CAMPAIGNERS from the Save Coventry Speedway group have responded to a statement released by Coventry Bees owner Mick Horton, which confirms his intentions to run National League speedway under Bees’ name at Leicester.
The Bees were absent from this year’s SGB Premiership after the British Speedway Promoters Association axed the club from the league in February.
It meant Bees didn’t take part in the sport’s top league – when active – for the first time in 89 years.
Though Mr Horton’s plan would see the world-famous Bees name return to racing, the large majority of fans have reacted negatively to the news. Some even stating ‘Brandon or Boycott’ across social media.
The possible agreement would see Bees race on Sunday afternoons in the National League – speedway’s lowest tier – 30 miles from their traditional Brandon home.
Should Mr Horton be successful in his application to shift his promoters licence from ‘on ice’ to ‘active’ this weekend – which The Observer understands is likely to happen – he would then need an application to race in the National League approved at the league’s AGM in December.
Responding to Mr Horton’s statement, which claimed a move to Leicester would secure the club’s long-term future, Save Coventry Speedway said they were contacted on Monday by the Coventry promotion confirming the news.
A statement read: “The Coventry promotion informed us of the news and to express the hope that we would support the venture.
“Our position is that we would not be against the concept of a Bees team entering a formal league away from the Coventry/Rugby area, if we were also convinced that it represented a genuine step towards returning the club either to its proper, established home, or a suitable replacement facility nearby.
We would also require a commitment that stock car supporters, who have been similarly affected by the loss of their sport from Coventry, were also to be sufficiently catered for in plans for the future.
At this stage, there is insufficient information to establish to what extent a stadium rental deal with Leicester ‘secures the long-term future of our club’.”
Save Coventry Speedway has directly contacted members of the Coventry promotion to request a meeting next week to discuss plans for the future.
But the campaign group is yet to hear from Bees’ promotion.
Led by Jeff Davies – Bees photographer since 1984 – the campaign group also questions Mr Horton’s claim that a ‘standalone stadium either at Brandon or elsewhere has never been commercially viable and will never be commercially viable for the club’.
The statement continued: “This (Mr Horton’s statement) appears closely aligned to representations made by Brandon Estates and Framptons over the past two years, and was further emphasised in their exhibition material stating the sports are ‘no longer viable’ at Brandon.
“It is difficult to accept the argument that Brandon continued to operate for as long as it did, with various different owners, if it was never commercially viable.”