Saturday March 18, 2017
TEAM boss Carl Johnson insists Peterborough could not face a tougher start to 2017.

The tapes go up on the new campaign when the 'T Balfe Construction' Panthers entertain Coventry Bees at the East of England Showground tomorrow (noon).

What was originally pencilled in as an inter-league Challenge clash has now become a one-of-a-kind fixture with the full intended Bees line-up set to take to the track for the only time.

And while much of the focus is bound to be on the visitors given their current plight of not racing in the SGB Premiership this year, Johnson has stressed the need for Peterborough to put on a good show.

He said: "It's arguably a bigger day for Coventry than it is for ourselves.

"I really hope plenty of Bees fans make the trip over to the Showground and highlight the need for speedway to continue in Coventry.

"But it is also the first-time our new-look team will be in action and I'm sure our supporters will also turn out in force.

"Time on the bike is always more important than the scoreline in a meeting like this, but that certainly doesn't mean we want to be on the receiving end of a heavy defeat.

"It's probably the most difficult meeting we'll have all season and a great way to prepare for the SGB Championship campaign that lies ahead.

"There is already a good spirit building in our camp and I know they're all keen to start well."

Six members of the Peterborough side put in plenty of laps at the club's Press & Practice Day on Friday.

Paul Starke missed that engagement due to a similar event with parent club, Somerset, but he made up for lost time by taking to the Alwalton shale during a practice session earlier today.

Coventry are packed with Showground expertise, largely thanks to the presence of Danish star Kenneth Bjerre and reigning British champion Danny King.

Bjerre's younger brother, Lasse, is another former Peterborough man in the visiting camp.

The Bees will be bossed for the day by their former team manager, and ex-Panthers racer, Gary Havelock.

Peterborough promoter Ged Rathbone has pledged to make a donation to a fund set up to raise £10,000 for Coventry riders affected by the club's exit from the SGB Premiership.


PETERBOROUGH 'T BALFE CONSTRUCTION' PANTHERS: Tom Bacon, Kenneth Hansen, Simon Lambert, Jack Holder, Ulrich Ostergaard, Paul Starke, Bradley Wilson-Dean.

COVENTRY: Josh Bates, Kenneth Bjerre, Lasse Bjerre, Jason Garrity, Lewis Kerr, Danny King, James Sarjeant.

* Skipper Ostergaard actually launches his season tonight.

The Dane lines up in the big '50th Season Spectacular' individual meeting at Berwick.

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