21st Jan, 2018

EXCLUSIVE: To lose speedway and stock car racing at Coventry Stadium would be a massive shame says Rugby MP

Shaun Reynolds 16th Jun, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

TO LOSE speedway and stock car racing at Coventry Stadium would be a massive shame.

Those are the words of Rugby MP Mark Pawsey who spoke exclusively to The Observer amid fears that the world famous Coventry Bees could be homeless next season, unless a new lease to extend speedway racing is agreed in the coming weeks.

The Bees have raced at Coventry Stadium for almost nine decades – however the club’s lease to race at the stadium expires in November – meaning this could be the club’s last year of racing at the Brandon site.

A public meeting held three weeks ago confirmed that Bees owner Mick Horton wouldn’t consider a ground share with nearby clubs Leicester or Birmingham and that should a new stadium site be located, it wouldn’t be likely to be in use for another five years.

However, despite the bleak outlook, Rugby MP Mark Pawsey – who is also secretary for the all party Speedway Parliamentary Group – told The Observer he will do his best to raise the issue of Coventry Stadium so the site can be saved.

He said: “To lose speedway and stock car racing at Brandon would be a massive shame.

“I’ve been involved in the uncertainties of Coventry Stadium and I can say we want speedway to continue at Coventry Stadium.

“A new speedway track has been built at Sittingbourne in the last few years – but the process for application on that site met problems with new opposition campaigning against noise and traffic.

“We don’t want that, we want to keep the history of Coventry Stadium standing.

“Investment will have to be made at the stadium to bring the facilities back to life, but there is hope that the future of speedway and stock car racing can be saved.”

Mr Pawsey added although he cannot directly have a say on the future of Coventry Stadium, and the Bees, he has held talks with all parties and confirmed that Binley Woods residents want the current site to remain standing.

He added: “Brandon is a great facility and I’ve met with a representative of the previous owner.

“As an MP I don’t have powers to save the Bees but I can bring influence and get people talking about the issue – speedway in Brandon is an asset for my constitutes in Rugby.

“My main priority is saving the current stadium – I know residents in Binley Woods want the stadium to remain as it is and keep speedway and stock car racing.

“Building a new stadium would present major challenges – the area between Coventry and Rugby is greenbelt land, hence why we’re doing everything we can to keep Coventry Stadium open.”

Yesterday (June 15) Mr Pawsey had a meeting with the Speedway Parliamentary Group where the issue of Coventry Stadium was raised to other MPs across the country.

The Speedway Parliamentary Group was established in 2012 by Newcastle MP Nick Brown.

The group’s aim is to allow MPs the chance to meet and talk about the future of the sport and current issues off track.

Mr Pawsey added: “We have a reception once a year where every track in the UK is represented – it’s good for the sport to get together.

“Speedway doesn’t have the following it once had 30 years ago – you can comfortably follow the sport from your armchair by watching meetings on Sky, though on the other hand Sky provides superb coverage that reaches out to a new audience.

“We all recognise speedway is a family sport, you can be watching the Bees at Brandon and see three generations having a night out together – I believe that’s unique to the sport.”

The meeting came just hours after the on track success for Coventry rider Danny King – who won the prestigious British Title at Belle Vue in stunning style.

Mr Pawsey is hoping to recognise Danny’s achievements in Parliament when the Speedway Parliamentary Group next meet on Wednesday November 16.

He said: “Danny rode fantastically well on Monday night and I want to recognise his achievements at the next parliamentary reception for the speedway parliamentary group on November 16.

“It’s great to have a British Champion on Coventry shale and I wish him all the best for the British Grand Prix in Cardiff next month.”


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