SPEEDWAY: Panthers can serve up Cook at last

Craig Cook has been given the green light to race for Peterborough Panthers.
Craig Cook has been given the green light to race for Peterborough Panthers.
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Peterborough Panthers’ major signing of British star Craig Cook has been given the green light – days after it was initially blocked by the sport’s governing body.

The British Speedway Promoters’ Association (BSPA) management committee have now ruled a double-change, that will see Cook and local lad Tom Stokes introduced to the city team, can happen.

The move had initially been deemed not to be in the best interests of the sport due to three fixture clashes for Cook with his other club, Elite League side Belle Vue, on Fridays.

But Panthers have moved swiftly to reschedule a number of meetings and there will now only be one meeting where he is unavailable to race for them.

Panthers promoter Ged Rathbone said: “The signing of Craig has to be right up there with the biggest the club has made.

“It does not get any better than Craig in the Premier League. It is essential we start to win more races as a team and the arrival of Craig should certainly help us to do that.

“I can’t wait to see him in a Peterborough race-suit and I’m also very pleased to be able to give Tom the chance to step up into the Premier League.

“I must place on record my thanks to the BSPA for revisiting their original decision and arriving at one which I feel is most definitely in the best interests of British speedway.

“We have come to a compromise by rescheduling some of the Friday fixtures that had initially proved to be a stumbling block.”

As was initially intended, Cook and Stokes will replace Danish rider Nicklas Porsing and Michael Palm Toft in the Panthers team.

They will make their debuts on Sunday, May 22 when Panthers face Ipswich in what had been a meaningless League Cup clash.

BSPA vice chairman Rob Godfrey said: “This subject created a lot of controversy and we are naturally pleased that Peterborough have worked with ourselves to make it happen now.

“My own club, Scunthorpe, are one of the clubs who have agreed to change a fixture to enable this move to happen.

“Peterborough have now stated that Sunday is their designated raceday as opposed to Friday, Belle Vue’s priority.

“I also hope this underlines our stance all along that at no time was there ever a vendetta against Peterborough and Craig has always been welcome to ride in the Premier League.”