BLAST FROM THE PAST: Champion team Whoberley Witches re-united
Coventry’s only British team champions – the Whoberley Witches – were reunited at the Coventry junior finals day at Bretford Playing Fields last Sunday. Five members of the Witches looked on as the present day Coventry `skid kids` raced for individual glory.
Ex Coventry Bees Speedway star Frank Smith, Roger Adams, Ray Dennis, Witches captain Rob Hardie were joined by John Harrison – who had flown in from New Zealand to join the reunion.
The Whoberley Witches, forerunners of the present day Coventry club, raced their matches at Hearsall Common. They beat Manchester club, Blackley Flyers, in the 1965 National Junior Team Final. They remain the only team from Coventry to win a national team final.
Now all in their late sixties, they spent hours at the revived Brandon track – and several more in the Queens Head pub afterwards – recounting the glory days of the sport in the mid-1960s when every district of Coventry had a Cycle Speedway team.
Their presence at the Coventry junior finals was fitting as they watched another chapter in the resurgence of the former “bombsite sport” in the city. Last Sunday’s entry list produced the highest number of riders at any meeting in Coventry since the Witches were national kingpins.
Looking on, Smith, a five times Coventry individual champion, said: “This really is a wonderful day for us. Not only are the Witches team back together again but to see the sport thriving again in Coventry is marvelous”.