Jenkins (20), who rides for Redcar in the Championship and Oxford in the National Development League, comes in for Dan Gilkes who suffered long-term injuries in a crash at Scunthorpe last month.
But with this season’s regulations enabling clubs to pick between their ‘Rising Star’ riders on a match-by-match basis, Jenkins is set to come into the team in place of Jordan Palin for next Monday’s trip to King’s Lynn (May 30).That is pending a successful comeback outing in Poland earlier this week, as Jenkins missed two recent league matches for Redcar having suffered a minor knock, which delayed Panthers’ official announcement of his signing.
Jenkins said: “I was surprised to get the ‘phone call but it was nice to finalise everything with Dale (operations manager, Allitt) and I’ve had a good conversation with Rob (team manager, Lyon).
“I spoke to my granddad because it’s a step I need to make at some point, whether it be now or next season.
“I feel I’m riding well and I’m scoring good points in the Championship, the National League and in Poland, so why not add to the already busy calendar and fill it up a bit more?
“Fair play to Jordie (Palin), he was on fire last year, and this is like a squad system where I’ll step in if I’m needed to, and hopefully I can do a job. It’s a good opportunity for me.”
Boss Lyon is keen to use the word ‘rested’ rather than ‘dropped’ regarding 18-year-old Palin, who enjoyed a spectacular burst of form during the Panthers’ charge to glory last season, but has been unable to recapture that so far in 2022.
Lyon said: “We looked at what was available and felt that Jordan Jenkins was probably the best option for us.“I know him from No Limits (training) days and so on, so it did make sense and it was just a shame he had an injury last week which meant he couldn’t ride on Monday in the Pairs.“With Jordan Palin, it’s just a couple of matches that we’ve rested him for, and that’s what the No.7/No.8 scenario is all about this year.
“It provides some competition, and hopefully Jordie will come back all guns firing, and we’ll see him back in the team in the future.”
An important week for Panthers in general, and several of their riders in particular, also includes a home clash with Wolverhampton next Thursday (June 2) with a real urgency to now put league points on the board before they are left behind in the play-off race.
Panthers are the only team in the Premiership yet to score a point. They are already 11 points behind early-season leaders Belle Vue Aces.
Standings: 1 Belle Vue M6 11pts, 2 Sheffield M2 6pts, 3 Ipswich M3 6pts, 4 Kings Lynn M3 4pts, 5 Wolverhampton M2 3pts, 6 Panthers M3 0pts.
Panthers also finished last of six teams on the opening night of the Premiership pairs event at the Showground.
Team boss Rob Lyon said: “It was a frustrating night, and really it’s the way our season has gone so far. We couldn’t get both boys (Chris Harris and Michael Palm Toft) firing at the same time, but that’s the way it goes.“It’s disappointing that we finished last on our own track. I have to be honest about that."