Peterborough Panthers legend is so sad about the probable demise of Peterborough Panthers

Panthers legend Ulrich Ostergaaard.Panthers legend Ulrich Ostergaaard.
Panthers legend Ulrich Ostergaaard.
​Each week, one of the Peterborough Panthers’ Class of 2023 will be taking us behind the scenes with their news, views and opinions.

​But, for a change, Holeshot Media talk with a Panthers’ legend, former skipper Ulrich Østergaard who will be having his farewell meeting at the East of England Arena on Sunday, July 2.

Ulrich first joined Peterborough in 2006 and played a big part in the club’s top-flight championship wins in both his debut season and 2021.

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He said: “I came over to be at Monday night’s meeting to start working on my farewell meeting and I plan to come over quite regularly during the next few months.

Ulrich Ostergaard leads the way for Panthers.Ulrich Ostergaard leads the way for Panthers.
Ulrich Ostergaard leads the way for Panthers.

“I still follow what is happening at the club and hearing about it having to close down at the end of the season hit me hard. It always hits me hard hearing things like that. I have heard it a few other times at clubs I have ridden for, but there have been those times when people have come in and taken over and have tried to take the club forward.

“But this time it is a lot more sad as it doesn’t seem like there is any chance of anyone coming and saving the Panthers right now and that’s hit me very hard.

"I have got some very good memories. It’s where my heart is, it’s where I have ridden the most laps and to see the Showground go and no place for the team to move to is very emotional for me.

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"There have been rumours, but I kind of feel this could be the last one, the last season, and because of that I want to try and go as much as I can this season.

“Obviously, I have got work at home in Denmark. I am working for Peder Bøndergaard who I rode against in the 80cc competitions.

“I’m a car mechanic, that’s what I did for a few years before I came to the UK to do full time speedway, but I’m working as a plumber for Peder’s business.

"He is a good mate and about eight years ago I started working for him in the winter and when I said I was going to stop racing he said I could work full time which is what I am doing now.

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"I can’t take a lot of days off but I will fly in and watch a meeting whenever I can. I will be sad when I can’t do that anymore.

“Retiring? Of course it wasn’t easy at all and it came out of the blue to be fair. I broke my hand in a crash at Glasgow last August and it took a long time to get it working again.

"The hand is now 80% okay, but I still have a few side effects, it hurts when I do a few things even though it’s eight months ago now. I can do my job and the other things I need to do in my life and I have been told it will eventually be 100%, everything back to normal, but it will take more time to heal fully.

“The doctors said it would take six weeks to heal and after five weeks I got back on a bike, but it was too painful, I couldn’t hold on. I just went back in the car and on the way home, I thought maybe that’s it, maybe the hand will not be very good again.

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"That was the first time I had ever thought of retiring. Even when I broke my back in 2021, the day after I woke up and I knew I was definitely going to be back on a bike. I never even thought that was it, I always knew I would race again.

“This time I began thinking that maybe I’d done enough laps, hurt myself enough and maybe it was time to do other things in life.

“When you have been in something for 20 years you always ask yourself are you really sure you don’t want to try and give it another go?

“I’m pretty calm with the decision. Obviously there have been teams asking whether or not I would consider coming back. I’m not usually very good making decisions, but I feel this is the right one. In some ways it’s sad, but in some other ways it opens the doors to do something else.

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“I’d loved to have carried on riding and would have done so if my head and body was 100%, but I didn’t want to be just a number in the team. I wanted to be a heat leader, to score the points of a heat leader instead of riding around and not feeling 100%.

“I’m never going to say never, but at the minute I can’t see me racing again. It’s been a big part of my life but there is nothing saying I want to be back on a bike. I watched the meeting on Monday, there were a few crashes, close racing and I felt I didn’t want to be out there, I didn’t want to fall off that bike in more. That’s the way my head feels!”

Peterborough Panthers are next in action at the Showground against Ipswich on Monday, May 8 (7.30pm), but have away trips to Belle Vue (Monday, April 24), Sheffield (Thursday, April 27) and Wolverhampton (Monday, May 1) before then.