Wednesday July 08, 2015
PETERBOROUGH stormed to the top of the Premier League table – and now they’re out to stay there.

The Readypower Panthers jumped to the summit with a stunning 49-41 away triumph at Berwick in front of the nation tonight – leapfrogging previous joint leaders Edinburgh and Somerset in the process.

Guest number one Steve Worrall spearheaded the Shielfield Park charge with a 12-point haul as Peterborough successfully extended their unbeaten away league record despite being without three regular riders.

The victory was marred by the loss of young gun Robert Lambert, who had reeled off a hat-trick of heat wins before leaving the track in an ambulance after being caught up in a nasty heat 9 spill. Thankfully early indications suggest his hip injury is not too serious.

Panthers were well on the way to victory by then though. A devastating streak of six heat advantages in the opening eight instalments put them in command as they powered into a 20-point lead.

And they stood strong following Lambert’s unfortunate exit to clinch victory with two races to spare and also pocket all four available league points.

Joint team boss Carl Johnson said: “It was another fantastic performance to secure another unbelievable result on the road.

“We started superbly, took the meeting by the scruff of the neck and kept going to grab a really impressive victory. Mark my words, not many teams will win at Berwick.

“It was a huge blow to lose Robert because he was in such brilliant form, but the team spirit and character shone through again.

“We knew we still had a job to do as we didn’t want to leave with anything less than four league points.

“It feels brilliant to be top of the table again and we are all determined to stay there.”

Prolific reserve Simon Lambert was a key figure in Panthers’ super start as he appeared in the opening four races.

He took third to secure a 4-2 in an opener won by Worrall before leading home reserve partner Rafal Konopka for a 5-1 in heat two.

Stand-in skipper Lewis Blackbird’s exclusion for a tapes offence led to Lambert being sent out again in the third race as he followed in guest Adam Roynon for a share of the spoils before joining forces with namesake Robert for a 5-1 in heat four.

Berwick responded by deploying their star man Thomas Jorgensen on a tactical ride but, for the only time in six rides, he failed to deliver as Worrall and Blackbird continued Panthers’ dominance with another 5-1.

A third-to-first blast earned Robert Lambert his second success of the night in a shared sixth race before Blackbird atoned for his earlier error with a tapes-to-flag triumph in a heat seven 4-2.

Robert Lambert continued his hot streak in the next contest when his namesake Simon was gifted second spot when Richard Hall hit the deck.

Robert Lambert’s night turned sour after tangling with Jorgensen entering the opening corner of a ninth heat re-run and only the superb reactions of Konopka prevented an even nastier incident.

Berwick took full advantage of the teenage star’s withdrawal by slamming in a 5-1 when that race was eventually completed at the first attempt and another swiftly followed in heat 10 when Argentinian capture Fernando Garcia claimed a first-ever race win in British speedway.

A Worrall triumph to inspire a heat 11 4-2 checked the home side’s momentum and Panthers’ victory was eventually sealed beyond doubt when the same man took the flag in a shared heat 13.

Maximum points were assured in dramatic style in the penultimate race when Simon Lambert was rewarded for a lengthy pursuit of Hall with a blast down the inside leaving the final bend to pinch third spot.

Worrall saw his hopes of a deserved maximum dashed when dropping to the rear in the finale, but that was merely a minor irritation at the end of another memorable night for Panthers.

Johnson added: “I cannot praise the riders enough. The two guests were a pleasure to have in the team and all six boys scored important points.

"Confidence is high and the atmosphere is fantastic regardless of whether or not we have riders missing. We're like a little family who enjoy working together."

Panthers are back on track on Friday when they travel to bottom side Scunthorpe.

They welcome back Danish duo Ulrich Ostergaard and Michael Palm Toft, but their countryman Emil Grondal will again be missing.

Blackbird is also absent due to an Elite League fixture and club bosses have booked Czech ace Matej Kus to take his place.

BERWICK: Thomas Jorgensen 16+1, Kevin Doolan 10+3, Ryan Fisher (guest) 8+1, Fernando Garcia 5+1, Richard Hall 2, Alex Edberg 0, Rider replacement for Claus Vissing.

READYPOWER PANTHERS: Steve Worrall (guest) 12, Simon Lambert 10+3, Lewis Blackbird 9+1, Robert Lambert 9 (withdrawn), Adam Roynon (guest) 6, Rafal Konopka 3+1, Rider replacement for Emil Grondal.

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