NEWS: 60s star Rob Hardie returns to Cycle Speedway

Former Coventry and District Cycle Speedway star Rob Hardie has been appointed the new Track Manager at fledgling club Brandon Bees. The club is based at the old Bretford Bulldogs club in the Warwickshire countryside village of Bretford.

Hardie, a Cycle Speedway teammate of ex Coventry Bees stars John Harrhy and Frank Smith in the 1960s, has been busy since the end of last season weed killing, cutting grass and doing routine maintenance work at the picturesque venue. He has spent two half days at the track since Christmas.

Brandon Bees, who originally raced in the Coventry Speedway stadium carpark, were revived in 2015 to keep racing afloat at the track. They competed in the Midland League division 2, using mainly Coventry registered riders.

However, superbly offering new and extra racing opportunities, the Brandon Bees also tempted former riders like ex World Champion Ray Oliver, Mick Docker, Ashley Pointer and Liam McGuire back into racing.

Rob Hardie

Rob Hardie

It was Oliver`s first racing for 14 years, Docker`s first for 13 and Pointers first appearance for eight years. In all, Brandon fielded an amazing 24 riders – the most of any Midland team in any league last year.

It is anticipated that Brandon will become part of Coventry in 2016, as the club look to help the sport retain a precious racing facility, although this will need to be ratified by the upcoming Coventry AGM. Brandon are expected to run as a Midland League division 3 team in 2016.

Hardie is the father of ex Coventry junior Sam, who retired in 2005. Rob Hardie has no position with Coventry CSC and this appointment is seen as a vital move to help Brandon become a self-sustaining club eventually.

He said: “I have recently retired from work and kept in touch with Joe McLaughlin, who sent me details of big events at Hearsall Common in recent years. Joe mentioned about the track at Brandon.

“Having raced in the Coventry League in the 1960s with as many as 12 teams, I was only too keen to assist, with others, to help expand the sport in the area in the present day”.

Brandon are hoping to get British Cycling involved at a coaching and development level in 2016 should they obtain coaching accreditation. Local rider Kyle Roberts, who lives in the village, and who did much to help reinstate the overgrown track for the 2015 season, is expected to use the track for training and assist any coaching initiatives.

Brandon officials are looking for Coventry Bees Speedway fans, and community spirited residents of Bretford, Brandon and surrounding villages, to step forward and assist in running the club and in staging matches on race days.

If you would like to become a volunteer at Brandon Bees Cycle Speedway club, and help provide much needed exciting and healthy activities for the youth of East Warwickshire, please email your interest to Pauline Stuart at: