STORIES of heartbreak and sadness have emerged from Coventry Bees’ absence in this year’s SGB Premiership, but one man from Cornwall is hoping a return to racing can be agreed soon.
Tony Unwin lives in the quaint Cornish village of St Breward, a far cry away from the roaring sound of brakeless bikes racing around the Coventry Stadium shale at speeds of 60mph.
Despite living more than 230 miles from Bees’ historic ‘home’, Tony is used to sacrificing his Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings to go and watch his beloved team race.
But not now.
In February this year it was announced the Coventry Bees would not be taking part in this year’s SGB Premiership following a fallout between multiple parties.
The fallout has left Bees fans without a team to support. However Tony is hopeful the Bees can return to racing in the not too distant future.
Speaking to The Observer after Wednesday night’s meeting at Poole, the Cornishman said: “The Bees are my team and that’s why it’s worth it.
“Because Coventry aren’t racing in the league I don’t have a team to support. I can’t follow any other team.
“Going to watch Belle Vue race against Swindon doesn’t interest me. I follow Coventry through and through.
“It’s heartbreaking what’s happening. Coventry speedway is a big part of my life and it’s no longer there.
“I will be 100 per cent behind any efforts that are made to get the Bees back on track – I really hope it happens.”
Tony has been supporting the Bees since 1967.
And to this day he still remembers his first taste of speedway.
He said: “I remember my first Bees meeting ended in disappointment as I never saw Nigel Boocock race.
“As an 11-year-old I was very excited to see ‘Little Blue Boy’ race at Brandon but he was competing for Team GB at the time.
“I saw Nigel race plenty of times after that though.
“Great riders like Rick France, Col Cottrell, Les Owen and Roger Hill raced that night – I remember it well.”
Despite moving to Cornwall in 1991, the keen Bees fan wouldn’t change the past 26 years for the world.
He added: “I would travel up to as many meetings as I could throughout the season on a Friday and would come home the same night.
“Traffic on the M5 is shocking on a Saturday morning so coming home straight after the meeting was my best option.
“It’s tiring – I’d often get home at 4am after going to support my team. But it was all worth it.”