Panthers are on the right track for their Premiership season

Keith Chapman (right) with East of England Arena manager Jason Lunn after signing the club's contract to race at the venue this season
Keith Chapman (right) with East of England Arena manager Jason Lunn after signing the club's contract to race at the venue this season
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New owner Keith Chapman has promised the Panthers riders they will be racing on a top-notch surface in 2019.

The city club are gearing up for a return to the sport’s highest level after their rise into the SGB Premiership this winter.

And Chapman, who is back in the country after a long break in New Zealand for his daughter’s wedding, intends to ensure the East of England Arena track - which is renowned for producing exciting racing - is in top-top shape for a side made up of Hans Andersen, Craig Cook, Rohan Tungate, Charles Wright, Bradley Wilson-Dean, Ben Barker and Lasse Bjerre.

British Speedway Promoters’ Association (BSPA) supremo Chapman said: “I’ll do everything I can to ensure our riders have the best opportunities to show everyone what they can do next season.

“Everyone knows that I take great pride in the surface and I’ll be working hard on it at Peterborough.

“I’ll then leave it to Colin (Pratt, promoter), to take care of as he is also an expert on track preparation.

“It’s great to have the club back in the top flight and I’m sure we are going to play our part in an exciting season.”

The new campaign begins on April 1 with a home clash against Belle Vue in the new Supporters’ Cup. Panthers will stage their Press & Practice event a few days earlier on March 27.

Panthers are still to confirm the expected departures of previous promoters Ged Rathbone and Neil Watson. Their BSPA licences are known to expire today (Thursday).

It is understood that popular local man Carl Johnson could have a bigger role to play in the day-to-day running of the club going forward.

The successful team manager, who performed a winter U-turn to take charge again in 2019 after initially stepping down at the end of last season, may also now become a promoter.

The club are searching for a new main sponsor after T Balfe Construction ended their backing from the past three seasons.

n Panthers rider Craig Cook has announced his testimonial meeting for April 21 – although it is being staged a long way from Alwalton!

The former British champion’s bash will take place at his Championship club Glasgow.