Ladies and gents, its that time again where I look at a couple more of our rival teams in the SGB Championship as I continue my 2017 Season Preview. This time out we dissect the sides of Peterborough Panthers and the Redcar Bears and see how they might fare in 2017, as the season looms ever closer.
However by the time you read this, there is a very distinct possibility that the Peterborough lineup will have changed, at least if last season is anything to go by. Multiple team changes by the week made it impossible to know who was going to be riding for the Panthers, but at the time of writing it looks as though they are a solid looking side who could well be right up there once it's all said and done.
One of the few survivors of last seasons side is Danish stalwart Ulrich Ostergaard, who once again will skipper the Panthers in 2017. Still as hard as a coffin nail, Ostergaard has always been a "no quarter asked or given" type of rider and is still one of the leagues most exciting and reliable performers, and I cant see him deviating from that script any time soon.
He is joined once again by Simon Lambert, who is another surviving member of the merry go round that defined the Panthers last season. Unbelievably in his testimonial year, Lambert has almost rebuilt his career with the Panthers and has become a more solid and consistent performer since his association with the club.
Starting in the main body of the side certainly won't phase Lambert, but he may well be under a bit of pressure to stay there should Bradley Wilson-Dean make major strides in 2017. The highly rated Kiwi makes the switch from Somerset following their move to the SGB Premiership and should be right at home on the fast East of England Showground circuit.
Another rider making the switch from Somerset is Paul Starke, who has made major progress in recent seasons. More than capable of holding down a heat leader role in any side these days, Starke may well end up pushing for that number one race jacket should he continue on in the same vein.
Someone who might well have something to say about that though is Jack Holder, who makes the switch from Plymouth. The Peterborough track should suit him down to the ground and given that he knows most of the away tracks now, there is no reason why he can't be looking to cement his place among the top riders in the league. Given the backing and undoubted talent he has, this is something that is far from out of reach for the young Aussie.
Tom Bacon picked up a few guest bookings for the Panthers late last season and did enough to secure himself a place in 2017. He will slot in at the number seven position and given his National league scores, he will be quietly confident of doing a decent job. However, the Panthers management have previous for not letting riders settle, so hopefully he is given the time to find his feet at this level.
Kenneth Hansen is no stranger to the Peterborough fans and he makes his long awaited return to the East of England Showground after several years. He completes the Peterborough lineup and for me, is the man who holds the key to their potential success. During his most recent spell with Workington, Hansen developed a reputation for being almost unbeatable at home, whether he made the start or not. However his scores away from home often left a lot to be desired. Perhaps the change of scenery will help him find some consistency and if he can do that, the Panthers may well be the team to beat in 2017.
We're off on a Bear hunt now as we head to the South Tees Motorsports Park to check out the Redcar side. A vastly different looking side from 2016 should see them improve on their lowly league position and I think they could be one of the more entertaining sides to take to the track in 2017.
Any side which has both Ben Barker and Jason Garrity in it should be feared, my only concern with that would be that the track may not be big enough for the two of them! Irrespective of what you or I may think of Barker and Garrity, there is no doubt that they are both entertainment personified and they are both guys who will give you 100% from tapes to flag, and you can't say fairer than that.
While the signings of Garrity and Barker may have been the headline grabbers, the signing of Charles Wright from Somerset is another potentially astute bit of business from the Bears management. Another rider who has developed into a solid and reliable third heat leader in recent seasons, he could well be one of the more consistent riders in the Redcar team.
In the lower order of the team Richard Hall makes a return to Redcar after a spell with Sheffield last season. The former Bandits man has struggled for consistency at times but is another rider who is an all out trier which should win him a few plaudits. He's joined at reserve by Ellis Perks who should start out as one of the more experienced number seven's, given that he has the best part of a full season at this level under his belt.
Tobias Busch was a late season addition to the Redcar side last year and he turned the Bears into a more solid and balanced side with his inclusion. He will be expected to produce more of the same, and with less pressure on him this season there is no reason why he shouldn't be able to build on the foundations of his performances of 2016.
Young Danish sensation Jonas B Andersen completes the Bears lineup and for me is the key man. Already a very capable heat leader, I feel that this season is his year to stamp his authority and claim the number one race jacket and run with it. Now I know that I have probably stated this before, and Andersen possibly hasn't delivered, but he certainly has all the tools to be a star at this level, and perhaps this is his past chance to live up to that potential, but should he do that, then the Bears could well be the surprise packet of 2017, provided Barker and Garrity don't wipe each other out first!
As always if you wish to agree, or disagree with the Mythman then you can always email me Mythman666@hotmail.com. I'm more than happy to hear opinions or ideas for features. Next up on the Mythman season preview are the Sheffield Tigers and the Scunthorpe Scorpions. I look forward to speaking to you all then!
Until next time...and there will be a next time.
Right I'll hae'tae gan