Panthers season starts off with a bang!

PETERBOROUGH’S 2013 campaign gets underway with a bang at the Showground on Thursday - both on and off the track!

PETERBOROUGH’S 2013 campaign gets underway with a bang at the Showground on Thursday - both on and off the track!

The new-look Readypower Panthers host Elite League rivals Lakeside (7.30pm) in the first of a two-legged opening challenge, with the sides set for a rapid return at Purfleet on Friday.

And the evening will also include a giant fireworks display to mark the start of another spectacular season of racing.

Panthers hand debuts to winter signings Kenni Larsen, Ryan Fisher and Patrick Hougaard, whilst skipper Kenneth Bjerre and Linus Sundstrom are both back after injuries curtailed the end of their 2012 participation.

The Hammers, meanwhile, have hit the headlines this week by making a team change with British youngster Richie Worrall losing his place in their line-up due to a contract dispute.

That has spelt good news for ex-Panther Richard Lawson, who was without an Elite League berth this season but has now joined Lakeside – although a prior commitment for his Premier League club Workington rules him out of the Challenge.

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The visitors have therefore called up one of their former riders, Stuart Robson, as a guest, but they still include three former Panthers in evergreen Swede Peter Karlsson, new signing Lewis Bridger and the returning Piotr Swiderski.

Panthers boss Jan Staechmann admits the Lakeside fixtures are an important part of the build-up to the Elite League programme, which gets underway on Good Friday against King’s Lynn – with the whole sport hoping for an improvement in weather conditions after several clubs saw practice sessions curtailed or postponed.

Staechmann said: “We need the weather to start playing ball, so we don’t get a repeat of last year! But I think everyone has managed to get some laps in at various tracks in various countries, so we should be ready to kick the season off.

“The two challenge matches will give us a chance to have a look at the pairings, but we don’t go to any meeting looking to finish second, that goes without saying, and I am sure Lakeside will have the same attitude.

“The spirit in the camp is good, so now we just need some good weather and some track time, and for the Peterborough fans to come out in force and help us win.”

Admission prices: Adults £17, Concessions £13, Junior (12-15) £5, Accompanied Children (11 and under) Free. Family ticket (2 adults & 2 juniors) £40. Available on the day or from www.peterboroughpanthers.co

READYPOWER PANTHERS: Kenneth Bjerre, Ryan Fisher, Norbert Kosciuch, Kenni Larsen, Linus Sundstrom, Patrick Hougaard, Dakota North.

LAKESIDE: Peter Karlsson, Kim Nilsson, Lewis Bridger, Piotr Swiderski, Davey Watt, Stuart Robson, Robert Mear

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