COVENTRY fans turned out in force for Wednesday’s West Midlands Challenge fixture at Birmingham.
Due to the pandemic and a postponement at Perry Barr in March, this was the first time for several years that the famous Bees race-jacket had been seen in track action.
The club have not participated in senior league racing since the 2016 season, after which their stadium was closed down by property developers Brandon Estates, who then enabled its systematic destruction via non-existent security as they pursue an unwanted planning application for housing.
The need for speedway, and stock car racing, remains as great as ever, and this was again made clear with the attendance at Perry Barr in a thoroughly entertaining meeting.
Birmingham won the match 48-42 after a close contest, but the outcome was unimportant when compared to the bigger picture of seven riders all with Coventry connections representing the famous name of the club.
And Bees legend Chris Harris, a three-time league title winner with the Bees, wound back the clock with a spectacular display to score 14 points, which included some trademark overtaking moves.
There was also an impressive display from Connor Mountain to score 12+1 whilst Danish star Hans Andersen won his first two rides to finish on eight.
Our thanks to all the riders who turned out, including Adam Roynon, former mascot Joe Thompson, Luke Crang and Freddy Hodder – the latter right at the start of his speedway career, and who will have benefited greatly from the experience. Freddy’s grandfather rode for the Bees in the 1960s.
The team was managed by Martin Coleman, whose father Mick was a former track curator at Brandon.
Martin said: “I loved every minute of it, the guys were great with me and although I’ve never been a rider they were receptive to my comments, we had a nice track walk and the whole night was better than I ever thought it would be.
“You saw the black and yellow on the terraces and they can see what’s happened here at Birmingham, what’s happened down at Oxford, and you’ve got to keep the faith because ultimately we all want Brandon back.
“We all want Coventry Bees back, and meetings like tonight mean you can keep the memories and hopefully who knows, in the next year or two we can get back on track properly.”
Our thanks to Laurence Rogers and the Birmingham promotion for rearranging the meeting after it was rained off in March, and we wish them all the best for the remainder of the season and into 2023.
BIRMINGHAM 48: James Wright 12, Lee Complin 9+3, Tom Brennan 9, Simon Lambert 8+2, James Pearson 6+2, Broc Nicol 4, Justin Sedgmen 0. COVENTRY SELECT 42: Chris Harris 14, Connor Mountain 12+1, Hans Andersen 8, Adam Roynon 4, Joe Thompson 3, Luke Crang 1, Freddy Hodder 0.