FORMER Coventry captain Andreas Jonsson has announced his retirement from the sport.
Jonsson, aged 38, says he has had to call time on his career due to the effect of a number of injuries over recent years.
The Swede rode for the Bees from 1998-2005, only missing out in 2000 when he didn’t race in the UK.
He made his first appearance at Brandon in Greg Hancock’s Testimonial meeting in early 1998, and later that summer promoter Colin Pratt made a secret trip to Sweden to capture his signature.
AJ’s debut for the club on August 22 will never be forgotten by those who witnessed it, as he was thrown straight into the second leg of a KO Cup semi-final with local rivals Wolverhampton, with Bees trailing by eight points from the first leg and having to operate rider-replacement for captain Brian Andersen who had been injured the night before.
Incredibly, after a last place in his first ride, Jonsson went on to score 10+3 from his next five, defeating top stars such as Sam Ermolenko, Mark Loram and Mikael Max (Karlsson) – and with Greg Hancock scoring a 21-point maximum, Bees swept into the Final.
AJ was involved in numerous thrilling races when riding for the club over the years to come, and he took over as captain in 2004 after the winter departure of Billy Hamill.
He was a member of the 2005 Elite League title-winning squad, although his final appearance came in mid-June as he had to call a halt to his UK racing due to illness brought about by the constant travel demands.
However, he signed out with a brilliant 14-point haul in a last-heat decider victory over Poole, and returned to take part in the end-of-season celebration meeting after Bees had clinched the title.
He came back to the UK with short stints for Arena-Essex/Lakeside in 2006 and 2007, and the full season in 2008, and also rode for the Hammers in 2015-16.
Individually, he won nine Grand Prix rounds and finished as runner-up in the World Championship in 2011 – whilst also winning three World Cups with Sweden.
Everyone involved with Coventry would like to congratulate AJ on a superb career, thank him for his service to our club and wish him and his family all the very best for the future.