Thursday March 01, 2018
THE season-opening Ben Fund Bonanza at the East of England Arena on Sunday March 18 will now have a 6.30pm start.

Organisers viewed this enforced switch from 2pm as preferable to changing the date of the meeting, and gates will now open at 5pm with pre-meeting entertainment and junior racing from 6pm.

Speedway Riders’ Benevolent Fund secretary Paul Ackroyd said: “This is completely beyond our control and I can only apologise to supporters who may have made plans.

“Ged Rathbone and I were left to make a decision whether to switch the meeting to Saturday, or to race later on the Sunday.

“In the end we felt that it had to be Sunday because of the riders who have committed to be there on that day.

“I hope that supporters will have time to adjust their plans and still attend the event.”

Meanwhile two more of the T.Balfe Construction Panthers’ 2018 line-up have been added to the field.

Danish duo Ulrich Ostergaard and Michael Palm Toft will both be competing along with new No.1 Scott Nicholls.

Palm Toft, who will be making his debut in the event, said: “I’ve asked a few times to be in it, and I got asked last year and wanted to do it.

“But the date and the fact that it was in Glasgow just didn’t fit in with my calendar. But I’m looking forward to doing it this year. It looks a very strong line-up.

“It’s something we should do at some point in our career, especially when you see that the really top class riders are coming to ride. You don’t get any better than a World Champ riding in the meeting.

“I haven’t had to use the Ben Fund myself and hopefully I won’t have to, but it’s a good thing that it’s there if I do need it one day. I know quite a few riders who have been helped.”

The stellar line-up for the opening meeting of the season includes World Champion Jason Doyle, along with former Grand Prix winners Hans Andersen, Chris Harris, Niels-Kristian Iversen, Kenneth Bjerre (all ex-Panthers riders) and Bjarne Pedersen.

Also confirmed are two more of the club’s former stars in Danny King and Ben Barker, GB World Cup racer Steve Worrall and SGB Premiership title-winner Nick Morris.

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