THE LEADER of Rugby Borough Council has praised the work of Coventry Bees promoter Mick Horton and fans of the club after it was announced earlier today a new one-year lease to keep speedway at Brandon has been offered.
Coun Michael Stokes admitted although the agreed deal is a compromise, the news is positive and there’s every possibility an additional two years can be added on to the lease should specific criteria be met.
The new deal will see both Coventry Bees speedway team and Coventry Stock Cars continue racing next year – the lease would start on January 1 2017 and end 12 months later.
The Observer is awaiting on official confirmation that the club has accepted the offer proposed, though it is believed to have been agreed.
Speaking to The Observer, Coun Stokes said: “I’m very pleased with the outcome – it is a compromise but it’s positive and the best we could get.
“We have to look at this as a reprieve and keep the pressure on to secure a new site where speedway and stock car racing can take place.
“It is definite that racing can take place next year, the owners would consider a further two years but that is subject to conditions – though I’m confident we can work to those.
“Mick Horton as the lease holder has a big job now, he has been key to securing this deal and not just talked about the Bees throughout the negotiation process but spoke on behalf of other motorsports at the venue too – the outcome is a credit to him.”
The deal comes following months of meetings and negotiations – something Coun Stokes described as an awful lot of work.
However the Council leader revealed that having a neutral party involved in negotiations helped tremendously – and the passion of speedway and stock car fans convinced Coun Stokes to work hard for the best possible outcome.
He added: “It was an awful lot of work and I facilitated plenty of meetings – the fact a neutral party was involved helped massively.
“I put across views of the public – I was extremely swayed by the passion of the speedway and stock car fans.
“I saw a petition with 6,000 signatures on, I met hundreds of fans at the public meeting held last month – it was then I realised this situation isn’t about pulling a fast one.
“The land owners do not know about the history of the stadium and I was able to translate the passion of the fans across to the owners.
“Speedway has had a huge impact on Coventry and fans genuinely wanted to retain the site.
“Coventry Stadium is ingrained on the local community, I’ve lived in and around the city all my life – people talk about the speedway and often tell me how tragic it would be should the stadium disappear.
“There was a severe risk of the stadium losing motorsport at one time, we’ll continue to work hard for the best possible future.”