Panthers perfect for improving Polish racer Rafal

Rafal Konopka wins heat two against Edinburgh. Picture: David Lowndes
Rafal Konopka wins heat two against Edinburgh. Picture: David Lowndes
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Reserve racer Rafal Konopka reckons Panthers is the perfect club for him.

The Polish rider’s arrival in late June attracted fierce criticism in some quarters after he had struggled during the previous season-and-a-half with Redcar.

But Konopka has proved the doubters wrong after being given the opportunity to swap a basement battle for a title challenge by promoter Ged Rathbone.

Konopka said: “I’m very happy here and I’m enjoying my racing.

“I’m learning every meeting and my confidence is growing all the time.

“I’m surrounded by some great people who are helping me a lot. Ged showed a lot of faith in me to give me the chance to ride for Peterborough.

“I prefer the Showground to the track up at Redcar and my head is in a better place as well.

“In the future it is my dream to ride in Poland as well as Britain. I believe that you can achieve anything if you work hard.”

Konopka couldn’t hide his disappointment after Panthers slipped up on home shale for the fifth time this season on Sunday.

The city men went down 49-41 to table-topping reigning champions Edinburgh just 48 hours after triumphing 45-44 in the reverse fixture in Scotland.

Konopka added: “It was a hard meeting on Sunday, but we were not far away from getting the win.

“We don’t like to lose, but we have a good team and I feel we can win the league.”

Konopka did manage to maintain a fine personal record on Sunday by winning heat two for the fifth successive meeting.

And while things might now be going to plan for the 22 year-old, that hasn’t always been the case.

Konopka, a late starter in the sport at 19 years-old, broke his back during his debut season in Poland and then had to move to England early last season to earn another chance in the sport.