Peterborough Panthers star Kenneth Bjerre suffered heartbreak last night (September 3) in his bid to seal a World Championship return.
The Danish ace was controversially beaten by Swedish rival Freddie Lindgren in a run-off for third place in the Grand Prix Challenge.
Both riders racked up 11 points from their five rides at the Vetlanda track in Sweden, but it was the home racer who prevailed in a head-to-head battle for the final spot on the sport’s biggest stage in 2017.
The result was allowed to stand even though Bjerre felt his opponent twice had both wheels inside the white line, which should earn an exclusion.
“It was my big goal for this year to make it back into the GPs,” said Bjerre. “I’m hugely disappointed not to make it.”
Bjerre, a World Championship regular from 2009 to 2014, could still earn one of four available wildcards for next season.
And he could also make the cut if Lindgren finishes in the top eight of this season’s standings. The Swede is currently 10th with four rounds to go.
Bjerre had been expected to make his eagerly anticipated Panthers return today (September 4), but the club’s big Premier League double-header against Rye House and Workington has been postponed due to a waterlogged East of England Showground track.
Club bosses are working to re-arrange both meetings ahead of the September 19 cut-off date for results to count towards the standings for the play-offs.
GRAND PRIX CHALLENGE
Scores: 1 Patryk Dudek 15pts, 2 Martin Vaculik 14, 3 Fredrik Lindgren 11+3, 4 Kenneth Bjerre 11+2, 5 Martin Smolinski 10, 6 Peter Ljung 9, 7 Krzysztof Kasprzak 7, 8 Nicolas Covatti 7, 9 Piotr Pawlicki 6, 10 Max Fricke 6, 11 Sam Masters 5, 12 Mikkel Bech Jensen 5, 13 Brady Kurtz 5, 14 Krzysztof Buczkowski 5, 15 Max Fricke 3, 16 Robert Lambert 1, 17 Vaclav Milik did not ride.