Joy for Peterborough fans as Panthers decide to race in the Premier League in 2014 - 3 riders signed already

Lasse Bjerre

Lasse Bjerre - Credit: Archant

Peterborough Speedway supporters have been handed the perfect Christmas present – with the news that their club will race on into the 2014 season.

Peterborough Speedway supporters have been handed the perfect Christmas present – with the news that their club will race on into the 2014 season.

A deal has been finalised which sees a community-led consortium fronted by former Panthers chief Mick Horton and including local businessman and former rider Adrian Smith take over the Showground side on a leasehold basis from owners Rick Frost and Julie Mahoney.

The club will compete in the Premier League, with a regular racenight to be confirmed, and the top three riders have already been signed with the Panthers to be led by Ryan Fisher, Lasse Bjerre and Ulrich Ostergaard.

Locally-based Horton returns for a second spell in the Panthers’ backroom, and has spoken of his delight that speedway has not been lost to the city.

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Horton is keen to stress the deal in no way changes his position at Elite League club Coventry, where he has been at the helm for the last two years – and indeed, with the Brandon outfit also operating at National League level, there is clear potential for rider progression between the clubs at the respective levels. Fisher will be doubling-up with the Bees in the top-flight.

Horton said: “The most important thing through all of this has been that nobody wanted Peterborough Speedway to close down. It is, in my opinion, the finest racetrack in the country.

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“I’m a local man, I’ve lived in Peterborough for many years and therefore the club has always been in my heart, and I know that’s also the case for colleagues such as Neil (Watson) and Blayne (Scroggins) who both started watching speedway there.

“I have experience of promoting at Peterborough and I know the local businesses, and obviously I’m very happy that Julie and Rick feel this is the right consortium to take the club forward.

“They were adamant they wanted the club to continue, there were several interested parties and by choosing this one they’ve ensured Peterborough Speedway is in local hands, and being run by local people. Rick and Julie have been brilliant to deal with, and our working relationship is second to none.

“We have agreed a two-year lease with an option to purchase, and I’ve got to thank my fellow partners for helping to get this deal finalised. The way I see it is that if I can do my bit to help Peterborough then that’s good for everyone.

“Trevor Swales and Julie Mahoney will remain as co-promoters, so we keep Trevor’s day-to-day involvement and expertise which is very important to us, and also Julie’s presence means we maintain our position within the BSPA.

“I still remain firmly committed to Coventry, there are exciting times coming there and I know there has been a bond between the two clubs and the supporters for some time.

“We’re now looking for the people of Peterborough, and the sponsors, to come out in force and support what is a great level of racing, on what will be a regular race-night, and with reduced admission prices to previous years – so now it’s time for everyone to come together and enjoy it.”

Co-promoter Swales is pleased to have made a positive start to team building with spectacular American star Fisher returning after spending last season with the club in the Elite League.

Bjerre and Ostergaard are both Panthers assets, Ostergaard having won the top-flight title in memorable circumstances in 2006, whilst Bjerre has also raced for the club at Elite level.

Swales said: “I’m delighted to have those three riders signed up and we should have more news to announce on the team front in the next few days.

“But I also want to pay tribute to Rick and Julie, because they have gone out of their way to make sure that Peterborough Speedway didn’t close down.

“They always wanted the club to continue for the Peterborough supporters and we are all so grateful for what they’ve done, and likewise my thanks to the Showground for their patience - they want speedway to be here in 2014 and have been very helpful to us. We can now press on and look forward to an exciting season.”

Julie Mahoney added: “The last thing we wanted to do was to close the club down, and Rick and myself are both pleased and relieved that this solution has been found.

“It’s an ideal situation in many ways with the club being leased out to local people, we will give them all the support we can and obviously we urge all the fans to give their backing to this new era.”

Season Ticket and Admission Prices for 2014 have been confirmed:

Season Tickets

Adult £250

Concessions £175

Children (12-16) £50

Raceday Admission:

Adults £15

Concessions £10

Children (12-16) £5

Under-12s Free

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