Sunday August 06, 2017
PROUD promoter Ged Rathbone hailed his Peterborough heroes following a fantastic SGB Championship Fours success.

The ‘T Balfe Construction’ Panthers awesome foursome of captain Ulrich Ostergaard, Chris Harris, Paul Starke and Simon Lambert roared to glory in emphatic fashion at the East of England Arena today.

Peterborough piled up 28 points in the final to see off runners-up Redcar (18), third-placed Sheffield (16) and Ipswich (10) – sealing their victory with two races to spare.

The triumph ensured the 40th anniversary of the club’s first-ever trophy success, in the corresponding event back in 1977, was marked in glorious fashion.

The five men involved in that triumph – Ian Clark, Kevin Hawkins, Andy Hines, Nigel Flatman and Brian Clark – were all present to see the class of 2017 etch their names into the history books.

“It’s a surreal feeling to be quite honest,” said Rathbone. “But this success is for the supporters.

“I said when I stepped in to keep speedway alive in Peterborough that I would always act with the fans’ best interests at heart.

“Without them there is no club and they know I have never shied away from making tough decisions to try to win silverware.

“And I can’t praise the boys highly enough for making it happen – even though a lot of people had written us off.

“That probably helped in all truth. We were under no pressure and just focused on having fun.

“The team spirit was sensational. It was a massive factor in a good 2015 season, but we let it slip last year. It’s back again now and the way the boys stuck together and worked for each other showed that.

“Chris was unbeaten all day and pulled off some absolutely sensational moves while Ulrich delivered a true captain’s performance.

“Paul battled away for his points from some tough gates before having the winning ride and Simon was superb despite not even knowing he was going to be involved until yesterday.

“He got the call to be our reserve yesterday lunchtime and then found out late last night he was in the team proper after Bradley Wilson-Dean got hurt.

“But he stepped in and did superbly with valuable points in the semi and the final.”

And Rathbone was thrilled to stage a terrific spectacle which attracted a crowd thought to be in the region of 3,000 to the Alwalton venue.

They were treated to some sensational racing - particularly in the final - as many of the top riders in the SGB Championship impressed.

“The event was a huge success – and not just because we won,” added Rathbone.

“We see great racing week in, week out here and that’s why everyone loves riding at Peterborough.

“It’s breathtaking stuff here on a regular basis and it is great to have been able to serve it up in front of a wider audience of supporters from all Championship clubs.

“The crowd was unbelievable. The grandstand holds 2,200 alone and was packed, but with loads more people all around the first bend and along the back straight.

“I get sick of all the doom and gloom, and negativity that surrounds British speedway. We need to start focusing on the positives of having such a fantastic product and putting on the sort of show that we did today.”

(Peterborough's winning team celebrate their Fours success with members of the club's triumphant 1977 team)

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