NEWS: Race to save Bretford

One of the sports most successful junior clubs is on the brink of closure – and the race is on to try to save the picturesque Bretford Bulldogs Warwickshire venue from staging its last match.

Two weeks ago, Bretford were within an hour of almost certain closure. The remaining parents and riders were due to have a meeting – with the formal folding of the club high on the agenda.

However, keen parent Ade Cleaver, father of promising juniors Niall and Jason, rang Coventry`s Joe Mclaughin shortly before the meeting. McLaughlin, who inspired the current fantastic revival at Hearsall Common, advised the deferment of any decision pending a joint meeting of the two clubs to try and save the Bulldogs.

That meeting will go-ahead tonight, with senior officials Lee Marsh, Andy Drewett, Rob Barnett and Mark Roberts heading the Coventry delegation, along with several Bretford parents.

Ade Cleaver said “We have lacked experience and direction for some time now. We suffer from a lack of matches and regular clubnight activities. There is not enough interest amongst the remaining parents to keep the club operating. And, several of the remaining juniors have lost interest as Cycle Speedway is in most cases not their main summer sport.

“We hope our colleagues from Coventry can assist to try and keep the track going. Its a great shame as its an important rural youth facility for youngsters around Brandon, Binley Woods, Bretford and other surrounding villages”.

It is thought the Coventry side are very willing to assist to help their most local rivals. The Coventry club is booming with scores of riders and officials see the survival of Bretford as key in providing more racing opportunities.

A formal Coventry `takeover` is being discounted at this stage – more likely will be some existing Bretford personnel remaining but advised and helped by Coventry`s proven marketing, promotion, media and recruitment skills.

Already, McLaughlin has recruited a former Cycle Speedway rider, who is in sports management, and who is currently not connected with either Bretford or Coventry, to `head-up` a new Tuesday evening `Clubnight`, to start in mid April next year at Bretford, which will then become the focal point of the club if it continues, whereby expert promotional skills will be engaged to attract newcomers and volunteers.

This new coach, who has been out of the sport for 25 years, is set to attend tonight’s meeting.

Mark and Rosie Roberts, together with Kyle, who live in Bretford, have also pledged their support, with Mark indicating he would help maintain the track ahead of the proposed Tuesday evening sessions.

Rob Barnett, of Coventry, said “Its paramount our strong clubs help to safeguard the future of all our existing tracks, therefore helping to create more opportunities for racing for the overall good. We hope for some positive news from tonight’s meeting”.