American’s pocket to follow in namesake Simon in heat four and Michael Palm Toft repeated the feat leaving the last corner of heat six with skipper Ulrich Ostergaard out in front.

Plymouth steadily ate into their arrears and they were left only two points adrift after new signing Todd Kurtz, an impressive guest for Panthers on occasions last season, took his second win of the afternoon in heat 12.

The next race will live long in the memory as Palm Toft eventually came home in front after a titanic tussle involving all four riders on all four laps.

The Dane made the decisive move on Fisher on lap three, but the Devils man and his partner Newman managed to keep Robert Lambert at the rear despite plenty of attacking moves from the youngster.

Panthers did increase their advantage courtesy of a fine 5-1 from their reserve duo in heat 14. Simon Lambert took the flag when filling in for the withdrawn Blackbird and partner Ollie Greenwood deservedly kept Morten Risager at bay to cross the line in second.

But Plymouth replied with a maximum of their own in the finale to leave everything to race for in the return clash on June 18.



SCORES

READYPOWER PANTHERS: Simon Lambert 15+1, Ulrich Ostergaard 9, Michael Palm Toft 8+2, Robert Lambert 8+1, Ollie Greenwood 3+1, Lewis Blackbird 3 (withdrawn), Rider replacement for Olly Allen.

PLYMOUTH: Kyle Newman 11+1, Jack Holder 10+3 Todd Kurtz 8, Ryan Fisher 6+1, Morten Risager 5, Sam Simota 4, Matt Williamson (guest) 0.

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