CAPTAIN Kenneth Bjerre believes Peterborough Panthers can continue a fine start to the season by pocketing a point from a daunting away trip on Friday night (8pm start).
Bjerre admits claiming victory against fellow 100 per cent starters Lakeside will be a tall order, but he does believe Panthers can push the Hammers all the way.
Losing by fewer than seven points at the tight Arena Essex Raceway would be enough to earn a consolation point and keep Panthers’ impressive early-season tally ticking over.
The city side have already collected three points on the road thanks to a 47-43 victory at King’s Lynn as part of a Good Friday double over their local rivals. That’s more than the Panthers class of 2011 managed in the whole of last season while losing every away league meeting - a run which included a 66-24 drubbing at Lakeside last August.
Bjerre said: “Lakeside is always a tough place to go, but I think we can come away with a point.
“It was great to get an away win at King’s Lynn last week and we need to build on that. “It is important to score points on the road if we want to reach the play-offs.
“Lakeside looked a good team with a very powerful top three riders, but we have more strength throughout our side and hopefully we can stick with them and get that point.”
Bjerre is spot-on about the Hammers’ three-pronged spearhead of Peter Karlsson, Davey Watt and Lee Richardson.
They boast a wealth of experience and class amongst them and should lead Lakeside into the play-offs.
And Bjerre also hopes to show his quality tonight after being plagued by mechanical problems throughout the triumphs against Lynn a week ago.
The Dane was restricted to just nine points in two meetings against Lynn and scored a third of those when borrowing a bike belonging to his brother, Lasse, to win a last-heat decider at the Norfolk Arena.
Bjerre has shipped in two new engines for tonight and is anxious to make amends.
He added: “The bikes worked well when we practised ahead of the season but we’ve had trouble in meetings. I’ve got two new engines here for tonight though so hopefully I can go out and have a good meeting.
“I didn’t score the points that are expected of me last Friday and I’m determined to make up for that.”
Bjerre’s younger sibling, Lasse, gets the nod over fellow Dane for the number two position tonight and Richard Lawson continues in the doubling-up reserve berth.
Panthers: 1 Kenneth Bjerre, 2 Lasse Bjerre, 3 Olly Allen, 4 Jesper B. Monberg, 5 Linus Sundstrom, 6 Richard Lawson, 7 Michael Jepsen Jensen.
The new Thundercats junior side make their racing debut tonight.
They take on the Junior Hammers in their first Anglian Junior League outing at 6.45pm.
1 Peter Karlsson
2 Kauko Nieminen
3 Davey Watt
4 Robert Mear
5 Lee Richardson
6 Richie Worrall
7 Kim Nilsson
Peter Karlsson still oozes class at the grand age of 42.
‘The Doctor’ is a demon around small tracks so should take a winter move from Wolverhampton to Lakeside in his stride.
OTHERS TO WATCH Davey Watt was another classy winter capture for a team expected to lay down a strong challenge for the Elite League title.
The experienced Australian was snapped up on loan after skippering Poole to the Elite League and KO Cup double last season.
One-time Panthers number one Lee Richardson completes a potent spearhead while young Swedish reserve Kim Nilsson is a top talent.
Robert Mear should be easy to spot - his bike colours have a worrying amount of pink on them.
Like Panthers, Lakeside also enjoyed a Good Friday double.
Theirs came against Eastbourne to follow up an opening Elite League win over Belle Vue.
v Eastbourne (a) W51-45
v Eastbourne (h) W55-36
v Belle Vue (h) W61-32
Shale is usually in short supply at the Arena Essex Raceway, which is not much more than a stone’s throw from the M25.
It’s also tiny at 252 metres and the Hammers tend to enjoy a big home advantage.
LAST TIME THERE
A depleted Panthers team riding without a number one suffered the second biggest defeat in the club’s history when going down 66-26.
Troy Batchelor was their only race winner all night.
Panthers scores: Batchelor 12, Linus Sundstrom 9+1, Norbert Kosciuch 2, Kacper Gomolski 1, Richard Lawson 1, Magnus Karlsson (guest) 1, Rider replacement for Nicki Pedersen.
LAST WIN THERE Panthers triumphed 51-39 at Lakeside in September, 2010 - a victory which all but clinched their place in the Elite League play-offs.
Current campaign Kenneth Bjerre dropped only one point as he won four of his five races.
Panthers scores: Bjerre 14, Niels Kristian Iversen 12+1, Rory Schlein 9+1, Troy Batchelor 8+1, Krzysztof Buczkowski 5+2, Mat Tresarrieu 2, Norbert Kosciuch 1+1.