The loss of one of the Peterborough Panthers’ stars of the season has paved the way for the return of a club favourite to the East of England Arena.
T he city club suffered another injury blow over the weekend when Aaron Summers’ season was brought to a premature halt by a broken foot.
The Aussie racer, who has been a consistent performer at reserve, was hurt in a Saturday (August 24) spill while riding for his SGB Championship club, Berwick.
However, team boss Carl Johnson wasted no time in filling that void by drafting in Danish veteran Ulrich Ostergaard for the rest of the club’s SGB Premiership season.
Ostergaard earned rave reviews for a nine-point performance when guesting for the club in the main body of a patched-up team for their defeat at Ipswich last week.
He will now slot in at reserve for their four remaining fixtures, starting with a trip to Swindon on Thursday (August 29, 7.30pm).
“Aaron was a last-minute signing and took his opportunity with both hands,” said Johnson.
“He has been fantastic for us and done exactly what we expected from him – which is scoring solidly home and away.
“He has turned into a favourite of the fans with his consistent performances and it’s a huge shame to see his season cut short.
“With Aaron sadly now injured, it makes perfect sense to bring Ulrich back in for the rest of the season.
“You only had to look at social media to see how happy our supporters were that Ulrich was in the side for the Ipswich meeting and it shows how popular he is with them.
“He really impressed me by riding so well at a track that doesn’t suit him. I think his opening three rides were the best races I’ve seen him have in all the years I’ve been watching or working with him.
“He was smooth, he was fast and it was clear how much he was enjoying riding for Peterborough again.
“Ulrich has been a great servant to the club and I know he can’t wait to come back and ride for us at the Showground once more with our last three league meetings after tonight all at home.
“And I’m really confident that he can get himself plenty of points as well. He’ll be at reserve and he is more than capable of winning races around our track.”
Ostergaard was a part of Panthers’ unforgettable title triumph in the Elite League (as it was then known) back in 2006.
He also rode for the club in five successive seasons from 2014 to 2018 during their stint in the SGB Championship.
Ostergaard was skipper for four of those campaigns including the Fours and KO Cup double-winning season of 2017.
He was also part of the successful Fours quartet of 2018 and earned a major individual honour when winning the second tier riders’ title back in 2015.
Panthers are expected to be back to full-strength for the visit to Swindon and Johnson is hopeful they can end a wretched run of seven consecutive away fixtures on a high.
They were pipped 46-44 in their previous visit to the Abbey Stadium back in May and would love to snap their nine-match losing run which has seen them cast adrift at the bottom of the standings.
“We ran Swindon very close earlier in the season,” recalled Johnson. “We were a bit disappointed to only get a point on that occasion.
“We’ve finally reached the end of a really tough run of away fixtures and it would be great if we finish positively with another decent performance and result down there.”