LUCKLESS Peterborough dispelled any ideas Pirates’ charge for the Elite League crown was going to be a cakewalk last night.

Panthers, written off as serious title contenders following their shock 47-43 home reverse against Eastbourne on Monday, produced more race winners than Poole, eight to seven, to stun the home crowd.

And the Cambridgeshire outfit would probably have become the first visitors to prise away a precious point from the Dorset side this term if Kenneth Bjerre’s bike hadn’t broken down while he was leading heat 15.

The Dane, showing all the class that saw him lead the Grand Prix series earlier this year, outgated Bjarne Pedersen and Chris Holder comfortably.

Bjerre was leading down the finish straight at the end of the first lap, with Troy Batchelor in third, when the Peterborough rider’s hand went up to indicate he had a mechanical problem.

Pedersen accepted the gift, blasting past crestfallen Bjerre.

Then, with a slowing Bjerre inadvertently impeding Batchelor’s progress as he went round turns one and two, forcing to Aussie to slow up, Holder fizzed inside the Panther on the back straight into second.

So, in the matter of five seconds or so, a probable Peterborough 4-2, which would have seen them lose only 47-42 and pick up an away point, slipped away.

Instead, Pedersen and Holder whizzed on to grab a fortunate 5-1 that saw Pirates sew up an 11-point victory, which clearly flattered them despite some great moments from the Dane, Holder, Darcy Ward and Artur Mroczka.

With Davey Watt seriously off-key, and Leon Madsen and Jason Doyle unpredictable, Panthers will feel particularly aggrieved they didn’t end Poole’s 100 per cent home winning record.

If Rory Schlein, who’d won his opening two rides, hadn’t picked up an ankle injury while finishing second behind Holder in race 10, they might even have won at fortress Wimborne Road.

Many in the Panthers camp felt Holder’s hard charge past Schlein on the back straight of the third lap had been unfair.

Holder, himself, admitted after the meeting he had inadvertently hit Schlein’s leg, and quickly apologised for doing so in a centre green interview.

Holder’s third-to-first burst – fair or not – was the highlight, although Batchelor’s brilliant heat six effort, as he kept cool to peg fast-charging Holder and Ward behind him to take the chequered flag, ran it close.

Mroczka expertly clamping down Batchelor on the inside of the first bend, so Pedersen could blitz past both on the outside, was also a key moment as Poole claimed a heat nine 5-1.