COVENTRY Cycle Speedway club staged their biggest ever meeting on Thursday evening at Hearsall Common as Great Britain came from behind in thrilling style to clinch the three match Ashes Test Match series by 97-80.
Huge volunteer commitment from Coventry club members at the Hearsall Common track all week, a hige profile publicity campaign and sizable sponsorship all paid-off in spectacular fashion – as the club attracted its biggest ever attendance.
The Hearsall Common track was transformed for the day and looked resplendent as a plus four figure crowd poured into the arena, many seeing the explosive sport of Cycle Speedway for the first time.
A large mobile grandstand was erected along the home straight, a colourful LED video screen towered over the first bend, mobile caterers served the expectant crowd and four huge mobile floodlight platforms lit-up the Hearsall Common sky.
Shortly before the start, the two teams were introduced to Councillor Lindsley Harvard, Deputy Lord Mayor of the City of Coventry. Australian born classically trained soloist Stephanie Gibson, attired in a ball grown, added to the tremendous spectacle by singing the two national anthems live.
And, on the track, the racing lived up to expectations. There were gasps from the many newcomers in the crowd in the early heats as riders locked combat, fought for every point, with the super-charged full bloodied physical nature of the racing keeping the atmosphere at fever pitch.
It was Great Britain, with Coventry`s local hero Myke Grimes playing a starring role, who opened-up an early lead. However, the fired-up Australians hit back, narrowed the gap, before taking a shock 45-44 interval lead.
After the crowd were entertained at half time by the Coventry based `Crewgirls` cheerleaders, Great Britain started the second half in determined fashion, winning heat 10 and gradually took the ascendancy.
Australia suffered two exclusions for `unfair riding`, ensuing Great Britain pulled away to eventually post a 17 point winning margin, which was somewhat harsh on the Australians who played their part in an superb evenings racing and a wonderful advert for the Coventry Cycle Speedway club.
Great Britain also won the Woman’s Test match to take their series by a convincing 3-0 margin.