Peterborough Panthers: 'Big shame' team must leave Showground - Niels-Kristian Iversen

Peterborough Panthers have been based at the East of England Arena since 1970
The East of England Arena is regarded as one of the country's best speedway facilities

Peterborough Panthers will head into an uncertain future following their final league meeting at the East of England Showground on Thursday.

The 165-acre site, which includes the speedway arena, is to be redeveloped.

Panthers, who won the Premiership title in 2021, are not expected to race next year.

"There's been speedway here for 50-odd years and it's a big shame it can't continue," rider Niels-Kristian Iversen told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

"It's quite sad in many ways, it's like a family in sport here - the city needs speedway, it's like Wolverhampton, they are in the same boat and can't run next year.

"All of a sudden, it's just coming to an end - hopefully, there's a different facility we can run in and it's not the end of the Panthers."

The Dane, who re-joined Peterborough this season after helping them to their previous title in 2006, was speaking following a 54-36 win over Wolverhampton in their penultimate meeting of the season, a result which guaranteed they will not finish bottom of the Premiership table.

They will face King's Lynn Stars - the other team owned by Panthers proprietor Buster Chapman - in Thursday's meeting as they look to end the season with a sixth successive win in all competitions.

"Every winter there's something major crops up in the sport, there's lots of tracks with question marks over them. Fortunately, King's Lynn is not one of those," Stars manager David Hoggart told BBC Radio Norfolk.

"Peterborough, at the moment, it's an absolute no-no (to racing) from the (site) owners. They seem to be fairly intent on having the East of England Showground empty of tenants before they begin talking to anybody about anything.

"They've submitted their plans but they're absolutely adamant they want the place clear."

While the encounter is the final league meeting at the Showground, it will not be the last speedway action to take place there as Panthers this week confirmed plans to stage a farewell card on a date to be decided, most likely a weekend later in September.

Panthers were formed in 1970 and the three-time Premiership champions have won numerous trophies over the years.

But the £50m plan for the Showground will, say site owners Asset Earned Power Group (AEPG), mean up to 1,500 new homes being built, along with other facilities, and lead to the creation of 400 jobs.

Chapman still hopes to resurrect the team at a new arena elsewhere in the city, but said last month that finding a suitable site was "the most difficult part".

For now, they just want to sign off with another victory against the Stars, who have lost five of their past six fixtures, and sit bottom of the table.

Iversen said the recent run of victories showed the team were now "dialled in properly".

He added: "We don't have silverware to ride for, the championship or anything but we need to give the spectators some good racing and make a good meeting."