Bjerre back to help the Pan­thers

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Sport - By Mark Plum­mer SPEED­WAY CORRESPONDENT

The fastest Pan­thers rider in his­tory has re­turned to boost their hopes of Premier League glory.

Ken­neth Bjerre has stepped in for the fi­nal weeks of the 2016 sea­son. He is the most no­table ar­rival in a ruth­less re­vamp of a side now strug­gling to hold onto a play-off place.

An­other blast from the past, Richard Hall, also re­turns 10 years af­ter help­ing the club to the Elite League ti­tle. They­will both fea­ture in a cru­cial dou­ble-header on Sun­day when Pan­thers host Rye House (2.30pm) and Work­ing­ton (5pm).

“We have made the two big­gest sign­ings of 2016 in the Premier League,” said pro­moter Ged Rath­bone.

“We brought in Craig Cook ear­lier in the sea­son and have now per­suaded Ken­neth to join us for the rest of the­sea­son. It is won­der­ful that he is so keen to help the club out.”

Pan­thers have also signed Dan­ish ace An­ders Thom se na nd Bri­tish rider Danny Halsey.

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

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).

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 Show ground 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, 2006Elite League ti­tle-win­ner Richard Hall, in a ma­jor over haul 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( O st er ga a rd) 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).

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.

Ken­neth Bjerre.

Wel­come back! Pro­moter Ged Rath­bone (right) with re­turn­ing Pan­ther Ken­neth Bjerre.

Elite League ti­tle win­ner Richard Hall is also back at Al­wal­ton.

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