OWNER’S MESSAGE: Rathbone says he’ll do all he can to keep his club alive

Ged Rathbone.
Ged Rathbone.
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Owner Ged Rathbone stressed he will do all he can to save Peterborough Panthers during a passionate mid-meeting address last night (October 6).

Rathbone took to the tannoy during a 50-43 victory against Workington at the East of England Arena - a sixth consecutive SGB Championship success for the city club.

Panthers’ existence has been placed under threat after Rathbone was hit with a major five-figure punishment from the Speedway Control Bureau (SCB) for allowing star rider Jack Holder to miss meetings in this country to race in Poland.

While declining to reveal exact figures, Rathbone claimed the fine dished out to him is the biggest ever issued in British speedway.

He also admitted there is no chance of the club racing on without his involvement due to their East of England Arena landlords being unwilling to work with another promotion.

Rathbone said: “We’re disappointed with the outcome of the SCB hearing, but there is a lot we can’t say at this stage for legal reasons.

“I’m led to believe the fine issued to us is the largest in the history of British speedway. It is something we do not agree with and we intend to appeal it.

“This club has been mine and my partner, Lisa’s, life for the past three years, but it has now been put into serious jeopardy.

“I could quite easily have walked away yesterday when I found out the SCB decision, but I have far too much respect for our supporters to do that.

“I’ve have seen in the last couple of days how much the club means to a lot of people and I’ll do everything I can to ensure it survives.

“But the simple fact is that if I’m not involved, there is no Peterborough Speedway. Our landlords will not deal with anyone else due to the way they have been messed around in the past.”

Rathbone’s address received a generous round of applause from supporters gathered at Alwalton. He has also been inundated with positive messages on social media since the SCB ruling was made public knowledge on Thursday afternoon.

Specific details are still unclear, but the Peterborough Telegraph understands the initial fine, plus further associated penalties, could cost Panthers in excess of £40,000.