Ostergaard not given a chance to defend his title

Ulrich Ostergaard in action against Edinburgh Monarchs on Sunday.
Ulrich Ostergaard in action against Edinburgh Monarchs on Sunday.

Ulrich Ostergaard is said to be ‘gutted’ that he won’t have the chance to defend his Premier League Riders’ Championship title.

The Panthers captain enjoyed one of the greatest days of his long career when powering to victory in the prestigious annual event last season.

But he has not been including in the line-up for the 2016 staging at the same Owlerton Stadium venue in Sheffield next month.

The meeting features the top rider from each of the 13 Premier League clubs - that’s Craig Cook in Panthers’ case - plus three riders with the highest averages who have not already been included.

But there is no guaranteed place for the reigning champion and Panthers promoter Ged Rathbone believes that should change.

He said: “Ulrich is absolutely gutted that he is not in the PLRC this year.

“The success last year meant so much to him, and to all of us connected with Peterborough Speedway.

“The fact that the reigning champion does not automatically feature in the following year’s event needs to be looked at.

“It won’t do any good for Ulrich this year, but it is certainly something I’ll be taking up with the British Speedway Promoters’ Association (BSPA) for the future.”

But Rathbone is hopeful the individual trophy will remain in Panthers’ possession courtesy of Cook.

The World Cup silver medallist is certain to be among the favourites for success at Sheffield on September 11.

Cook is a previous winner of the PLRC having triumphed back in 2012 and Rathbone added: “Craig is definitely the rider everyone will have to beat in my opinion and hopefully he can ensure the trophy stays at Peterborough for another year.”