Aussie arrives in the nick of time to help Panthers out

Ellis Perks.
Ellis Perks.
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Ellis Perks hopes his short-term stint with Panthers will be beneficial to rider and club.

The Australian-based British talent was snapped up by the city club late last week on a 28-day deal to fill the void left by Emil Grondal’s injury.

Perks made his debut in the 49-41 home success against Glasgow on Sunday – a result which lifted Panthers back into second place in the SGB Championship – only 48 hours after touching down on English soil.

And despite only having raced twice in 2017 ahead of that East of England Arena outing, and having travelled halfway round the world at short notice, Perks was in the points as he contributed 2+1 to the Panthers cause.

Perks, who missed out on a team place in the UK during the winter despite impressing last year, said: “It was a real rush to make it all happen, but I am delighted to have the opportunity to be back over here again.

“We worked a deal out really quickly after the first contact. I was on a plane 10 hours after getting the call!

“I landed in the UK at 5pm on Friday, then spent Saturday getting two bikes built and then rode on Sunday.

“I was nervous before the meeting and absolutely exhausted by the end of it, but the boys welcomed me into the team and gave me lots of good advice.

“It was good to be on the pace and get among the points after only doing two meetings back in Australia this year.

“I feel I can be a good asset for Peterborough over the next few meetings and it gives me a chance to put myself in the shop window at the same time.”

Team boss Carl Johnson was impressed with the way Perks settled into a number two berth he will occupy for the remainder of June.

That means four more appearances for the city club with the possibility of his initial deal being extended if Grondal is not ready to return to the saddle after suffering serious injuries – included a pelvic fracture – in a crash last month.

And Johnson also hopes Perks will be a valuable addition for upcoming away meetings at Scunthorpe (tomorrow) and Redcar (next Thursday).

He said: “Considering Ellis has only ridden twice this year and the fact that he got over here so quickly, I thought he performed well.

“I don’t think his score did him justice on Sunday and we’re confident he’ll pick up his fair share of points while he is with us. It is no secret we had an eye on the away meetings at Scunthorpe and Redcar when bringing him in.

“He’s ridden regularly at both of those tracks in previous years and hopefully that can work in our favour.”