SPEEDWAY by Alan Goodman: No racing for Bees’ fans this season

Alan Goodman
Alan Goodman

MP Mark Pawsey calls for emergency meeting and says he will continue to do all he can to help

The news that many Bees’ fans were dreading came on Sunday with the BSPA announcement that Coventry would not be operating in the 2017 season and their licence would be put on hold, writes Alan Goodman.

MARCH 2016: Coventry Bees team launching the season this time last year

MARCH 2016: Coventry Bees team launching the season this time last year

It was said that the club were not in a position to satisfy the association in the matter of fulfilling a full season of the league with no guarantee of a return to Brandon.

There was an agreement with Leicester to run eight meetings at their track and to this effect the club were issuing half season tickets.

It now appears that the financial situation has worsened due to the loss of the previous sponsors and no new ones coming forward.

The association has been dealing with problems at the two most famous tracks in the sport, Belle Vue and Coventry and the Bees’ news was released almost immediately after the Aces’ future was secured. It was also unfortunate that the decision was made the day after promoter Mick Horton addressed fans at a meeting of Nuneaton Supporters Club at Brandon Club on Thursday night.

The delay in the official announcement until Sunday was due to the need for riders and officials to be notified of the situation.

At the meeting Mr Horton did not paint a particularly rosy picture but indicated that the planned meetings at Leicester would go ahead and then either an extension or move to another track, possibly Birmingham, to complete the season.

He told fans that the stadium was again up for sale but would not give any more information.

He did feel that it would need to be a multi-sport complex if it was to be financially successful. He also said that he would be prepared to sell the club ‘to anybody with the right intentions.’

This is a great disappointment after 69 years of successive racing, the longest at one particular stadium and the way forward appears to be a completely new stadium as Leicester themselves did after the loss of their traditional Blackbird Road home.

These things do, however, take time but hopefully it will not be long before better news comes and the famous Brandon Bees are back on track.

MP Mark Pawsey, who recently raised Coventry Bees’ issues in Parliament, has said he will continue to do everything he can to see them racing again as soon as possible.

“I was deeply disappointed to learn that the British Speedway Promoters Association have taken the decision to prevent the Coventry Bees from taking part in the upcoming season,” he said.

“Having grown up in Binley Woods a short distance from Brandon Stadium, I have many memories of watching the team race alongside friends and family.

“This decision is a terrible blow to the many thousands of fans of the Bees, who were hoping that the ongoing issues regarding Brandon Stadium could be amicably resolved.

“My thoughts are particularly with the Coventry Bees’ riders and their families, who now face an uncertain future.

“Alongside other MPs who have speedway stadiums in their constituencies, I founded the All Party Parliamentary Group for Motorcycle Speedway in 2013 to raise awareness of the sport and help build links between Parliamentarians and the speedway industry. I have also highlighted the challenges faced by the Coventry Bees in Parliament on a number of occasions, including just a few weeks ago.

“Following the announcement that the Bees will not race in 2017, I have called for an emergency meeting of the APPG to bring together Parliamentarians, promoters and administrators of speedway to discuss this troubling situation.

“I will continue to do all I can to see Coventry Bees return to racing as soon as possible.”