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Somerset Closure

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CLUB STATEMENT: SOMERSET SPEEDWAY CLOSURE



Somerset Speedway promoter Debbie Hancock has today announced "it is with a heavy heart that I have to advise supporters and sponsors that the Hancock family have decided to retire from British Speedway and Somerset will be no longer."


Emotionally she added "I can assure everyone who has backed the club that had it not been for the outbreak of Covid-19 then we would have not been in the position that we have found ourselves in. Furthermore, I would like everyone to know that we never had any intention to sell the clubhouse, as that was very much a personal project that the family had built up over the years. But, the loss of the facility due to the Covid-19 restrictions, hit us financially, with the Clubhouse not being able to open. It's core-business was the hosting of large functions and it became apparent to us that, on numbers of 30 people or less it would cost us money to re-open on the basis of seating restrictions and social distance compliance, once the Government legislation permitted it.
"I am sure that there will be some people who wont believe me when I say however, that we did not even advertise the sale of the facility, and that it was just a chance conversation Dad (Bill Hancock) had with someone on a bleak day in February that led to a would-be buyer coming forward. This was a month after we had made the call to put our licence on hold for the 2021 season, because of our concerns over the Covid-19 restrictions. We discussed the offer as a family and to be honest, whilst it was an agonising decision, it was a no brainer to sell the Clubhouse.

"Of course, we all recognised that the huge downside was that potentially we would no longer be able to run speedway, but we had to run with our heads and not our hearts and whilst I know that our decision will upset many fans that have stuck by us over the years, I genuinely hope that they live with all the great memories Somerset speedway has generated over the years, and understand as a family why we have had to come to this day. I know that our many loyal fans will undoubtedly take this news hard. Once again, it was not an easy decision to make but one that was based on pure economics. We have made many friends over the years and there have also been many friendships made between our supporters. Long may they continue to flourish.

"There have been other factors underpinning our decision. Not least the fact that our request for extra planning permission from our local council to do more training schools, in an attempt to encourage more youngsters to break through into the sport and help us financially. We believed that, had we that option, it would have helped make us a great speedway club but unfortunately, this was turned down on the basis of unsatisfactory noise levels. To my mind that seemed crazy and it came as a bitter blow when I know clubs such as Scunthorpe, who also own their own track, can do what they do. The way it should be.

"Genuinely, as a family we have put everything into running Somerset speedway and it has not always been an easy task, but we did it and we are proud of what we have achieved. It is important for us to make clear that what was written in the Speedway Star a few weeks back, about the surrounding land, had absolutely nothing to do with our decisions on both the Oaktree and the Speedway, because they are all totally separate businesses. My father and I declined to comment to the reporter for that reason, and whilst I did send him texts to state this, evidently, he chose to have none of it and continued with the story, painting a different version to the facts.

"At all stages of our decision-making process we thought of all the key people who had given so much to Somerset Speedway. In recent years we had been blessed with having a formidable Co promoter and Team Manager in Garry May. In my book he was one of the best team managers in recent years. What he doesn’t know about tactics and putting a team together is not worth talking about. We feel for Gazza, and appreciate the pain he must be feeling in seeing his beloved Rebels close down. Me, Dad and Mum simply cannot thank him enough for what he has done over the last few years. He will always be a great family friend and certainly a best friend to me. I am sure that speedway will find him an opportunity to shine again at some point in the future.


 

"When we reflect on the last 10 years there has been one very special company that stood proudly by ours sides in a big way. Cases have been phenomenal sponsors of Somerset Speedway, and I cannot thank Ian Burns, Sean Campbell and Rob Nigh enough for all their support over the years. They became our headline sponsors in 2012 and have been on the journey with us ever since. But there have also been so many other team partners and sponsors along the years that have also continuously backed us speedway really would not have been possible without these guys, and to all of those, we offer our sincere thanks and gratitude.



"No speedway club could survive without the efforts of the track and backroom staff. What they bring to a race night and being able to make an event happen is immeasurable and I know some of it is a thankless task, so on this very sad occasion I would like to offer up a huge thank you for the time that has been given over the years, by either current or retired staff. I sincerely thank you for everything you have done for us, it has always been appreciated.

"Finally, I would like to inform all supporters that whilst we will be selling the Air Fence, an asset that many fans have contributed towards over the years, all monies received will be donated to our Charity Partners Somerset and Dorset Air Ambulance.

"Having reached our final decision, I would like it to be known that the Hancock family and promotion will be making no further comment pertaining to it."

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Sad times. Lets hope that everyone reads the whole statement which gives all the reasoning rather than reacting to just the headline and trying to 'point a finger'!!

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9 minutes ago, Skidder1 said:

Sad times. Lets hope that everyone reads the whole statement which gives all the reasoning rather than reacting to just the headline and trying to 'point a finger'!!

Skidder, absolutely gutted for the Hancock family and supporters.have loved every visit I've had to the oak tree albeit for the pairs or league/ cup racing and it is so so sad for the sport to lose such a damn fine venue and racetrack.i will look back with very fond memory of my visits and the kindness and friendliness of all the supporters.such a sad time.

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Very disappointing. It was naive to think there wouldn't be long term consequences to covid, but so heartbreaking that the first casualty should be such a great racing track and one of the sport's more professional promotions.

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Cant understand the noise issue , its right next to the m5 :o

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11 minutes ago, geoff100 said:

Cant understand the noise issue , its right next to the m5 :o

Not that I’m suggesting it’s an issue for a couple of hours on the odd evening whatsoever - but the bikes can be heard from the middle of Burnham, which is abit different to the motorway.

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For me the highlight of the Cardiff Gp weekend was Friday evening at Somerset and the Pairs the racing was far better than anything we ever saw in Cardiff the following evening. 
Such a shame sad day for British speedway . 

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Which teams will be left in a few years time, Glasgow , Berwick, Sheffield, Belle Vue, Wolverhampton and Ipswich.

 

Doom and gloom, BSPL  must work even harder ( Isle of Wight) to ensure clubs survive.

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, geoff100 said:

Cant understand the noise issue , its right next to the m5 :o

 

Oak Tree Business Park, HIGHBRIDGE, TA9 4HA

.......and  ALL the noise from building this!! The new industrial park which has been given the green light by the council!! IS it really needed,spoiling the land,and it just shows how councils operate,ie NO to extra speedway training schools,YES to large industrial units,the build and also the continued use of the units.crazy

Edited by speedwaysliders
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30 minutes ago, speedwaysliders said:

 

Oak Tree Business Park, HIGHBRIDGE, TA9 4HA

.......and  ALL the noise from building this!! The new industrial park which has been given the green light by the council!! IS it really needed,spoiling the land,and it just shows how councils operate,ie NO to extra speedway training schools,YES to large industrial units,the build and also the continued use of the units.crazy

Given Bill holding a high rank locally,   I'm  sure he could have got planning applications through around speedway and use if he really wanted too!  They sold out for a big wedge, fair play, any business savvy individual would, so don't really see the point in the Scunthorpe comment in the press release. 

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Why hasnt the Eurosport money been used to help try and save this great venue?

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this has to bring 1 division closer.

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Any point in starting another thread on Somerset closure?

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20 minutes ago, RPNY said:

Why hasnt the Eurosport money been used to help try and save this great venue?

I think it would need more than that.

Out of curiosity, I wonder what offers/help was offered to keep the venue going?

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