SPEEDWAY: THE OBSERVER has taken its fight to save Coventry Bees to the corridors of power.
Rugby MP Mark Pawsey, secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Speedway, invited sports editor and keen Bees fan Shaun Reynolds to the Houses of Parliament to discuss Bees’ ongoing off-track battle.
Bees supporters were left heartbroken in February when a last-minute deal for the 89-year-old club to race at Leicester speedway fell through, meaning the club was not only homeless but also axed from the 2017 SGB Premiership season.
Our campaign aims to see the Bees return to racing in 2018 while ensuring a long-term plan is developed to Bees can enjoy a future away from Brandon if a potential lease ends.
Since Bees’ axe, Coventry Stadium owners Brandon Estates have announced plans to build 137 homes on the site – a move which would put Bees’ long-term future in jeopardy.
Despite claims from Brandon Estates that residents wanted houses built, our survey revealed 93 per cent of residents in Binley Woods and Brandon wanted speedway and stock car racing to return.
A Save Coventry Speedway committee has been formed to represent the club’s interests and arrange various challenge matches away from home to keep Bees’ name in the spotlight.
Campaigners Jeff Davies, Steve Jones and Pete Lawrence also made the trip to London to visit Mr Pawsey.
We highlighted the hurt fans are feeling following Bees’ axe and raised the results of our campaign survey from October.
Mr Pawsey – who watched the Bees race when he was a boy – said he would continue to defend Coventry Bees’ cause when Brandon Estates submitted their planning application.
He also highlighted Bees’ plight in a lengthy speech during the APPG’s annual celebration ceremony.
Mr Pawsey said: “Speedway is a fantastic sport and we are very lucky to have had the iconic Coventry Bees based in Brandon. I grew up in Binley Woods and I remember going to enjoy racing there with friends and family when I was young.
“It was clear at the reception that Save Coventry Speedway enjoys significant support from the speedway community to see them return to racing.
“I will continue to work to try and ensure that we can retain speedway at Brandon and preserve the stadium for future generations.”
Since February, the Rugby MP has held a meeting at Westminster with representatives from Brandon Estates with the aim of finding a resolution to allow Bees to resume racing.
Jeff Davies of Save Coventry Speedway said: “We are extremely grateful to Mr Pawsey for the invitation and for making the plight of the Coventry Bees the core of his speech.
“He spoke very passionately about the sport and the significance of the Bees.
“He also made a plea to the large gathering of people, including many of the sport’s administrators, to do everything they could to support our campaign.
“To have the ongoing support of Mr Pawsey is really important to us and the thousands of people who have lost their sport.”
Fans of the Coventry Bees speedway club and CoventryStox can email firstname.lastname@example.org or use #SaveOurBees on Twitter to support our sister paper The Coventry Observer’s campaign.