Location: Hearsall Common, Earlsdon, Coventry
Event: 13 October 2011
Report: Joe McLaughlin
Coventry Devlins Newsagents Cycle Speedway club made history last Thursday evening at their Hearsall Common headquarters by staging the first ever floodlit cycle speedway meeting in the city.
The club staged the Coventry Junior Championship, in partnership with Bretford Bulldogs, before an astonishingly large crowd for a local amateur sports event, of just over 200 people under floodlights sponsored by Speedy Hire.
It capped a terrific comeback year for the Coventry club, after four years of inactivity since 2007. A challenge match took place against Birmingham in May, in which Coventry had to borrow riders to make up their team, which ignited a terrific revival of the sport in the city.
Since May, the club have, using their own voluntary labour and funds, totally reinstated the Hearsall Common track to its former glory. They have competed in some 20 junior matches, unearthing a stream of richly promising juniors in the process, and tempted several senior riders to return to racing.
Whilst the Coventry club took the plaudits for its comeback and their high profile promotion of the Coventry Junior Final, it was near neighbours Bretford Bulldogs who took most of the honours on the track, with Bulldogs riders claiming all three age category Coventry champions.
Bulldogs diminutive hotshot Lee Kemp was the star of the night. He lit up the Hearsall Common track, along with the Speedy Hire lighting, with a tremendous display to capture the overall under 18s title, in addition to scooping the under 15s crown.
Bretford also provided the runner up in both the under 18s and under 15s championship in the dashing form of Kyle Roberts, who was beaten only by the flying Kemp.
Coventry racer Liam Mcguire included three race wins on his way to an accomplished 18 point haul to claim third place on the podium in the under 18s classification, whilst his popular team mate Macauley Burnett just edged out determined colleague James Kirrane to take third in the under 15s field.
Bretford made a clean sweep in the under 12s final in a wonderful night for the village club. Niall Cleaver took the title in fine style, with Dan Price in second and Jason Cleaver in third.
To round off the night, two motorbike Speedway riders, Rory Schlein and Stuart Robson, with strong connections to Sky Sports Elite League Speedway club Coventry Bees, took part in a match race at Cycle Speedway with former Findon (Australia) ‘skid kid'Schlein showing fine style in taking the win.
It was a terrifically successful evening, the first time the Coventry Finals have been contested by riders representing more than one club since 1985, highlighting a renewed surge of interest in the sport in the Godiva city.
Lee Kemp (Bretford) 20 points, Kyle Roberts (Bretford) 19, Liam McGuire (Coventry) 18, Macauley Burnett (Coventry) 16, James Kirrane (Coventry) 16, Niall Cleaver (Bretford) 15, Matt Hambridge (Bretford) 13, Dan Price (Bretford) 13, Callum McCarroll (Coventry) 12, Mason Phillips (Bretford) 12, Jake Slatter (Coventry) 10, Lewis Challenor (Coventry) 9, Jason Cleaver (Bretford) 9, Scott Price (Bretford) 7, Joe Sears (Bretford) 6 and Sam Slatter (Coventry) 5.