Thursday January 11, 2018
Peterborough Panthers Promoter Ged Rathbone is proud to be staging the Ben Fund Bonanza meeting as the traditional opener to the 2018 speedway season and is looking for both local and British speedway fans from further afield to respond in big numbers to do the meeting and the worthy cause proper justice.

The meeting, being staged on a later date than is the norm, will be staged at the East of England Arena on Sunday 18th March at 2pm and organisers hope to have the best line-up on display for a few years with some big names being announced and further class acts to follow in the coming weeks.

For Panthers’ go-ahead promoter 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 have talked about staging the meeting 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 to attend 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.”

The go-ahead City club are hoping to beat the event attendance record of 4,200 set at Rye House’s Hoddesdon Stadium in 2010 to give the Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund a fantastic kick-start to 2018. To provide some context the fund shelled out £90,000 in 2017 to injured and disabled riders so it is important that the local public, nationwide speedway fans and media support this worthy cause as much as they can. There will also be some riders of yesteryear in action as well as a traditional auction after the event where fans will be able to pick up a souvenir from the day such as rider race jackets and other goodies to help bolster the fund further.

Paul Ackroyd, now the Chairman of the SRBF, and of course the originator of the Bonanza meeting, has revealed the first five names for what he believes will be the best field the event has had for several seasons. These are top Danish duo and local favourites Kenneth Bjerre and Hans Andersen who both rode for the Panthers for several seasons. Andersen has just recently signed a 2018 Premiership contract with Leicester.

The English pairing of Scott Nicholls and 2017 Panther Chris Harris, who will both be back at Rye House in the Premiership as well as Harris linking up with the powerful looking Glasgow Tigers in the Championship.Also making his annual and tenth appearance in the event and the most experienced Ben Fund Bonanza rider on show will be Redcar’s Ben Barker, who will also be linking up with Harris and Nicholls at Rye House in the sports top division this year. Barker was of course a Panther for the latter part of 2015 and was influential in a late season win at Sheffield in the play-offs.

Panthers Ged Rathbone cannot reiterate enough how important it is that the public support the Ben Fund Bonanza committees efforts to put on this special event and he sends out a plea that fans pack out the grandstand and grass banking to make this a most memorable way to launch the 2018 season and indeed the 90thspeedway season in Great Britain.

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