The Peterborough Panthers injury curse has struck again . . . after their favoured guest saw his season brought to an end.
Ben Barker, who was scheduled to stand in at number one for the city club’s three meetings in the next two days, is now out for the rest of 2018.
Barker suffered a broken arm and dislocated shoulder when crashing in the final of the Silver Helmet individual meeting at his regular club, Redcar, last night (September 27).
Panthers bosses have moved swiftly to draft in Newcastle man Tero Aarnio for their double-header against Lakeside at Rye House tomorrow (September 29).
The two teams meet in an SGB Championship Shield semi-final first leg at 7pm with a KO Cup quarter-final second leg then following on. Panthers boast a 14-point aggregate advantage in the latter competition.
The city side then welcome Lakeside to the East of England Arena on Sunday (September 30, 5pm) for the Shield second leg. Another Redcar man, Thomas Jorgensen guests at number one in that meeting.
Panthers team boss Carl Johnson said: “It sums our luck up with injuries to lose Ben.
“He’s a rider we have used regularly as a guest in the past and someone who would have featured regularly for us in the next few days as well.
“We’ve had to change our plans and we’re pleased to have Tero and Thomas on board for the weekend.
“Tero rode very well at Rye House the other Saturday when Newcastle were in action there before we also faced Lakeside. He scored double-figures and beat the big Hammers riders.
“Thomas is a guy who scores well at our track and we believe both men are capable of getting the points we need on each night.”
Panthers have hired Glasgow man James Sarjeant (Saturday) and Newcastle racer a Carl Wilkinson (Sunday) as reserve guests this weekend.
They will operate the rider replacement facility for Kiwi ace Bradley Wilson-Dean after he underwent collar-bone surgery yesterday (September 27) which is highly likely to finish his season.
Johnson added: “The situation we’re in is obviously far from ideal, but the riders know what is at stake.
“The pressure is on at this stage of the season but I’m confident we will handle it well.
“Our own riders and all the guests we book are determined to help us win trophies.
“The aim this weekend is to reach the final of the Shield and the semi-final of the KO Cup and hopefully the fans will get behind us.”