Save Coventry Speedway founder: – Putting a blame would have been a waste of energy

Jeff Davies fought off many months to prevent the speedway team Bees from going out of Coventry. The iCov News was the first editorial team for which the founder of Save Coventry Speedway campaign has broken the silence. Mr Davies told us how he looks at the future of the Bees and whether he thinks that last months became the last straw of motosport in Coventry.


Maks Chudzik, iCov News: – You have had in-depth look into the row of Brandon Stadium. What part of dispute do you particularly blame for the entire case? Owners of the stadium who are likely to change the track for housing estate? Or Mick Horton who could do more in your opinion to keep speedway in Coventry?

Jeff Davies, The Save Coventry Speedway founder: – Our campaign group agreed at very first meeting that we would not debate with anyone, the reasons why Coventry Bees closed. We agreed we would conduct ourselves throughout with integrity and would not get involved in discussions about who was to blame. The reason for that was quite simple – it would have been a waste of our energy. We had to accept that we are where we are and we needed to focus on looking forward. Looking forward to try and find a solution to bring about a return of speedway and especially stock car racing to Coventry. We do not want to look at the past.


So how do you look at the future of the team?

It all rather depends on how successful we are in trying to stop the stadium being redeveloped for housing. We are opposing it because the developers bought it in 2013 when it was a thriving, viable motorsport stadium. It was an outrageous piece of speculative buying. It has been a motorsport stadium since 1928 and has a glorious history. It is the most famous club in the country with a rich heritage. If we are successful in stopping houses being built on it, we would need to find a lot of money to buy it back and repair all the damage. If we are not successful and they get permission to build houses, we will insist on a replacement stadium as a requirement of the planning permission.


How did entire case find a way to official debate in Parliament?

Everything started as soon as we approached the Member of Parliament for Rugby, Mark Pawsey who as a young man lived quite near the stadium and was a regular attendee at Brandon. We asked him if to help with two specific requests and he agreed. Mr Pawsey is also the Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Speedway and he invited us to Westminster.


How much do you agree with opinions of some local Councillors who pointed out that this is the funeral of motosport in Coventry?

I will never accept that or similar statements. Our campaign has tremendous momentum at the moment, with speedway and stock car fans, numerous Councillors in both Coventry and Rugby, the council leaders like mentioned MP Mark Pawsey and thousands of residents in the nearest villages. Together we are capable of bringing Coventry back to their heritage.


So do you believe the owner of the club, Mick Horton, who claims that Coventry will return to British speedway elite sooner than later?

I do not want to talk about Mr Horton as he is likely to move the team towards racing at Leicester in the National League. It is not a suitable solution. If there was a plan beyond 2018 to return to Coventry, we would be more inclined to support that venture. At the moment, no such plan exists.



Opinion of pundit:

Simon Gilbert ??? Chief Reporter in Coventry Telegraph

Last 12 months were absolute disaster for speedway fans at Coventry. Everything started by the time the current Brandon Stadium owners decided to build up over 250 homes on the site after 69 consecutive years at the speedway highest level there. Firstly, it was said that the club will be able to operate in Coventry until 2019 but developments evolved so far and the team missed a deadline to present all essential documents to British Speedway Promoters??? Association. Shortly after, former owner of the Brandon Stadium, Avtar Sandhu, removed fittings that he allegedly owned and Warwickshire Police launched their investigation about this matter. Currently, I cannot see any other option that starting the season at Leicester???s Beaumont Park but this would mean that the Coventry Bees will be forced to compete in English lowest speedway tier, the SGB Premiership.


Maks Chudzik

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