OUR FOUR SOME ARE AWESOME
Team boss Johnson so proud of his Panthers
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”