A bumper crowd packed into Owlerton Stadium in glorious sunshine to see Ulrich Ostergaard emerge as a surprise winner of the 2015 Premier League Riders’ Championship last night.
The Peterborough Panthers ace claimed victory in an action-packed battle between the top 16 riders in the second tier of British racing in a meeting that lived up to its reputation as one of the most exciting on the calendar.
Having earned a third place finish in the event last year, the Danish flyer rose to the occasion to deliver a memorable win ahead of former Sheffield star Ricky Wells and pre-meeting favourite Craig Cook.
A dominant victory for Ostergaard in the opening race of the night set the tone for what would be a superb evening for the 34 year old as his fast-starting earned him three wins from the four qualifying races and a passage straight to the final.
However, Edinburgh star Cook himself recovered from a slow start to reel off three successive wins and also advance straight to the decisive race where many expected him to repeat his unforgettable 2012 victory.
Yet Ostergaard flew from the inside gate in a tense finale and catapulted himself to the front where he never looked back as Wells and Cook tussled for second place allowing him to take the chequered flag.
Ex-Tigers man Wells impressed as he earned a hard-fought second place whilst Cook was also impressive despite narrowly missing out on his second PLRC win.
Meanwhile, Somerset star Josh Grajczonek was unfortunate to see himself squeezed out in a tight first bend in the final as he was unable to earn a rostrum spot.
Great Britain international Eddie Kennett was cruelly robbed of his chance to battle for the top prize as bike troubles as he was at the tapes prior to the race-off caused him to be excluded after he had pulled off a daring heat 18 win to keep his hopes alive.
Regular Sheffield guest Brady Kurtz - viewed by many as one of the favourites - missed out on the race-off by just a single point after he came down whilst attempting a blast around the boards on the opening bend of his final ride.
Home favourite Jason Garrity also fell just a point short of the race-off, with his determination and all-action style not quite enough as some sluggish starting cost him dearly.
It was instead Peterborough captain Ostergaard who emerged with the coveted prize and left Owlerton with a beaming smile along with speedway fans from across the country who witnessed another scintillating spectacle.
SCORES: Craig Cook 12, Ulrich Ostergaard 12, Edward Kennett 11, Josh Grajczonek 10, Jonas B Andersen 9, Ricky Wells 9, Sam Masters 8, Brady Kurtz 8, Jason Garrity 8, Nick Morris 7, Steve Worrall 6, Rohan Tungate 5, Richard Lawson 4, Alex Davies 4, Kyle Newman 4, Thomas Jorgensen 3, Layne Cupitt (res) 0, Rob Shuttleworth (res) 0.
RACE-OFF: Grajczonek, Wells, Andersen, Kennett (exc 2 min).
FINAL: Ostergaard, Wells, Cook, Grajczonek.