Friday August 03, 2018
PETERBOROUGH’S big home Championship clash with Ipswich on Sunday (5pm) will be followed by 12 additional races – at no extra cost!

The club are staging TWO second-half meetings with the Thundercats in action in both the Midland Development League (against Birmingham Bulls) and then the Northern Junior League (against the Dale Devils - Edinburgh).

Junior co-ordinator Jason Pipe said: “At Peterborough we always try to provide our fans with that extra little bit of entertainment by putting on these second half races when it’s possible to do so.

“We’ve seen a good number of fans staying behind to watch our second half events and that’s not just pleasing to see from a clubs point of view, but it’s also encouraging for the riders themselves, who really appreciate the good support they receive.

“Because we are having to play catch-up with a couple of our Thundercats fixtures, this Sunday sees us putting on MDL and NJL fixtures.”

Dan Gilkes and James Chattin are both back from recent injuries to appear for the Thundercats in the MDL fixture, where they will be joined by Tom Spencer and Ben Rathbone. Gilkes and Rathbone also race in the NJL, along with youngsters Max Perry and Jack Bell.

Pipe said: “We’ve recently had a bit of an injury crisis with the Thundercats, but it’s pleasing to report that Dan has now recovered from his lengthy lay-off with a broken shoulder.

“This was tested on Wednesday evening when he rode for his SDL side Reading at Birmingham, where he even took a tumble with Thundercats team mate Tom Spencer! Both have reported a clean bill of health and will be lining up on Sunday.

“We are really pleased with the way our Thundercats have been developing this season, and that is helped by trying to keep as many of them together from last season and getting in the right riders who have gelled with them and created a good team spirit.

“Dan is now ready for regular NL racing, but this season he’s had to concentrate on his school exams. Every time Dan is learning and it’s pleasing to see him coming on this season like we expected him to.

“We are also really pleased with the way Ben has settled in to the Thundercats side, and he’s learning all the time and has a very clever head on his shoulders and has calculated some decent scores this season and I’m already excited about seeing how Ben progresses beyond this season.

“William O’Keefe is another back with us this season but has had an unlucky season this year with injuries whist racing in the NL. William had only just recovered from injury and was back riding again, only to injure the same shoulder earlier this week, when riding in the NL for Kent. Unfortunately it now looks like his season is over, and we as a club wish William all the very best for a quick recovery.

“Tom is a rider who is also progressing like we hoped he would, but is still quite raw at the moment and is learning all the time.

"James is a new addition to the side this season and someone who has settled well in to the squad and was having a decent season until he was injured at Stoke back in June. At one point it looked like his season was over, but he has recovered well from his injuries and it was a surprise to us all when he’s announced this week that he’s ready to ride again from this weekend.”

Thundercats are currently top of the MDL table on points difference from Belle Vue, with Peterborough having two matches in hand. In the NJL they are second, eight points behind leaders Berwick but with three matches in hand.

Pipe said: “It would be great if we could retain the MDL title we won last season, but we know that we’ll be pushed all the way by Belle Vue.

“The bonus for us is that we’ve beaten Belle Vue home and away this season. The Thundercats remain unbeaten in the MDL, which is a very good position to be in. I’ll be speaking to all our riders soon to tell them to stay focused and not be too complacent and hopefully we can bring another league title to the club.

“It’s not all about winning some will say, but try telling our riders that when they are sat on top of the league! This league is set up to develop riders like we are doing and hopefully one day in the future we’ll see one or two or even more of the current squad members become full time Panthers riders, which would be great for the club.

“As far as the NJL goes Berwick have completed all their fixtures bar the ones against the Thundercats home and away. They are the team to beat for any team thinking of stopping them retaining their NJL title from 2017. Personally I think with losing our only fixture at Ashfield (Glasgow) back in June, we must beat Berwick home and away if we are to pip them to that league title.

“Let’s hope we get some good weather for this Sunday and we see a good few supporters staying behind to watch the riders of the future.

“Finally I’d like to say a big thank you to our track staff and first aiders, who stand out on that centre green for long hours. The club and the riders appreciate this very much and if it wasn’t for you guys these second halves wouldn’t be able to happen.”

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