BACK ON TRACK

Sunday July 05, 2015
PETERBOROUGH climbed to within two points of the top of the Premier League table on an afternoon packed full of positives.

The Readypower Panthers succeeded in their mission to return to winning ways by seeing off battling Redcar 51-41 in an all-action clash at the East of England Showground.

It certainly wasn’t a cakewalk though as they saw a 12-point cushion reduced to just four before teen talent Robert Lambert and skipper Ulrich Ostergaard claimed a couple of crucial heat advantages late on.

Lambert was back to his best with a dozen points while Ostergaard announced his arrival in the number one spot by starring in three 5-1s on his way to paid 13.

There was also a pleasing debut for World Under 21 finalist Emil Grondal with a paid six-point haul while reserve Rafal Konopka also opened his account in his second meeting in Peterborough colours with a valuable 3+1.

“The riders well aware they needed to deliver a response,” said team boss Carl Johnson, who took sole charge today. “And that is exactly what they did.

“Redcar might be struggling at the bottom of the table, but this was never going to be an easy meeting as they have riders who are very capable at the Showground.

“The crowd deserved a good performance and they got one apart from two-or-three races when we struggled to get out of the start and let Redcar back into the meeting.

“But we got back on top in the final few races and ensured we picked up the result we needed in what is our only home meeting of the month as things stand.”

Three maximums in the opening six races put Panthers in command.

They enjoyed the perfect start with Ostergaard and Lewis Blackbird bagging a 5-1 in a re-run opening race after former Panthes star Lasse Bjerre had been excluded for tumbling in the opening bend.

They didn’t have to wait long for another as the Lambert namesakes Robert and Simon excelled in heat four before Blackbird and Ostergaard again combined to great effect in heat six.

Redcar immediately deployed Matej Kus on a tactical ride in heat seven but the Czech ace was no match for Robert Lambert who sped clear after charging down the inside on the opening lap.

That move reduced the visitors’ gains to a 5-3, but it marked the start of a stirring comeback as they clawed their way back into the contest.

Reserve Adam Roynon, who was forved out of the Panthers side after being hurt in a spill on the opening day of their 2015 season, was unsurprisingly a key figure on his return to the Showground.

He completed a hat-trick of heat wins when the Bears bagged a 4-2 in heat nine and there was a further blow for Panthers when Kus and Jonas B. Andersen claimed a 5-1 over Ostergaard and Blackbird, who had previously enjoyed two maximums of their own, in heat 10.

Bjerre ended Robert Lambert’s unbeaten run following a terrific scrap in a shared heat 11 and honours were also even in the next race when Kus became the second visiting rider to complete a treble.

Panthers gave themselves much-needed breathing space when Ostergaard charged through the eye of a needle on the opening lap of heat 13 to roar from last to first and inspire a 4-2 in a race which will live long in the memory.

It also paved the way for countryman Michael Palm Toft, his partner in the Premier League Pairs 48 hours earlier, to clinch victory in the penultimate contest with a blast down the inside of Andersen.

There was still plenty of drama ahead as Redcar duo Bjerre and Kus knew a share of the spoils in the finale would secure a consolation point.

But Bjerre came to grief when attempting to squeeze past Ostergaard going through the second round of turn three and earned an exclusion from referee Barbara Horley.

Despite Bjerre’s spill leaving the hosts in possession of a comfortable 5-1, Horley ordered the race to be re-run, but there was no late twist as Lambert led from start to finish with Ostergaard storming back past Kus into second place to complete an impressive success in style.

Panthers return to action in a televised trip to Berwick on Wednesday when they will be without their three Danish riders – Ostergaard, Palm Toft and Grondal – due to fixture clashes in their homeland.

SCORES

READYPOWER PANTHERS: Robert Lambert 12, Ulrich Ostergaard 11+2, Michael Palm Toft 8+1, Lewis Blackbird 7+1, Simon Lambert 5+4, Emil Grondal 5+1, Rafal Konopka 3+1.

REDCAR: Matej Kus 14, Adam Roynon 10+1, Lasse Bjerre 8, Jonas B. Andersen 5+2, Stuart Robson 3, Jan Graversen 1, Ben Morley 0.

Picture: STEVE HONE

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