Speedway - Ostergaard leads the way as Panthers hit top spot

Ulrich Ostergaard leads the way in heat four. Picture: David Lowndes
Ulrich Ostergaard leads the way in heat four. Picture: David Lowndes
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Captain Ulrich Ostegaard led Peterborough Panthers’ charge to the top of the Premier League . . . and he insists they are there to stay.

The city team moved to the summit with a resounding 55-37 success over Rye House at the East of England Showground yesterday (April 26).

It was a second league triumph in the space of four days as they followed up a Thursday (April 23) drubbing of Redcar in similarly impressive fashion.

And while it is far too early in the season to start getting excited about a possible title challenge, it was difficult not to be impressed with what a patched-up Panthers side produced.

They settled a score in style by slamming in half-a-dozen maximums to avenge a Premier League Cup home defeat at the hands of the Rockets a month earlier.

Star turns Brady Kurtz and Ostergaard combined for the last of the 5-1s in the finale to complete their own and their team’s high-scoring showings.

The young Aussie guest and the seasoned Panthers skipper slammed in four race wins apiece to contribute 13-point hauls while Simon Lambert continued his impressive form at reserve with paid nine.

And there were solid shifts from all remaining members of the city septet as they brought their sizzling away form back to Alwalton.

Ostergaard said: “It is early days to be talking about being top of the league, but it is to be able to look on the websites and in the newspapers and see us up there.

“The challenge for us is to make sure we stay there and we have already showed we have guys who can be successful on all types of tracks.

“Everyone did a good job to get us the win and that was important because we wanted to put right the result in the League Cup against Rye House.

“We are very disappointed to be out of that competition, but everyone knows about the bad luck we had with injuries.

“We still have the league and the KO Cup to try to win and we are determined to make it a good season.”

Panthers fell behind in an incident-packed opening race as Michael Palm Toft retired on the opening lap before Rockets man Robin Aspegren hit the deck with the visitors on a 5-1.

Guest number one Richard Lawson managed to take evasive action to avoid the Swede and referee Chris Durno awarded the race as a 3-2 in favour of the visitors with Edward Kennett out in front by some distance.

But the response from Panthers was impressive as they slammed in a hat-trick of 5-1s to take command and leave Rockets team boss John Sampford in need of his tactical ride as early as heat five.

Kennett made no mistake when taking the double-points mission after swooping round the outside of Kurtz on the opening lap of a re-run caused by his partner Aspegren demolishing the tapes. He then made no impact off a 15-metre handicap.

Again Panthers replied impressively as Lawson and Palm Toft snatched another 5-1 and the hosts were 18 points to the good after the same due had collected a 4-2 in heat 10.

Ostergaard then emerged victorious following a terrific tussle with fellow unbeaten captain Kennett in a shared 11th contest and another Kurtz success in the next race ended any faint hopes of Rye House pinching a point.

Ostergaard lost his unbeaten record to countryman Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen in heat 13. Mechanical gremlins meant he also lost second place to Kennett in the final few metres of the race, but that was just a minor hiccup on a happy afternoon for man and team.

A polished performance was given further shine when he and Kurtz combined in the finale to finish on a high.

Panthers return to action at Plymouth on Friday (May 1).

SCORES

PANTHERS: Brady Kurtz (guest) 13+1, Ulrich Ostergaard 13, Simon Lambert 8+1, Richard Lawson (guest) 8, Lewis Blackbird 5+3, Michael Palm Toft 4+2, Ollie Greenwood 4+1.

RYE HOUSE: Edward Kennett 13+1, Nico Covatti (guest) 13, Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen 7, Anders Mellgren 2+1, Robin Aspegren 2+1, Tom Perry (guest) 0, Rider replacement for Steve Boxall.