Thursday January 11, 2018
The annual Ben Fund Bonanza has reached the significant milestone of its tenth staging, and this historic event will take place at Peterborough Speedway on Sunday 18th March with a start time of 2pm.

Paul Ackroyd, now the Chairman of the Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund and of course the originator of the Bonanza meeting, has been working hard behind the scenes towards this later-than-usual announcement, but he says “Now that we are able to say where and when our tenth annual meeting will be I’m obviously relieved but also thrilled that the meeting will be at such an excellent venue. We have big plans and intend to make this a real fun day for the supporters.”

Ackroyd also revealed the first five names for what he believes will be the best Bonanza field for several seasons. These are top Danish duo Kenneth Bjerre and Hans Andersen, the English “old firm” of Scott Nicholls and Chris Harris, and of course, for his tenth appearance in the Ben Fund Bonanza, Ben Barker. Barker has done the most Bonanzas, obviously, but Harris last year became the highest point scorer in the event’s history with 58 points from his 6 appearances.

For Panthers’ go-ahead promoter Ged Rathbone, this is something he has wanted for a while. “We as a club are over the moon to be staging the Ben Fund Bonanza. We have looked at doing it and talked about doing it for a couple of years, and we’ve finally been given the go-ahead to try and put on a really good show for Paul and the paying public who come and watch it. We are genuinely over the moon.

“The stadium and facilities are ideal for this type of meeting and the location should be good for supporters from all parts of the country. We all know about the Ben Fund and the help it gives, but we don’t necessarily know just how much money is needed – it’s actually quite scary.”

Of all the things Ben Barker has done in his eventful career, nothing has earned him greater respect than the unstinting support he has given to the Benevolent Fund. He said “It’s something I agreed to when I first started doing the Ben Fund meetings, I said I’d do the first ten and I’m here now!

“One of the reasons I’m so keen to support it, they’ve helped me not just last year but in previous years as well. It’s a great cause and that’s why I’m so keen to do my bit for it.

“I’ve got a couple of friends who have bad injuries and have been helped by the Fund, and that does play on my mind. That’s why I look on it as such a good thing.”

Scott Nicholls rode in the first two Bonanzas back in 2009-10 and he will be back this year, sending his own message of support.

“It will be a great afternoon for the fans for their first speedway ‘fix’ of the season. It will be a brilliant meeting I know that. I think the Ben Fund do an absolutely brilliant job supporting these guys. It makes the injured riders still feel part of the speedway family and world which I think is really cool. It just goes to highlight just how special and unique the Speedway community really is, I don’t think there’s many other sports out there that have a support network the same.”

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