Tuesday January 31, 2017
Leicester Speedway has been taken over by the Sheffield Promoter Damien Bates who becomes the new owner of the club following a deal struck with Keith Chapman to buy the lease.

The Lions were saved from possible closure before Christmas by Chapman, the Chairman of the British Speedway Promoters Association, who negotiated a fifteen year lease from the Beaumont Park Stadium owner David Hemsley.

Last season the Yorkshire club raced to their best finish in the Premier League since Bates and his fellow co-promoters took over the club three years ago. The Tigers were losing finalists in the Play-offs to Somerset and the purchase of Leicester does not in any way effect his business interests at Sheffield.

Barnsley based Bates who has taken over full control of the club will work alongside David Darcy who retains his position from the previous promotion at Leicester. “I accept that we are now only weeks away from the start of the new season and so our main priority is to quickly form a team that is the best competitive seven riders we can assemble. I can confirm that we have already opened talks with several riders about racing for the Lions and we should be in a position to announce the first signings any day now. I am aware that Leicester went through a difficult trading period last season and I will be doing everything possible to ensure that the club is placed on a sound financial footing that secures the future of Leicester Speedway for years to come. I expect to expand the management team in the next two weeks which of course will include the appointment of a team manager” said Damien Bates the new owner of the Lions.

The Lions will continue to stage their home meetings on their traditional race night of Saturdays at Beaumont Park and for a short period of time the Coventry Bees will race their home fixtures at Leicester. Removal of fixtures and fittings during the winter has rendered Coventry’s stadium unusable in its present state and this has forced the Bees to find a temporary base whilst restoration work is carried out. “We are only too pleased to help our near neighbour in their hour of need and to keep them on track was most important for British Speedway. In terms of fixture planning it has to work for us first and foremost and therefore we will take precedence over Coventry who will work around us with their arrangements” added Bates.

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