Stacks of British talent on view in Panthers’ curtain-raiser

Highly rated Lewis Kerr will be in action at the East Of England Showground.
Highly rated Lewis Kerr will be in action at the East Of England Showground.
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Ambitious new promoter Ged Rathbone hopes to attract speedway fans from across the country to the dawning of a new Panthers era.

The city club launch their 2015 campaign in 10 days’ time when taking on a Great Britain Select team assembled by national boss Alun Rossiter.

And Rathbone hopes the Sunday, March 15 (2pm) curtain-raiser will draw a big crowd to the East of England Showground with a stack of homegrown riders on show.

Panthers’ new-look team also features six British aces – Olly Allen, Robert Lambert, Lewis Blackbird, Adam Roynon, Simon Lambert and Ollie Greenwood - with Danish skipper Ulrich Ostergaard the only foreign rider in action.

Rathbone said: “It has the makings of a terrific start to what we all hope will be a memorable season.

“I’m sure Panthers fans will turn out in force and I’m hoping plenty of other speedway supporters will also take the opportunity to see so many British riders in action.

“Alun has put a really strong-looking GB Select team together and that is exactly what I wanted.

“Our riders know they have to hit the ground running and I’m very much of the thinking that results in Challenge matches do matter.

“We want to put in a good performance to set ourselves up nicely for our first Premier League Cup meeting against Somerset the Sunday after.”

Rossiter’s Select side will be spearheaded by former British Final podium finisher Ben Barker.

Kyle Howarth, who helped Coventry into the Elite League Grand Final last season, also features along with Richie Worrall.

The highly-rated Lewis Kerr and Adam Ellis, who showed his liking for the Alwalton track in a couple of 2014 visits, complete the main body of the team.

Lewis Rose and Nathan Greaves will combine at reserve. Kerr and Rose are both team-mates of Panthers prodigy Robert Lambert at Elite League side King’s Lynn.

Rossiter said: “The attitude of all the riders in the GB Select team has been brilliant. They all jumped at the chance to ride when they were asked.

“We don’t have an abundance of experienced riders in this country so it is essential for me to look at those coming through.

“I’m sure everyone involved will want to impress and I will also be keeping my eye on the many Brits in the Peterborough team.”

Before then Panthers staged their traditional Press & Practice Day on Thursday, March 12 at the Showground.

Panthers man Roynon has been unable to accept a late invitation to ride in the Ben Fund Bonanza at Swindon this Sunday.