Peterborough Panthers set to announce their first signing for their 50th anniversary season
It’s a marathon not a sprint for Peterborough Panthers this winter.
That’s the message from co-promoter and team boss Carl Johnson as he works to assemble the city club’s team to compete in the SGB Premiership in 2020.
It’s a special season for Panthers as they celebrate their 50th anniversary and Johnson – along with owner Keith Chapman and fellow promoter Colin Pratt – is determined to build a side capable of performing much better than the rock-bottom team of last season.
Their first signing will be announced on Friday (December 13) during a Christmas social event being staged by the Peterborough Panthers Speedway Supporters’ Club (PPSSC) at the Post Office Club, on Bourges Boulevard.
And while Johnson is keen to keep the identity of the rider under wraps, he did reveal it is someone who was not part of their side last term.
Johnson said: “I know a couple of clubs have already completed their teams and it is only ourselves who are yet to announce a single signing.
“But there is no prize for being the first to finish your team building. It’s being number one at the end of the season in October which matters.
“We’ve been working hard for several weeks to try to put together a team capable of challenging for the play-offs and we feel we’re well on the way to doing that.
“I’m confident the fans will be pleased with the first signing on Friday and we’ll then look to reveal a couple more riders this side of Christmas.
“It’s an important year for the club as we reach such a huge milestone and we want to mark it with success if at all possible.”
Panthers have been snubbed by a former World Championship runner-up according to a media report last weekend.
The Speedway Grand Prix website claimed that Polish veteran Krzysztof Kasprzak turned down the city club’s advances.
However, Johnson insists no talks were even held with a rider who has won the British top-flight title four times in his career – with Poole in 2003, 2004 and 2008, and with Coventry in 2010.
He is also a former East of England Arena track-record holder and last rode in this country in the early part of 2018 until Rye House collapsed.
Former Panthers star Krzysztof Buczkowski has also been rumoured to be a rider of interest for 2020, but he faces a race to be fit for next season after suffering a fractured femur in a motocross crash last week.