Team boss John­son so proud of his Pan­thers

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - SPORT - by Mark Plum­mer SPEED­WAY COR­RE­SPON­DENT

Team boss Carl John­son was thrilled to end Peter­bor­ough Pan­thers’ decade-long wait for hon­ours - and he hopes it won’t take an­other 10 years to cap­ture more sil­ver­ware.

John­son suc­cess­fully plot­ted the city side’s SGB Cham­pi­onship Fours tri­umph last Sun­day as they lifted a tro­phy for the first time since 2007 thanks to a mag­nif­i­cent per­for­mance from Chris Har­ris, Ul­rich Oster­gaard, Paul Starke and Si­mon Lam­bert.

It was a spe­cial suc­cess for John­son - a lo­cal man who briefly rode for the club, has been a life­long sup­porter and also held var­i­ous be­hind-thescenes roles.

He said: “It gave me a huge buzz and the mem­o­ries of Sun­day will stay with me for a long time.

“There is no bet­ter feel­ing than de­liv­er­ing a tro­phy for a fantastic set of sup­port­ers, who al­ways turn out in big num­bers home and away.

“We had the team to win things in 2014 - our first sea­son back in this league - be­fore hit­ting fi­nan­cial prob­lems and we were strong again in 2015 when we reached the semi-fi­nals of the play-offs.

“Last year didn’t go to plan at all and it’s been tough at times again this sea­son with in­juries hit­ting us hard, but we know we’re as good as any team in the league on our day and we showed that by win­ning a big event.

“To do it in front of so many of our own fans made it even bet­ter.

“Ev­ery­one from the track staff to the rid­ers pulled to­gether to make sure it was a great day for the club and a ter­rific one for the sport in gen­eral.

“I rode for the club, I’ve sup­ported the club and I’m mas­sively proud to be the team man­ager on a day when we picked up our first piece of sil­ver­ware for a decade.

“Hope­fully we won’t be wait­ing an­other 10 years to win more.

“We’re still not giv­ing up on the play-offs, we’re still in the KO Cup and we’ve got the Pairs to look for­ward to now it’s been re­ar­ranged.”

John­son in­sists that adopt­ing a siege men­tal­ity - as well as a re­laxed at­ti­tude - was ben­e­fi­cial for the Fours.

He gave his quar­tet a sim­ple tar­get of mak­ing it through to the fi­nal and to en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence once there.

“We knew we had been writ­ten off by a lot of peo­ple af­ter al­low­ing Jack Holder to ride in Poland and also los­ing Bradley Wil­son-Dean to in­jury,” added John­son.

“So we de­cided to use that to our ad­van­tage and set out to sur­prise them.

“Our goal was to make the fi­nal and af­ter man­ag­ing that we knew any­thing could hap­pen. Avoid­ing last places was cru­cial and we only had one of those all day.

“All four boys were bril­liant and I can’t praise them enough.”

Pan­thers’ fo­cus now shifts back to the SGB Cham­pi­onship cam­paign with three away meet­ings in as many days.

They go to Ed­in­burgh to­mor­row (Fri­day), Ber­wick on Satur­day and then visit New­cas­tle on Sun­day - and pos­i­tive re­sults are re­quired if they are to eat into the 15-point gap be­tween them­selves and the play-off places.

Skip­per Oster­gaard misses the Ed­in­burgh clash due to a Dan­ish League com­mit­ment while Har­ris is out of the Ber­wick trip due to an SGB Premier­ship clash.

Wil­son-Dean will miss all three meet­ings af­ter hurt­ing his hand in a spill last Satur­day night while rid­ing for his SGB Premier­ship side, Swin­don.

Re­serve Tom Ba­con is hope­ful of lin­ing up for Pan­thers af­ter suf­fer­ing a par­tial dis­lo­ca­tion of the shoul­der while rid­ing for Birm­ing­ham in the Na­tional League on the same night.

“All four boys were bril­liant and I can’t praise them enough”

“The mem­o­ries of Sun­day will stay with me for a long time”

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