Peterborough Panthers owner has no regrets over saving the club despite dismal form

Buster Chapman.
Buster Chapman.
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Peterborough Panthers owner Keith Chapman insists he has no regrets about stepping in to save the club.

The British Speedway Promoters’ Association (BSPA) supremo bought the club in the winter and immediately signalled a return to the SGB Premiership after five seasons in the sport’s second tier.

But Chapman, who also invested heavily in improvement works on the East of England Arena track, admits Panthers have lost money during a tough campaign in which attendance figures have not been as high as hoped and results on the track have been poor.

The city racers have won only six of their 18 league meetings to date and sit five points adrift at the bottom of the standings.

“There’s no regrets at all,” Chapman told the Peterborough Telegraph. “Yes, we are losing money, but that’s always the risk in year one of taking over a new business.

“I’m a proud man and I have worked hard here, putting in a lot of work on the track which has generally been well received.

“The fixture list has been difficult because of long gaps between home meetings like the one we’re currently in.

“We have made mistakes along the way but they are honest mistakes and we will try to learn from them.

“It’s been a very challenging season for various reasons, but I am pleased to have ensured the survival of this great club and also to bring top-flight racing back to such a great venue.”

But Chapman admits the club’s future in the SGB Premiership is not certain.

Along with promoters Colin Pratt and Carl Johnson, he admits there is a need to assess if racing on the fixed Monday and Thursday nights is suitable and sustainable for Panthers.

Panthers have raced on Fridays for much of their history stretching back to 1970, while Sunday slots proved popular in recent seasons.

Chapman added: “There are good things happening behind the scenes for British Speedway right now.

“I know the cynics will say they’ve heard it all before but I’m encouraged for the future.

“As for Peterborough staying in the Premiership, we obviously need to look at the structure of the sport and whether fixed race-nights work at the venue.

“Only time will tell, but we’ll know by November for sure.”

Chapman also owns fellow East Anglian sides King’s Lynn and Ipswich. He bought the latter club last winter along with Panthers and also brought them up to the top tier from the SGB Championship.