23rd Jan, 2018

Fans plea to keep popular motorsport stadium open describing it as a 'home'

Shaun Reynolds 5th Jul, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

FANS of the Coventry Bees speedway team have told The Observer it would be a tragic loss to everyone involved should the stadium be demolished amid doubts of the club’s future.

Significant figures in and outside of speedway have already expressed their views on Saving Coventry Stadium including Rugby MP Mark Pawsey, Council Leader Michael Stokes and three times world speedway champion Greg Hancock.

The current lease to race speedway and stock cars at the stadium ends in December, a new lease must be agreed else both Coventry Bees and Coventry Stock Cars will be homeless next season – even though the stadium will most likely remain standing.

The Observer with inundated with messages from fans of the Coventry Bees Speedway team when asking the public to voice their memories of Coventry Speedway.

Linda Payne said: “In 1948 I was taken by my parents to Coventry Speedway, I introduced my husband to the Bees in the 60s – we took Both of our Daughters to Watch the Bees in the 70s.

“We have all been lifelong fans of the Bees and speedway and stock car racing and continue to go to every meeting that the stadium puts on.

“It goes without saying how much this sport means to us.

“We have made many friends at speedway and can’t imagine the sport without a Coventry team.”

Dawn Lewis added: “I’ve been a speedway supporter since the early 50s after my parents took me from a very young age.

“When Birmingham closed in the 50s, we started supporting the Bees and have done ever since with my family and young grandchildren.”

Observer speedway reporter Robin Allen described Coventry Stadium as one of Britain’s premier sporting venues for many years and said it would be a tremendous loss if the stadium is closed.

He added: “Coventry Stadium has played host to some great meetings over the years from British Finals to Grand Prix and World Cup events.

“The calibre of riders who have raced on the Coventry shale over the years has been tremendous – Nigel Boocock, Ole Olesen, Greg Hancock, Nicki Pedersen, Emil Sayfutdinov and of course the Brandon Bomber himself Chris Harris.

“The stadium has been a place I call home ever since I went to my first meeting against Eastbourne in 2004.”

Julie James described Coventry Stadium as a religion, she added: “I’ve been going to watch the Bees for over 50 years and still hold a season ticket with my brother and sister.”

Bees fan Yvonne Mills said: “I come from Birmingham to Coventry for speedway meetings and have done for 15 years.

“I’ve made so many great friends among riders and spectators – I’d be gutted if it closes.”

Carol Smolka has supported the Bees for four decades and said she would be devastated if the stadium closed.

Janet Hambleton added: “I’ve been a Speedway fan since 1949 but have only been supporting the Bees since 1984 after Leicester’s closure.

“I still travel down the M69 for every Storm and Bees match and would be devastated to see them close down.”

Swindon speedway supporter Dave Ridley said losing Coventry would be a massive loss to the sport of speedway.

He added: “Even as a fan who supports a different club, I still have great memories at Brandon.

“It’s a great racing facility that’s unique and produces some fantastic racing.”


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