Andersen bounces back afterhitting anall-time low
You can’t keep a good man down for long – Panthers captain Hans Andersen is proof of that.
The Danish star endured one of the lowest moments of his long career as Panthers collected their first win of the season last Thursday night.
Andersen was certainly in no mood to celebrate the 46-44 triumph against Wolverhampton SGB Premiership Supporters’ Cup after failing to score from his four rides.
The miserable blank left him briefly contemplating retirement before putting his mind to correcting the mechanical issues plaguing his performance.
And he appears to have solved the problem rather quickly judging by a top-scoring 10-point haul as Panthers launched their SGB Premiership challenge with a Monday home success against Poole by the same scoreline.
“I was thinking of selling all my bikes and retiring after the Wolverhampton meeting,” admitted Andersen. “I even called my Mrs when I was on the train to the airport and told her I was packing up!
“To not score a point in a meeting is embarrassing for any rider. I just wanted to find a hole and cover myself up to be honest.
“I’ve scored points and won races in Poland this year and I knew there was something wrong in England.
“I’ve been in this sport long enough to be able to tell whether it is a problem with the bikes or the man on top.
“It’s hard to believe but I used exactly the same bike as Thursday again on Monday and had exactly the same set-up, but one little change I made to the clutch made all the difference.
“Last week it felt like I was driving a car with the clutch halfway down. My bike just wasn’t going forward in the way it should, but I managed to find the problem and get it sorted. It just shows how vital it is to have every little thing right.
“Monday was much better but I know there is still more to come. I could still do with a bit more speed so I might have to call my little mate Kenneth Bjerre and see what he’s using because he looked pretty fast here the other week!”
Success against reigning champions Poole provided a pleasing start to the league season and Panthers are now bidding to follow up that opening victory with derby glory on Easter Monday.
They host King’s Lynn at the East of England Arena (6.30pm) in the first clash between the A47 rivals for six years. Both clubs are owned by British Speedway Promoters’ Association (BSPA) chairman Keith ‘Buster’ Chapman who has been behind major improvement work on the Alwalton surface this winter.
Andersen added: “Winning meetings is always nice but to beat the reigning champions makes it even better.
“We knew it would be a tough task against Poole as they have a lot of riders who are very, very fast at our track, but we all stuck together and got the result we wanted.
“It’s a big derby on Easter Monday and it would be great to see a big crowd here for it.
“Buster has done a superb job with the track. It’s better than I’ve ever known it and you only have to look at the race times to see how fast it is.
“It’s true that the other teams will look forward to coming here, but we will only get better ourselves with the more laps we do.”
The King’s Lynn team is spearheaded by rising British talent Robert Lambert, who was sacked by Panthers back in 2015.
It also features popular Danish rider Michael Palm Toft, who had two spells in Panthers colours during their recent SGB Championship era.