NEWS: Boost for sport as Stoke is reformed

Cycle Speedway has received a massive early season boost with the news that’s activity at one of its former strongholds is to be revived. Stoke Cycle Speedway club are to be officially reformed in the next week. The news follows a Public Meeting held in Stoke on Thursday evening.

Over 30 people were present, including representatives from Stoke City Council, the British Cycle Speedway Commission, Staffordshire Police and the local community. Norman Venson represented the Midland League as its chair. The major Stoke newspaper, the Stoke Sentinel, sent a reporter to cover the meeting.

The meeting heard the welcome news from ex Stoke chairman, Avon Allcock, that the club would be reformed and he needed help with officials and volunteers. There was immediate assistance pledged from local Stoke Cycle Speedway former officials such as Rob Machin, Gene Bailey and Dave Phillips, together with present day rider Simon Munden, who all offered their full support.

Allcock informed the meeting that Wednesday evening `come and try it sessions, called `Club Night`, would be introduced in the next month or so, supervised by local Stoke volunteers. He said bikes were already to hand in a container next to the track.

Bob Prince of the Cycle Speedway Commission spoke to welcome the initiative and remarked on the tremendous enthusiasm. Prince is to put the new Stoke officials in touch with local British Cycling staff to promote the new sessions.

Allcock, speaking in an assured, effective and welcoming manner, told the meeting that the aim was to get the Stoke track back in use for the local community and for local young people to sample the exciting sport of Cycle Speedway. Efforts would centre around the new Wednesday night sessions. Allcock confirmed the new club would be making an early affiliation to British Cycling for club membership.

The meeting was also told that former Stoke star Andy Franks, now retired from work, was fully supportive of the venture. The floor was also informed that a local cycle shop, Hartshill Cycles, had offered support and sponsorship and that former rider Garry Pearce was interested in bringing his young son along to have a go.

It is expected that current Astley rider Munden, a landscape gardener by trade, would help supervise bringing the track back into top condition, helped by other volunteers.

Former Sheffield administrator Martin Gamble, an expert in `Club Night` sessions and best practice, had offered his support to advise the new Stoke officials. Gamble hopes to attend the first session, work commitments allowing, to brief the new officials.

The news of a revival in activity in Stoke is a tremendous boost for the sport. Its particularly welcomed in the Midlands region and comes on the back of the excellent news that racing has also been revived just over a week ago at the former Bretford track, now rebranded the Brandon Bees. It means active tracks in the Midlands has suddenly jumped from five to seven in a matter of days.