Oakes' big praise for Bjerre
NEW Panthers director of speedway Peter Oakes is convinced that Kenneth Bjerre can become one of the best riders in world speedway.Oakes is a big fan of the pint-sized Danish star and confirmed he is prominent in the club's plans for 2010.
NEW Panthers director of speedway Peter Oakes is convinced that Kenneth Bjerre can become one of the best riders in world speedway.
Oakes is a big fan of the pint-sized Danish star and confirmed he is prominent in the club's plans for 2010. The latter also applies to club skipper Niels Kristian Iversen.
Bjerre finished in eighth position in his debut season in the World Championship and regularly shone on the continent, but he came in for flak from supporters for his performances in Panthers colours.
But that hasn't stopped Oakes admitting he holds the 25 year-old in high regard.
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He said: "I believe Kenneth can become a genuine number one in the Elite League.
"Kenneth did very well in the GP series and only Jason Crump, Greg Hancock, Leigh Adams and Nicki Pedersen finished above him in the Polish League averages.
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"That takes some doing and if he can ride to that level in Poland, he can certainly do it in England.
"I have spent several hours talking to Kenneth to try to establish why that didn't happen last season. He was very open about the issue and I feel I am in a position where I now understand it.
"The reasons will remain private and only time will tell whether I am right.
"I do not believe for one minute that Kenneth was either not trying or keeping his best equipment elsewhere as was suggested at times during last season.
"Both Kenneth and Niels are very much in our thoughts for next year. I think Niels is a rider who would make a smashing second heat leader for a team whereas I think, in the right circumstances, Kenneth could easily put one-and-a-half points on his average."
Oakes also confirmed that club asset Hans Andersen has been asked whether he would consider riding for his parent club again in 2010.
Andersen was the heroic spearhead of the club's surge to Elite League title glory in 2006 but walked out over unpaid wages and sponsorship in 2008 before the arrival of the current regime led by Rick Frost.
Oakes added: "I understand that Hans has been asked whether he is keen to come to back to Peterborough and that we are awaiting an answer.
"I haven't spoken to him myself but I have nothing bad to say about Hans from our dealings together at Coventry in 2008."
Mads Korneliussen is the only member of Panthers' 2009 team that has been ruled out of a return. The Swindon asset is understood to be in the frame for a return to his parent club.
Panthers have also blocked any other clubs speaking to riders in their asset base.