The return of the quick Panther is a major boost

Kenneth Bjerre could potentially miss the birth of his second child to pull Panthers out of a Premier League pickle.

Thursday, 1st September 2016, 11:30 am
Updated Thursday, 1st September 2016, 12:31 pm
Promoter Ged Rathbone (right) welcomes Kenneth Bjerre back to Alwalton.
Promoter Ged Rathbone (right) welcomes Kenneth Bjerre back to Alwalton.

The Danish star has agreed to step into the city side for the rest of the 2016 season, starting with a crucial East of England Showground double-header against Rye House (2.30pm) and Workington (5pm) on Sunday.

Huntingdon-based Bjerre, who starred for Panthers in seven Elite League seasons, has vowed to do all he can to help the club cling on to a place in the play-offs.

And the 32 year-old insists he will have maximum commitment as he drops into the second tier of the sport for the first time since 2003 - even though his fiancée Sofie could give birth at any time. She is actually due tomorrow (Friday).

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Bjerre said: “I spoke to Peterborough during the winter and we agreed a deal, but I just couldn’t commit to a full season in the end.

“I promised I would help the club out if my other commitments allowed me to do it, and I’m now in a position when I can race for the rest of the season.

“I have to be honest and admit it is not ideal to be back in the Premier League, but it is also really important to me to see a club I have always loved be successful.

“Some people might think I’m only here to earn some money at the end of the season, but that’s completely wrong. What I will make in the Premier League is peanuts compared to what I can get in other countries.

“Also, why would I sign up to race on Sunday when I know my fiancée could give birth at any time? I think that proves how committed I am regardless of what some people might think.

“I’m bringing in a mechanic and engines from the continent. I will be racing on my very best equipment and I will have full focus. Anything less than that, and I will lose races.

“I never managed to win a trophy while riding for Peterborough and maybe that can happen now.

“Sunday is going to be a massive day for the club and we have to win both meetings. If we can’t do that then we don’t deserve to be in the play-offs.

“I was having a look on the internet the other day and I couldn’t believe it when I saw how many home meetings Peterborough have lost this season.

“That never used to happen and I know there have been a few issues with the track. The Showground does not need to be too rough or too grippy.

“It just needs to be smooth and then we can ride it flat out, just like it was in 2010 when I broke the track record a few times.”

Bjerre, who will race on an 8.22 average, is joined by another familiar face, 2006 Elite League title-winner Richard Hall, in a major overhaul of the Panthers team.

Hall also slots into the side on Sunday and could be on a bargain mark of 3.29 following a tough spell at Sheffield earlier in the season.

Two other new recruits, popular Danish ace Anders Thomsen and British rider Danny Halsey, made their debuts in a 45-45 deadlock against struggling Redcar on Bank Holiday Monday. Thomsen scored paid 11 against the Bears while Halsey managed a single point.

Bjerre added: “We have a very strong top four now and I think myself, Cookie (Craig Cook), Ulrich (Ostergaard) and Anders (Thomsen) should be able to get 40 points between us in every meeting.

“That means the other guys at the bottom of the team only need to get something like six or seven for us to win. I think we can all do that and hopefully the fans will get behind us.”

New Panthers line-up: Craig Cook (av 9.96), Kenneth Bjerre (8.22), Ulrich Ostergaard (8.08), Anders Thomsen (6.62), Richard Hall (3.29), Zdenek Holub (3.00), Danny Halsey (3.00).

n Bjerre could be a World Championship rider again by the time he returns to the Panthers fold.

He rides in the Grand Prix Challenge at Vetlanda, in Sweden, on Saturday night when a top-three finish will earn a return to the sport’s biggest stage for 2017.