20th Feb, 2019

SAVE OUR BEES: Turning back the clocks - 'Fewer nights more memorable than October 13, 1979'

Shaun Reynolds 3rd Mar, 2017 Updated: 3rd Mar, 2017

THE HISTORY and heritage of the Coventry Bees speedway team has been well documented in recent months amid doubts regarding the club’s short and long-term future.

From the club’s first major honour in the 1952 Midland Cup, to its most recent success in the 2010 Elite League playoff final at Poole, Coventry has on multiple occasions heavily underlined its reputation as one of the world’s most famous speedway names.

Since forming in 1928, the Bees have won 36 major championships – including the Elite League, British League, Craven Shield and the Elite League Pairs Championship, to name a few.

While remaining hopeful of many happy days in the future, The Observer is today looking back on meetings in the past – with other memorable moments from Coventry Stadium to feature on our website each Friday at midday.

Today we turn back the clocks 38 years – specifically October 13, 1979.

Brandon had never witnessed a night quite so memorable as that of October 13, 1979, when the Bees took on Hull Vikings in a winner takes the title decider.

If memory serves right the original meeting had been postponed earlier in the season, and as the respective teams completed their fixtures it left both Coventry and Hull level on points – and only each other to race.

It was three-times world champion Ole Olsen’s Bees up against six times champion Ivan Mauger’s Vikings on a cold crisp, but fortunately dry autumn evening.

The tension was palpable among a crowd estimated at 26,500 – or at least that’s how many tickets were reportedly sold – who had packed into the ageing stadium.

One Hull fan who travelled down recalled: “There was a huge crowd packed like sardines on the terraces – you couldn’t fit another person in with a shoe horn, and Coventry fans shared champagne with us after the meet.”

The Champagne was flowing in Coventry because the Bees won 42-36 to take the title.

Coventry led throughout, and while the score remained tight, Bees were always in control on their home track.

The city was not to witness a sporting high to match until 1987 when the Sky Blues brought the FA Cup home.

Visit https://coventryobserver.co.uk/news/campaign-save-our-bees-a-coventry-observer-campaign-to-get-the-bees-back-on-track/ for further information about our #SaveOurBees campaign.

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