Iversen finishes fifth on his return
SPEEDWAY: Iversen, Batchelor and Schlein all qualify for the semi-final stage
PANTHERS skipper Niels Kristian Iversen made a successful return from injury on a great World Championship weekend for the club’s riders.
The Danish ace, a GP regular back in 2006 and 2008, safely negotiated his way through a tough field in a first round qualifier at Fjelsted, Denmark in his first meeting after a near six-week lay-off with a broken shoulder blade.
Iversen claimed two victories on his way to 10 points – good enough for a fifth place on a day when the first nine finishers advanced to the semi-final stage of the qualifying programme.
He said: “I had a few nerves in the practice session before the meeting, but everything went well. In fact I was better than I thought it would be.
“My shoulder didn’t give me any problems when I was out on the bike and it also felt pretty good yesterday after the meeting.
“I scored points in every race and I now feel I am ready to return to racing for my clubs.
“I just need to get meetings under my belt which will hopefully mean I get sharper and stronger.”
Iversen will now line-up in one of three semi-finals which are being staged at Lonigo in Italy, Ostrow in Poland and Togliatti in Russia on July 3.
Also through to that stage are Panthers’ Aussie duo of Troy Batchelor and Rory Schlein.
Big winter signing Batchelor notched nine points for a comfortable top-six finish at Miskolc in Hungary, where Panthers’ assets Ales and Lukas Dryml were second and third respectively.
But Batchelor’s countryman, former Showground track recordholder and reigning World Under 21 champion Darcy Ward was a surprise casualty.
Over in Italy, Schlein was third behind Simon Stead and Martin Smolinski at Terenzano to make sure of his place in the last 48.
Recent arrival Schlein finished one point adrift of Stead and was then second to his old Coventry pal Smolinski in a four-rider run-off for second place.
Panthers man Krzysztof Buczkowski withdrew from his qualifier in Balakovo after aggravating his broken foot in a crash at Wolverhampton last Monday.
Buczkowski underwent hospital tests during last week and the Polish rider was advised not to risk further injury by taking a 13-hour flight to Russia.
IMPRESSIVE DISPLAY: Rory Schlein.
TWO WINS: Niels Kristian Iversen made a pleasing return from injury.
NINE POINTS: Troy Batchelor.