Peterborough Panthers joint team boss Trevor Swales insists he wouldn’t swap his 2012 line-up for any other in the Elite League.
Swales will go into battle – alongside new co-manager Jan Staechmann – with what he believes is an ideal blend of young talent and proven experienced riders.
He is convinced that every single rider in his nine-man squad can improve upon their starting average once the new campaign gets underway next month.
Should that belief turn into reality, a very good year could be ahead for a side spearheaded by returning Grand Prix star Kenneth Bjerre.
“I certainly wouldn’t want to swap my team with anyone,” said Swales. “I’m very happy with the line-up we have put together and I’m very much looking forward to the season getting underway.
“There was a lot of criticism when we first released the team but I think a lot of those people have now realised why we built it in the way we did.
“We believe it was worth sacrificing a so-called second heat-leader to ensure we managed to get young Michael Jepsen Jensen at reserve.
“The management believe the vast majority, if not all, of our riders are capable of improving their averages.
“If that happens it will certainly put us there or thereabouts in terms of reaching the play-offs which is the minimum target for everyone.
“Coventry showed a couple of years ago when beating Poole in the Grand Final that it doesn’t matter whether you top the league by 20 points or whether you sneak in to the top four through the backdoor, once you are there you can win the title.”
And Swales is convinced that Panthers will benefit from a fine team spirit in the months ahead. That was a commodity sadly lacking last year as the club fell short of the play-offs and bowed out of the KO Cup at the quarter-final stage.
Swales added: “The lads are already getting on great. I know they are all talking to each other and swapping emails about things ahead of the season.
“It is ever so important to have riders that get on well. A good team spirit is definitely worth points on the track.”
Panthers have now been joined by eight of their nine Elite League rivals in completing their team for the new season.
Only last season’s runners-up Eastbourne are still to complete their line-up. The Sussex side are searching for a new rider to slot in at reserve.
But Swales and co are not concerned about the goings-on elsewhere. He continued: “We are not worrying about who has gone where – we’re just concentrating on making sure everything is right to make it a good season for Peterborough Speedway.”
Young Aussie pair to join the ‘Sullivan Seven’ side
AUSTRALIAN youngsters Cameron Heeps and Rohan Tungate have been added to the line-up for Panthers’ season-opening challenge clash on March 19.
The teenage Ipswich duo will line-up for the ‘Sullivan’s Seven’ side providing the opposition for Panthers when the tapes go up on the new campaign.
They join club legend Ryan Sullivan, reigning world champion Greg Hancock, Nicki Pedersen and Panthers doubling-up men Rene Bach and Kyle Newman in the visiting side of the pits.
The ‘Sullivan’s Seven’ will be bossed by Panthers joint team manager Trevor Swales while fellow co-boss Jan Staechmann will take charge of the Peterborough line-up.
PANTHERS launch their new winter open practice sessions at the East of England Showground on Saturday.
The events, which run from 10.30am until 2pm, are also being held on February 18, February 25 and March 3.
Any riders wishing to take part must be fully-licensed and need to book their place with Panthers club official Wendy Jedrzejakski on 07824 413002.