Peterborough Panthers rider completes a remarkable ‘rags to riches’ story on Saturday night
Another exciting chapter in the rags to riches story of Peterborough Panther Charles Wright will be written tomorrow night (September 21).
Panthers’ star performer lines up alongside the finest riders in the world when taking his place in the British Grand Prix.
Wright’s date at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, for arguably the highlight of the World Championship season, is reward for a first British title triumph during a season of staggering progress.
Not only did the 30 year-old capture the national crown in swashbuckling style at the end of July, he has also enjoyed a terrific rise from an SGB Premiership second string to a number one during the past six months.
But the upward curve in his career is much bigger than that with Wright starting out in the Conference League – the sport’s old third tier - more than a decade ago.
“It took me a while to fully appreciate that I was the British champion,” said Wright.
“I’ve not really thought about it that much – I’ve just continued doing what I do which is going out there and riding my bike. I haven’t put any more pressure on myself or anything like that.
“I’ve been going to Cardiff since 2001 as a fan and it’s a dream come true to now be there as a rider. I’ve always been watching my heroes in the past so it will be unbelievable to actually be racing the top boys myself now. I can’t wait for the weekend and hopefully there will be plenty of Peterborough fans there to support me.”
Wright’s emergence has been a ray of light in an otherwise difficult season for Panthers as he endured a rotten return to the SGB Premiership. He was a key man as they ended the campaign on a high with a 48-42 win against Wolverhampton on Tuesday night.
Wright brought up the rear in his opening ride but then went unbeaten by an opponent and starred in crucial 5-1s in heat 10 and heat 13.
He believes an unusual fixture list and a mountain of injuries have been factors in their rock-bottom finish, but he has issued huge praise for owner Keith ‘Buster’ Chapman for not only stepping in to keep the city club going last winter, but also leading them back into the top flight.
Wright added: “It’s definitely been tough and things can only be better next season. To have a lot of home meetings then a lot of away fixtures was strange and the injuries have really hurt us. We’ve just had to get on with things the best way we could.
“Buster did a fantastic job in the winter to make sure Peterborough continued racing and the sport owes him so much.
“It was going downhill in my opinion and we didn’t know how many teams would be in the top division, but hopefully it should move forward now and not backwards.
“I owe a lot to British speedway, but I also feel I’ve served my times going back to the old Conference League days. To be at Cardiff now and riding in a Grand Prix is brilliant and hopefully I can give the fans something to cheer about.”