THERE are countless stories about passionate supporters of the Coventry Bees, all of whom left devastated by the news of the club’s absence from this year’s SGB Premiership.
However you’ll do well to dig yourself into a more dedicated and loving speedway family than that of Pauline and Graham Westwood.
Between them, the couple have more than 120 years of memories at Coventry Stadium – and Graham even remembers the first meeting at Brandon after World War II in 1948.
“It was a wet night,” joked Graham.
“The old days were tremendous. They used to put on a special train service to Brandon on racedays.
“I remember throngs of people would walk from Brandon Station to the track.
“They used to run bus services from Whitley Street too and after a meeting they’d be 12 separate queues to take people away from the track to different destinations. The club was massive.”
The couple have supported the Bees since the 40s, watching the club blossom into one of the world’s most successful and famous teams.
Throughout the 70s and 80s, Pauline and Graham witnessed speedway legends including Ole Olsen, Tommy Knudsen, Nigel Boocock and Greg Hancock all blast their way around the Brandon shale.
Graham said: “In the 70s and 80s we had the likes of Ole Olsen race here, they were good days.
“The weather was much better in the 70s and 80s if I remember right.
“I loved the gorgeous sunny evenings – having banter with opposing fans.
“There were never any problems though, I’ve not once seen a copper at the stadium – the sport is great like that.”
Not only did Pauline and Graham watch speedway at Brandon, but they also travelled the country supporting their beloved Bees – watching them race at venues including Poole, Wolverhampton and Belle Vue.
Graham added: “We’re still big fans of the Bees and travelled to away fixtures.
“I remember we once went to Belle Vue five times in six weeks because the rain kept postponing the meeting – but that’s part of the speedway fun.
“I was devastated and shocked when I heard the news about the Bees not racing this year.
“One of the most famous teams in world speedway is no more – even Ole Olsen said Coventry is one of the best known teams in the world.
“We’ll go to speedway meetings this year, but it’s not the same knowing we don’t have a team to support.”
Visit www.coventryobserver.co.uk to find out more about our #SaveOurBees campaign.