LATEST NEWS: Speedway bosses break silence on Rathbone affair as pairs hopes are dashed early

Panthers promoter Ged Rathbone (right) with team manager Trevor Swales.
Panthers promoter Ged Rathbone (right) with team manager Trevor Swales.
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The Speedway Control Bureau (SCB) have gone public on their decision to heavily fine Peterborough Panthers owner Ged Rathbone for the first time.

The governing body has confirmed Rathbone was hit with a financial penalty to match the amount of money he received from Polish club Torun when allowing Jack Holder to miss Panthers’ meetings to race for them.

Chris Harris represented Panthers alongside captain Ulrich Ostergaard in the SGB Championship Pairs Finals in Sheffield.

Chris Harris represented Panthers alongside captain Ulrich Ostergaard in the SGB Championship Pairs Finals in Sheffield.

The SCB statement, released yesterday, does not reveal the figures involved. It does, however, state that as part of the punishment Panthers must offer free admission to their first league meeting of 2018.

The statement confirmed: “At a Speedway Control Bureau court hearing on Tuesday, October 3, Peterborough promoter Mr Gerard Rathbone was found guilty of a breach of speedway regulation 3.2 – particularly in relation to accepting a payment to release a rider against BSPA, SCB and FIM ISLB rules and regulations.

“The court fined Mr Rathbone the amount he had declared having received. In addition Peterborough Speedway were ordered to allow free admission to their first home league meeting of the 2018 season.

“Mr Rathbone was advised that his promoter’s licence would remain suspended until the fine has been paid in full.

“Mr Rathbone was also advised that he has the right to appeal as per speedway regulation 3.10.”

Of course, it is far from guaranteed that Panthers will even be at the tapes next year with the club previously saying it’s future has been put into serious jeopardy by the SCB ruling.

Insisting the club offers free entry to their first league outing of next season would also provide another hefty financial hit.

Rathbone has already indicated that he intends to appeal.

Panthers came up short in their search for another piece of silverware yesterday (October 8).

Their duo of Chris Harris and Ulrich Ostergaard bowed out in the group stage at the SGB Championship Pairs in Sheffield.

They lead Group A followed their final race, but were eclipsed by both Scunthorpe and Glasgow. Those two clubs were involved in a 7-2 in the closing race in the section with Scunthorpe’s victory making them group winners and Glasgow moving level on points with Panthers.

And the fact Glasgow beat Panthers 7-2 when they met in the opening heat of the meeting meant the Scottish side advanced.

Panthers claimed 7-2s of their own against Scunthorpe and Workington and a 5-4 over Ipswich, who had been reduced to one rider.

Four points are awarded for a race victory in this meeting, with second place earning three points and third place securing two points.

“There was only one result in the heat between Scunthorpe and Glasgow that we didn’t want,” said Panthers team boss Johnson.

“Unfortunately that outcome - a 7-2 to Scunthorpe - is how it ended and was enough to knock us out.

“It was a frustrating start as Chris blew an engine in the first heat against Glasgow – and it was also frustrating to miss out on the semi-finals in the way we did.”

The event was won by home pairing Kyle Howarth and Lasse Bjerre of Sheffield. They beat Redcar duo Ben Barker and Charles Wright in an awarded final after the latter was at fault for a crash on the final lap.

SGB CHAMPIONSHIP PAIRS RESULTS

Group A

GLASGOW 21: Richard Lawson 14/Aaron Summers 7

PETERBOROUGH 21: Chris Harris 8/Ulrich Ostergaard 13

IPSWICH 16: Rory Schlein 4/Danny King 12

WORKINGTON 9: Mason Campton 3/Ty Proctor 6

SCUNTHORPE 23: Lewis Kerr 12/Josh Auty 11

Group B

EDINBURGH 20: Sam Masters 12/Ricky Wells 8

NEWCASTLE 13: Ludvig Lindgren 5/Stuart Robson 8

SHEFFIELD 21: Kyle Howarth 7/Lasse Bjerre 14

REDCAR 25: Ben Barker 12/Charles Wright 13

BERWICK 11: Kevin Doolan 4/David Howe 7

SEMI-FINAL ONE: Sheffield beat Scunthorpe 7-2

SEMI-FINAL TWO: Redcar beat Glasgow 6-3

FINAL: Sheffield beat Redcar 5-4