Further to Peterborough’s statement today around dropping me from their 2019 line up, I feel I have to put my side of the story out in the public domain.

I was announced as a Peterborough rider by the prior management team without signing a contract. The reason for me not signing a contract was over the new requirements put in place by Peterborough (and other tracks) around sponsorship arrangements. Despite my best efforts to come to some kind of agreement, the requests to amend the contract were declined.

Peterborough advised me that all my personal sponsors had to be in black and white whilst club sponsors were to be full colour. In addition, the club sponsors would take all the prominent positions on my race-suit and my bike as well as my race cap.

This would deny me the opportunity to market these positions to sponsors who are keen to gain maximum exposure on the likes of BTSport.

In previous discussions with the prior management of Peterborough, I understood I would retain these image rights but the contract was never changed to reflect this. After seeking clarification over a number of weeks with the new management team, I was told very late that I could not have these areas and they had to go to club sponsors. Being denied these sponsor opportunities, I asked for my points money to be increased which was refused without much in the way of discussion.

I had secured a major software sponsor who wanted to expose their brand via BT Sport but they pulled out when I could no longer provide them with the key advertising areas. 

Speedway is an expensive sport and when a rider is denied the image rights to his equipment then I have to make a stand. Some parts of speedway seem to be copying the F1 model but there is a fundamental difference - Lewis Hamilton doesn’t have to buy his own cars and equipment. If he did then I’m sure he would want the ability to have sponsors displayed where he wants.

If any rider managed to land a significant sponsor, for example Coca Cola – then in the model operated at Peterborough their Corporate logo would have to be in black and white and they wouldn’t be able to appear on the fork covers. I think speedway needs to attract brands and not give them reasons not to get onboard.

Many of my sponsors have been with me for many years and they make up a sizeable amount of my racing budget and help me to get the equipment to commence the season. Denying them the opportunity to expose their brands in return for their sponsorship is something I cannot agree with.

At the end of the day, I feel most of all for the fans of Peterborough who I was looking forward to racing for them. I hope they understand my position and my need to have the opportunity to market my sponsors.

Craig Cook