CLUB NEWS: BC Blow Coventry’s chance of new track
For decades, Coventry Cycle Speedway Club have endeavored to bring Coventry City Council on board to provide a fit for purpose home for the Coventry Sabres team and its members.
Whilst being an excellent race track, Hearsall Common is essentially a track in a field. It has no water, no electric, no toilets, no changing rooms. Worst of all, it regularly suffers enthusiasm sapping vandalism.
A dream come true
Finally, after producing British and World champions from the City, huge well-run and attended showcase events and maintaining a healthy, broad membership, the club had a dream offer to move to the Alan Higgs Centre. An all-encompassing modern sports centre, home to a brand new olympic swimming pool and the Coventry City FC Academy. It was a jackpot location for the club.
With swimming pool construction workers still on site, the council were ready to push forwards with a £30k match-funded investment with British Cycling. They would build the new circuit, with all the amenities a modern club needs on site. Alan Higgs boasts toilets, electricity, running water, changing rooms and even a bar (along with a host of sporting facilities and a gym).
However, British Cycling sensed an opportunity to create a wider cycling hub at the sports centre. This in turn became an ultimatum for the council; they would only put the money in if the council would match fund £100k to build a multi-purpose UK cycling facility.
At the best of times, such money would be difficult for a council to find, but during a pandemic, even less so. Negotiations stopped there. The opportunity for the ideal Cycle Speedway location was lost forever.
Do they want to help CS?
Cycle Speedway can be its own worst enemy at times. However, “Friends of Longford Park”, in the north of the city, were questioned by British Cycling: “Why do you want to build a Cycle Speedway track? Why not a BMX track instead?’. FoLP were keen to build a new track next to changing rooms, toilets, electric and running water in 2017. It leaves you wondering whether we’ll ever be taken seriously by our governing body?
The Alan Higgs Centre opportunity was the result of Coventry’s decades-long graft to prove themselves worthy of such investment. British Cycling had no right, to firstly try and hi-jack that with their own plans, but then completely destroy all the hopes and dreams of the club by taking their ball away when they didn’t get what they wanted. It would have cost them £30k out of their £15 million “places to ride” budget.
So the question we ask British Cycling is: when is this all going to change? Because your reputation in the sport has long been in tatters. You’re seen as nothing but a taker, with little-to-no interest in CS. Our sport is cheap. It is fun. It is accessible. With the right investment and promotion, it could actually become a jewel in the crown of British Cycling.
So when are you going to actually help us achieve our potential?