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City to be venue of British championship for the first time; CYCLE SPEEDWAY.

COVENTRY will host this year' s British Cycle Speedway Final.

The showpiece event, promoted by Coventry Cycle Speedway Club, goes ahead at the purpose-built Hearsall Common track on Bank Holiday Monday, August 29 (3pm).

It is the first time in the sport' s 60-year history that the British Final has come to Coventry, who fought off stiff opposition from Ipswich and Wolverhampton to win the right.

Originally known as the ' skid-kid' or ' bomb-site' sport, cycle speedway began just after the Second World War with youngsters imitating their motor-cycle speedway heroes on tracks marked out by bricks from the rubble created by bombing raids, and in the early 1950s every district of Coventry had a cycle speedway team.

The sport became a national craze, similar to the impact made by BMX in the 1980s. Today the sport has developed in its own right with 40 clubs racing weekly across the country as internationally in Australia, Holland, Poland and America, and some 1,000 riders registered with British Cycling, the sport' s governing body.

Coventry City Council' s culture and leisure division are supporting the event and have given a pounds 5,000 grant to upgrade the Hearsall Common track and to provide spectator facilities for the final.

The host club has won commercial backing for the biggest day in its history from Devlins Newsagents, Castle Vehicle Hire, A Plant Accommodation and Lloyds TSB.

"The allocation of the British Cycle Speedway Final is another major boost for the city," said club chairman Gary Pointer. "We plan to make the final a day to remember, full of action, glamour and razzamatazz - a real credit to the city."

Admission will be free and spectators are guaranteed two hours of non- stop, family entertainment.

Wolverhampton' s Lee Aris is the current title holder, while Leicester' s Dave Hemsley, a three-times world champion and a regular at Coventry' s Wednesday evening training sessions, is one of the hot favourites to lift this year' s crown.

o COVENTRY Devlins Newsagents slipped to a narrow 92-87 British League defeat against old rivals Leicester at Hearsall Common.

Missing injured Nicky Whitehead, Ashley Pointer, Dave Frith and Joe McLaughlin, Coventry fielded a weakened side against the current British team champions but led after four heats with wins from Poland' s Damian Wozny and Robert Bedra.

Bedra and Dominik Rycharski won consecutive heats as Coventry reached the halfway point trailing 47-42, but although two wins from Wozny kept them in contention early in the second period with support riders James Harrison and Tim Metcalfe giving much-needed backing, the match was finally lost in heat 17 when Bedra could only manage third place. The home side gained some consolation from a superb Wozny-Rycharski last heat maximum.

Leicester also had the upper hand in the supporting junior fixture, beating an inexperienced Coventry side 92-71.

Newcomer Joe Kemp reeled off four brilliant heat wins to record his first ever maximum for Coventry.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jun 14, 2005
Words:488
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