Monberg believes he has plenty in reserve
OLD hand Jesper B. Monberg is convinced he can pick up from where young gun Michael Jepsen Jensen left off in the Panthers reserve ranks.
Monberg is relishing the challenge of succeeding high-scoring Jepsen Jensen at the bottom of the order when the city club return to action with two tough away trips in as many days this week.
A combination of bad weather and an unexpected drop in Monberg’s starting average to below the assessed figure of Jepsen Jensen brought the 20 year-old rising star’s stay at the reserve to a rapid end after just three competitive meetings.
That was still enough time for him to rack up a half-century of points and now Monberg – the senior member of the city side at 34 – hopes he can notch some big numbers of his own, starting at Birmingham tomorrow night and Lakeside on Friday.
Monberg said: “Michael has been very good and I would really like to produce the same sort of perform- ances. I have lots of experience and I feel I can do it.
“I’ve had very few meetings so far this season and my bank account is not looking too good, so I am looking forward to getting plenty of rides and hopefully scoring lots of points for the team.
“I should have a couple of easier races in heat two and heat eight and hopefully I can make the most of them.
“My fitness levels are very good so it won’t be a problem for me to take six or seven rides in a meeting if that is what is needed.”
Monberg is enjoying life back in the Panthers lair for the first time since helping the them to Elite League title glory in 2006.
He has made a steady rather spectacular return to his parent club, notching paid seven and paid six respectively in the Good Friday derby double over King’s Lynn before managing just 2+1 in the club’s only other competitive outing – a 50-45 defeat at Eastbourne on April 21.
Monberg believes a major mechanical change during the winter (he switched from Jawa engines to those made by GM) was a contributory factor to his struggles that night in Sussex, but he’s confident he has now mastered his new equipment.
He added: “I had a tough night at Eastbourne but I’ve done a lot of practising back home in Denmark since then and have found a lot of speed.
“I rode on Jawa egnines for eight years so it was a big deal for me to change over to GM. It takes time to find the right set-up and get used to the new equipment.
“It has caught me out on a few occasions but I’m really happy now and can’t wait to get racing regularly.”
Joint Panthers team boss Trevor Swales admits the pressure is on Monberg to deliver the goods and soften the blow of Jepsen Jensen’s unwanted rise into the main body of the team.
“We knew Michael wouldn’t be at reserve forever,” said Swales. “But we hoped his move up into the main body would happen later rather than sooner.
“It hasn’t worked out that way but we were well aware when putting the team together though that either the doubling-up combination of Rene Bach and Lasse Bjerre or Jesper would be likely to drop down to reserve at some point.
“It turns out it is Jesper who has moved down and the pressure is now on him to score points in the same way Michael was doing.
“It’s a big challenge but one I’m sure he is capable of meeting.”
PETERBOROUGHTHUNDERCATS made a losing start to life in the Anglian Junior League on a day when nothing went to plan.
The city club’s youngsters were beaten 26-10 at Mildenahll on Sunday when only being able to track three riders after bike problems in the warm-up ruled out Adam Portwood.
Thundercats suffered five successive heat losses before top-scorer Ben Holloway and Jamie Collins managed a 3-3 in the final race.
Team manager Neil Day said: “It was a bad start with Adam Portwood having bike problems and Adam Kirby looking a little rusty, but they both have a lot to offer and will come good.
“It was a real captain’s display from Ben though who looked very controlled.”
Thundercats are back in action at Lakeside on Friday.
Thundercats: Ben Holloway 5, Jamie Collins 3+1, Adam Kirby 2, Adam Portwood did not start.
PANTHERS skipper Kenneth Bjerre has a new club in Poland.
The Dane penned a deal with Ekstraliga outfit Czestochowa and made his debut for ‘The Lions’ in a 58-32 home drubbing at the hands of title favourites Gorzow on Sunday.
Bjerre moved after being frozen out at previous club Wroclaw. Polish top-flight sides are only permitted to track one GP rider and they had preferred Swedish flyer Freddie Lindgren to Bjerre in the early part of the campaign.
Bjerre said: “I’d had enough of Wroclaw who were just messing me about.
“I think they have something against me because of all the problems I had with getting my payment last year.
“Not racing in Poland has caught me out a bit and I just want to race over there. It’s a top league with all the top riders in it.”
RELISHING A NEW CHALLENGE: That’s Jesper B. Monberg (right).