Coventry Bees up for sale after racing licence put 'on ice' - The Rugby Observer

Coventry Bees up for sale after racing licence put 'on ice'

Shaun Reynolds 2nd Mar, 2017 Updated: 2nd Mar, 2017   0

COVENTRY Bees speedway team will not compete in this year’s SGB Premiership after British Speedway bosses confirmed their licence had been put on ice – ending 88 years of speedway history in the borough.

Owner Mick Horton put the club up for sale after SpeedwayGB said the club was not in a position to fulfil a full season of league racing, with no guarantee of returning to their Brandon Stadium home.

A SpeedwayGB spokesman said: “Due to well documented issues with their former Brandon Stadium home, the Bees only have an agreement in place to run a handful of meetings at Leicester.

“In addition there have been developments in the past 10 days where financial support for the Coventry promotion has changed, again meaning the Association are not satisfied they can fulfil a full season.

“We feel extremely sad for the Bees riders, fans and officials but we believe this decision has been made in the best interests of the sport.

“We sincerely hope circumstances can improve for Coventry during the course of this year which will enable them to return to the track in the 2018 season.”

The news was revealed just weeks after it was confirmed the Bees would compete at Leicester’s Beaumont Park stadium after a deal couldn’t be reached for the world-famous team to compete at Brandon.

Fans were assured on three occasions by the sport’s governing body that the Bees would compete in this year’s league.

An initial one-year lease for the Bees to remain at Brandon was completed in July, but a dispute over fixtures and fittings at Brandon led to further doubt in December – with another confirmation statement released later that month.

Mr Horton said he knew he had to step aside and invite offers.

He said: “I am still in shock with what has happened.

“Am I bitter? Yes I am, but the most important priority is to do the right thing to ensure the Bees can come back next season stronger, and hopefully racing in Coventry.

“It was never going to be easy getting through this season but we were optimistic that the Coventry fans would still come and watch.”

See our Sport section for more reaction.

*A CAMPAIGN to ‘Save Our Bees’ has been launched by our sister paper The Coventry Observer – calling on all parties involved to get the Bees back racing for the 2018 season.

The club has been home to some of the sport’s greatest ever riders including Ole Olsen, Tommy Knudsen, Greg Hancock, Chris Harris, and the late Lee Richardson and Nigel Boocock.

Since forming, the Bees have won 36 major championships – including the Elite League, British League, Midland Cup, British League Knockout Cup, Craven Shield and more.

Tens of thousands of fans used to turn out each week to watch the world-famous club in action, with crowds peaking at higher than 25,000 during the sport’s heyday in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

The campaign calls on the Coventry Bees, Brandon Estates, Rugby Borough Council and all relevant institutions to support:

1. Getting the world-famous Coventry Bees back on track for the 2018 SGB Premiership season

2. Ensuring a long-term plan is developed so the Bees can look forward to a bright future away from their Brandon home once a potential lease ends.

Visit for more on the campaign.


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