Thursday September 29, 2020
PROMOTER Ged Rathbone is delighted to be able to confirm that Peterborough will race in the Premier League in 2017.

Rathbone has taken time to consider his future involvement in speedway following a difficult campaign, but he is now determined to continue taking the club forward.

And it really is full steam ahead after Panthers received a major financial boost by thrashing out a new agreement with major backers T Balfe Construction for the next two years.

In a message to supporters, Rathbone said: "Everyone is well aware of the amount of time and money that has gone into running Peterborough Speedway for the last couple of years.

"It has turned into a seven-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year job for myself and my partner, Lisa - and an unpaid one at that!

"It obviously has a huge impact on our families and friends, but it is a labour of love as far as we are concerned.

"We have such an affection for the sport, for Peterborough as a club, and for the fantastic fans - 99.9 per cent of whom have given us such brilliant backing.

"We've not once regretted stepping forward in the winter of 2014 to ensure the racing continued in Peterborough, and we're not about to let all the hard work go to waste.

"We have learned a lot of valuable lessons during 2016 and missing out on the play-offs was a huge blow to everyone involved with the club.

"But success is not judged solely on what happens on the track. We continue to run a very tight ship and are well on course to have every bill paid without making a loss for the second successive season.

"That is a triumph in itself in such a tough financial climate, and that is also why it is important to have the support of a perfect sponsor in T Balfe Construction.

"David Balfe has been much more than a backer. He is always available at the end of the phone if we need any advice and he is a fantastic person to deal with. I think we've managed to get him hooked on speedway as well!

"Now we just need to complete the purchase of the equipment from Readypower and I don't foresee any problems. Rick Frost has always been a man of his word in our dealings so far and don't expect that to change."

And Rathbone revealed he and his management team are already formulating possible team plans for the 2017 season.

While he is keeping the names of potential targets under his hat at this stage, Rathbone is not afraid to speak of his major aim for next term.

"Our home form has to be addressed," he added. "It has let us down in the past two seasons and is quite frankly unacceptable.

"We got away with it and reached the semi-finals of the play-offs in 2015, but it cost us dear this year as we just missed out.

"We are well aware of the need to put together a team that is capable of winning at home on a regular basis. We have to entertain our fans and give them the success they crave.

"The crowds were consistently good for the vast majority of 2016. We thank the supporters for sticking by us in a tough 2016 and hope they will continue to turn out in force when we aim to enjoy more success in 2017.

"I can promise them we're already working hard on potential signings although we can't push on too far with our plans until the rules are set in stone at the British Speedway Promoters' Association AGM.

"And I can promise everyone that I will be stressing at the annual meeting that those rules must be enforced strongly and consistency, regardless of the clubs or individuals involved.

"Everyone knows that the politics of this sport do frustrate me, but they will always be there. I'm committed to changing speedway for the better, but it will be a slow process over time."

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