Team spirit off the track will be the key to success says Swales

Trevor Swales wants Panthers to recreate the spirit of 2006 in 2017.

Thursday, 9th March 2017, 9:25 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:03 am
New Panthers number one Jack Holder.

The city club are one of 10 sides battling for glory in the newly-named SGB Championship, with the campaign getting underway later this month.

And co-promoter Swales – who was team boss when Panthers famously captured the Elite League title 11 years ago - believes togetherness off the track will be just as important as performances on it.

He said: “We all know that a great spirit off the track is worth points on it – and that spirit grows if riders get on well.

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“I think we will have that this year, just like we did in 2006 when we won the Elite League.

“We had a bunch of riders back then who were terrific on and off the track, and were a pleasure to work with. It was great to be around them – they had so much fun while being successful.

“Every member of that team had an important role and I think it will be same this season. We’ve built the team in such a way that every man has a big part to play.”

And Swales also believes healthy competition will create a winning formula for the club.

The averages of six of their riders - from new number one Jack Holder, who starts the campaign on 7.16, to reserve Bradley Wilson, who races off 5.02 - are covered by little more than two points.

British prospect Tom Bacon, on a two-point figure, is the other member of a new-look septet which also includes winter recruits Kenneth Hansen and Paul Starke.

Ulrich Ostergaard and Simon Lambert are the only members of last season’s side to be given returns.

Swales added: “Having strong competition between riders is essential as it keeps everyone on their toes.

“The fact we have so many guys, who are so close in terms of averages, will give us little battles all the way through the team.

“Jack will want to keep the number one berth whereas Kenneth and Ulrich will both want to get there.

“Then you’ve got Paul, who will want to be pushing for a heat leader position, while Bradley will be keen to climb up into the main body of the team from reserve. That means Simon will have to go well to stay in the top five.

“I’m confident young Tom will boost his average as well. He’s very professional for someone still in the early days of their career, and he has an excellent package of equipment.”

Panthers stage their Press & Practice Day next Friday (March 17) at the East of England Showground, where major track work has been carried out during the winter months.

They are scheduled to have their first meeting on Sunday, March 19 against a Coventry Bees side.

That is still expected to go ahead despite their opponents no longer competing in the SGB Premiership this year.