SPEEDWAY FIXTURES: Panthers start at home to Lakeside Hammers in the League Cup

Chris Harris leads the way for Panthers in a KO Cup match against Ipswich last season.
Chris Harris leads the way for Panthers in a KO Cup match against Ipswich last season.
0
Have your say

Team manager Carl Johnson insists a fast start will be essential as Peterborough Panthers go in search of more success.

Team manager Carl Johnson insists a fast start will be essential as Peterborough Panthers go in search of more success.

The city club’s fixtures for this year been released this morning (January 24) – and they face a much-reduced schedule compared to their SGB Championship KO Cup and Fours double-winning 2017 season.

The campaign begins with the opening stage of the League Cup in which Phantoms take on East Anglian rivals Ipswich and second-tier newcomers Lakeside with only the group-winners guaranteed to advance to the semi-finals.

It is Lakeside who provide the opposition for their first fixture at the East of England Arena on Sunday, March. That meeting has a 7pm start-time.

Panthers will again meet either Lakeside or Ipswich when starting the defence of their KO Cup crown. The city club have a bye to the quarter-final stage.

Panthers also face a difficult opener in the SGB Championship when travelling to reigning champions Sheffield on April 12. Their first home league outing follows three days later against Redcar.

“It will be a very exciting start to the season,” said Johnson. “It is also a tough one, but I don’t mind that as we’ll quickly find out what we’re made of.

“Ipswich will want revenge after we beat them in the KO Cup final last season and Lakeside will be out to make their mark at this level. They clearly mean business judging by the strong team they have put together and their small track is always testing for visiting riders.

“The fact the league programme has been greatly reduced to just one home meeting and one away meeting against each team means there is a lot of emphasis on being successful in the cups.

“We’re all determined to follow up the success of last season by challenging for honours again and every race is going to be important. No team can afford to have a bad run in such a short season.”

Panthers are still to complete their team for 2018. They have so far signed five of their required seven riders with new signings Michael Palm Toft, Nike Lunna and Emil Grondal joining the retained duo of Ulrich Ostergaard and Simon Lambert.

Panthers have been widely linked with a swoop for seven-time British champion Scott Nicholls as their number one, but any deal for him depends on the British Speedway Promoters’ Association (BSPA) overturning a rule which currently blocks him from racing in the SGB Championship due to not having gained an average in this league last season.

A decision on that situation is understood to be imminent. It is thought that club asset Tom Bacon is waiting in the wings to complete the Panthers team at reserve providing the move for Nicholls gets the green light.

PETERBOROUGH PANTHERS FIXTURES

MARCH

Date Opponents Start-time Competition

Sunday 18 Ben Fund Bonanza (H) 2pm Individual

Sunday 25 Lakeside Hammers (H) 7pm League Cup

APRIL

Sunday 1 IPSWICH WITCHES (H) 5pm League Cup

Thursday 5 Ipswich Witches (A) 7.30pm League Cup

Friday 6 Lakeside Hammers (A) 7.30pm League Cup

Thursday 12 Sheffield Tigers (A) 7.30pm Championship

Sunday 15 REDCAR BEARS (H) 5pm Championship

MAY

Friday 4 Edinburgh Monarchs (A) 7.30pm Championship

Friday 11 WORKINGTON COMETS (H) 7.30pm Championship

Sunday 13 EDINBURGH MONARCHS (H) 5pm Championship

Friday 18 NEWCASTLE DIAMONDS (H) 7.30pm Championship

JUNE

Friday 8 Glasgow Tigers (A) 7.30pm Championship

Sunday 10 GLASGOW TIGERS (H) 7pm Championship

Friday 15 Scunthorpe Scorpions (A) 7.30pm Championship

Thursday 21 Redcar Bears (A) 7.30pm Championship

Friday 29 LAKESIDE HAMMERS (H) 7.30pm Championship

JULY

Friday 13 SCUNTHORPE SCORPIONS (H) 7.30pm Championship

Sunday 15 IPSWICH WITCHES/LAKESIDE HAMMERS (H) 5pm KO Cup

Thursday 26 Ipswich Witches (A) 7.30pm KO Cup

Friday 27 Lakeside Hammers (A) 7.30pm KO Cup

AUGUST

Friday 3 Workington Comets (A) 7.30pm Championship

Sunday 5 IPSWICH WITCHES (H) 7pm Championship

Friday 10 Lakeside Hammers (A) 7.30pm Championship

Saturday 18 Berwick Bandits (A) 7.30pm Championship

Sunday 19 Newcastle Diamonds (A) 7.30pm Championship

Thursday 23 Ipswich Witches (A) 7.30pm Championship

SEPTEMBER

Sunday 9 BERWICK BANDITS (H) 5pm Championship

TBC – Sheffield Tigers (H)

MAJOR MEETINGS

Sunday, June 1 – Championship Fours at Redcar.

Friday, June 20 – Championship Pairs at Somerset.

Sunday, September 2 – Championship Riders’ Individual at Sheffield.