RATHBONE READS THE RIOT ACT

Friday June 12, 2015
PETERBOROUGH were read the riot act after surrendering their unbeaten Premier League record on Friday night.

The Readypower Panthers slipped to a 46-44 defeat at the hands of East Anglian rivals Ipswich at the East of England Showground despite double-figure hauls from star guest Brady Kurtz and captain Ulrich Ostergaard, who battled through the pain of ankle damage.

But it was a result which incurred the wrath of promoter Ged Rathbone as his side missed key men Lewis Blackbird and Robert Lambert to injury and unavailability respectively. There were also mechanical problems for Michael Palm Toft and Simon Lambert as Panthers lost vital ground in the chase for top spot in the standings.

Rathbone pulled no punches in a frank post-meeting interview and insisted he shared similarly candid views with his riders in the privacy of the changing room.

He said: “It was quite embarrassing in all honesty to be beaten in that way.

“We didn’t lose this meeting - we gave it away after being eight points up and it is completely unacceptable.

“The riders have been made aware of that and ordered to ensure it does not happen again.

“It was one of those nights where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.

“Michael had problems with a bike that he has been flying around the Showground on and Simon has had clutch issues all night.

“We’ve sorted those problems after the meeting, but things like that should be done in the workshop as they are professional sportsmen.”

Rathbone explained teenager Lambert’s situation was different to that of Danny King and Gino Manzares, who did represent Ipswich, after also riding in the Speedway World Cup Race-Off the previous night.

King took the chequered flag as the Witches pocketed a 4-2 in a winner-takes-all final heat to snatch victory.

Rathbone added: “It is a difficult situation concerning Robert. Everyone is well aware that Danny and Gino both made it back from the Race-Off.

“They were in a slightly different position as they had bikes in the UK to return to whereas Robert’s bikes were with him in Denmark.

“Robert could have made it back as well, but it would have been a tight schedule and any problems could have meant he missed it.

“We have to accept that Robert has been riding for his country which is a huge honour for both him and the club, but on reflection we have missed him massively.

“It is something we need to address as we have to put Peterborough first and be better organised with logistics of getting riders and bikes to meetings.”

Panthers built up an early cushion with 4-2s either side of a second heat 5-1. Simon Lambert won two of the opening three races before his mechanical gremlins struck.

Two 5-1s in the space of three races allowed Ipswich to level before they hit the front for the first time and it stayed that way when Simon Lambert packed up while holding third late in heat eight.

Panthers fell behind for the first time in heat nine as Palm Toft just failed to reel in Rohan Tungate but Kurtz beat the same Witches man in the next race as they immediately levelled.

Ipswich again edged ahead in heat 11 but a splendid 5-1 from Kurtz and Ostergaard nosed Panthers back into a narrow lead in heat 13.

The sides were level again after Palm Toft restricted Ipswich to a 4-2 in heat 14 with a fine, late pass on Stefan Nielsen, but there was no stopping the visitors in the finale.

Panthers will seek an immediate return to form when they travel to Newcastle on Sunday (June 14).

SCORES

READYPOWER PANTHERS: Brady Kurtz (guest) 13, Ulrich Ostergaard 11+1, Lambert 7, Michael Palm Toft 6, Matej Kus (guest) 5+1, Ollie Greenwood 2+1, Rider replacement for Robert Lambert.

IPSWICH: Danny King 12, Rohan Tungate 11, Stefan Nielsen 7+1, Nico Covatti 7+1, Gino Manzares 6+2, Ritchie Hawkins 3+1, Rider replacement for Cameron Heeps.

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