COVENTRY suffered one of their worst reverses in club history when they were hammered 70-20 at Peterborough on Friday.
The 50-point margin of defeat equals the result from Oxford in June 2004 when the Buildbase Bees were beaten 71-21, although that did include two ‘free’ points as in those days riders were able to score double on a tactical ride even when not beating an opponent.
But it was still a desperate night at the Showground as Bees showed no sign of finding any answer to a rampant Panthers side who were quicker from the starts, more decisive in the first turns and generally pulled clear whilst out-front.
And to make matters worse for the Bees, they saw Stuart Robson taken away with an ankle injury after a clash with Dakota North in Heat 12.
In total, the home side carded eleven 5-1s, five of them coming in the first six races, and as the meeting approached the midway stage Coventry’s only hope appeared to be with rain moving in.
But the meeting was quite correctly run at rapid pace and the conditions then improved to enable the full meeting to take place, and for the impressive Panthers to take their club record win.
The four occasions when Bees riders did manage to beat an opponent were Michal Szczepaniak finishing ahead of home guest Chris Harris for second place in Heat 1; Aaron Summers holding off a late charge from Dakota North in Heat 7; guest Kozza Smith and Grzegorz Zengota for a 3-3 in Heat 12 after North had been disqualified for causing Robson to fall, albeit both Bees were passed by Patrick Hougaard in the re-run; and Heat 14 when Summers, Bees’ best rider on the night, again defied North in an entertaining battle.
Summers and Zengota briefly looked set to spoil the Panthers’ hopes of hitting the 70-point mark – an unusually high score in modern-day speedway – when they gated ahead of Harris in Heat 15, but the former Coventry man blasted around both in trademark style to team up with Ryan Fisher for a final 5-1.
Fisher was one of four unbeaten Panthers riders, going through the card from six rides with Hougaard, Krzysztof Buczkowski and Joonas Kylmakorpi also scoring paid maximums.
Coventry promoter Mick Horton said: “That was the worst night I’ve experienced in speedway. I’m devastated for the supporters and I can only apologise. If I could ride the bike, I would.
“We weren’t there at all, not for one race, and I am so, so disappointed. It’s not good enough, it’s unacceptable and there is no reason why we should be performing like this. I’m sure the riders are devastated as well, and we’ve got to make some decisions.
“I’m taking nothing away from Peterborough, though. On their current form they will beat anybody around here. They were fantastic, and fair play to them.”
PETERBOROUGH 70: Ryan Fisher 14+4, Patrick Hougaard 14+1, Chris Harris 13, Krzysztof Buczkowski 10+2, Joonas Kylmakorpi 10+2, Dakota North 9+2, Norbert Kosciuch r/r.
BUILDBASE BEES 20: Aaron Summers 6, Kozza Smith 4, Krzysztof Kasprzak 3, Grzegorz Zengota 2+1, Scott Nicholls 2, Michal Szczepaniak 2, Stuart Robson 1.
PETERBOROUGH 70 Chris Harris 1 3 3 3 3 = 13 Ryan Fisher 3 3 2* 2* 2* 2* = 14+4 Norbert Kosciuch Rider Replacement Krzysztof Buczkowski 2* 3 2* 3 = 10+2 Joonas Kylmakorpi 2* 3 3 2* = 10+2 Dakota North 2* 1 3 2* X 1 = 9+2 Patrick Hougaard 3 3 2* 3 3 = 14+1
BUILDBASE BEES 20 Krzysztof Kasprzak R 1^ 1 1 = 3 Michal Szczepaniak 2 0 0 0 = 2 Grzegorz Zengota 1 0 T 1* 0 = 2+1 Aaron Summers 0 2 1 2 1 = 6 Scott Nicholls 1 1 0^ 0 = 2 Stuart Robson 0 0 1 N = 1 Kozza Smith 1 0 1 0 2 0 = 4