Battered and bruised but Ulrich will still be riding

Ulrich Ostergaard in action for Panthers.
Ulrich Ostergaard in action for Panthers.
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Ulrich Ostergaard has vowed to race through the pain barrier as Panthers attempt to claim a mighty scalp tonight (Thursday).

The Danish racer is battered and bruised after a heavy smash when guesting for fellow second-tier side Lakeside at Berwick last Saturday.

Initial fears of a broken shoulder were thankfully proved wrong by X-rays, but Ostergaard was left in considerable pain by a high-speed tumble leaving the fourth bend at Shielfield Park.

However, he has declared himself available for Panthers’ trip to reigning champions Sheffield in the SGB Championship tonight, 7.30pm, and he has fond memories of the Tigers’ home at Owlerton Stadium.

Ostergaard said: “I got a little bit of grip coming off the corner up at Berwick and it shot me towards the fence.

“I felt like such an idiot because I was not thinking probably for half-a-second, but that’s all it takes to have a crash. I completely wrecked my bike so it hurt me in the pocket as well as in the body!

“I’m still a bit sore after the crash and struggling to move my shoulder a bit, but I’ve done some cycling and running this week and hopefully my shoulder holds up okay once I get on the speedway bike.

“I love Sheffield. It’s a big, fast track and I had one of my greatest days there when I won the Premier League Riders’ Championship in 2015.

“It’s a place that suits quite a few of our riders and hopefully we can get a good result there to continue our good start to the season.”

Panthers have won their only league meeting of 2018 to date – a home victory against Redcar last month – while Sheffield are yet to race in the SGB Championship.

The South Yorkshire side have signed Jan Graversen as short-term cover for injury victim Josh Bates. The Dane helped them to the title last season and makes his return tonight.

Panthers then face another away test tomorrow (Friday) when they travel to Edinburgh, 7.30pm.

The tight Armadale circuit is not generally a favourite with away riders and the city side will be fielding a depleted line-up.

Ostergaard and countryman Emil Grondal are both required in their homeland for Danish League meetings. Panthers operate rider replacement for Ostergaard, while veteran Newcastle man Carl Wilkinson has been drafted in to cover for the in-form Grondal.

TEAMS

SHEFFIELD: Kyle Howarth, Todd Kurtz, Lasse Bjerre, Jan Graversen, Charles Wright, Jack Smith, James Shanes.

PANTHERS (THURSDAY): Scott Nicholls, Emil Grindal, Nike Lunna, Michael Palm Toft, Ulrich Ostergaard, Tom Bacon, Simon Lambert.

EDINBURGH: Ricky Wells, Joel Andersson, Mark Riss, Max Ruml, Erik Riss, Matt Williamson, Josh Pickering.

PANTHERS (FRIDAY): Scott Nicholls, Carl Wilkinson (guest), Nike Lunna, Michael Palm Toft, Rider replacement for Ulrich Ostergaard, Tom Bacon, Simon Lambert.