World Champ boost for Thundercats

THE most successful team in Peterborough's history is being resurrected - to find the stars of tomorrow.The Readypower Panthers are set to celebrate their 40th anniversary season by launching their own Academy for young riders.

THE most successful team in Peterborough's history is being resurrected - to find the stars of tomorrow.

The Readypower Panthers are set to celebrate their 40th anniversary season by launching their own Academy for young riders.

And that will see the track return of the Thundercats, the junior side that brought through the likes of Great Britain internationals Simon Stead, David Howe and Oliver Allen.

The Thundercats ran for two seasons but was disbanded only months after being crowned 1997 Amateur League champions after losing only one of their 24 matches, an early season defeat at Exeter.


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The youthful squad - which included eight teenage regulars - were crowned champions after winning their last 17 matches in a row.

Three of the title-winning side - Stead, Allen and Carl Wilkinson - will be racing in the Elite League this season and two more, Paul Clews and David Howe are Premier League regulars.

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The re-launch of the Thundercats - they are planning to race in challenge matches this season - is a major plank in the formation of the Academy.

Ex-Panther Pete Seaton, who won the first ever race at the East of England Showground, will be the Academy chief while 1980 World Champion Michael Lee has agreed to coach the youngsters.

Lee, who will also continue as technical advisor to the Panthers, has already started the search for potential Academy students.

Loan bikes will be available for would-be scholars and Peterborough will be arranging assessment days after Easter.

Anyone with previous motorcycling experience who is interested should contact Pete Seaton (peteS@peterboroughspeedway.co.uk) for initial information.

The Academy curriculum will cover all aspects of becoming a speedway rider including technical, dietary and psychological courses.

It will be open to any non-contracted rider and while the emphasis will be on finding students between the ages of 13 and 20 there is no absolute upper or lower limit.

Peterborough Direct of Speedway Peter Oakes said: “It's quite a few years since the Panthers included anyone in their line-up who has been what you could call home-grown and that has to change.

“There is a rich history of finding exciting young British talent and this is something the owners Rick Frost and Julie Mahoney are keen to revive and encourage.”

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