Frustration as bid to bring stock cars and speedway back to Odsal held-up (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Frustration as bid to bring stock cars and speedway back to Odsal held-up
8:00am Sunday 27th October 2013 in News
A stock car racing boss vying to bring the sport back to Odsal with a six-figure investment spoke of his frustration at not being able to find the “right people to talk to” since Bradford Bulls’ change of ownership.
Steve Rees, of Startrax, said he understood negotiations over plans to bring stock cars and speedway back to the Provident Stadium would now have to start from scratch after Omar Khan stood down as owner of the Super League outfit at the end of August.
But he says he and Tony Mole, president of British Speedway, did not know whether the Bulls are still interested in securing the return of both sports since the club was taken over by Ryan Whitcut, Mark Moore, Ian Watt and Andrew Calvert.
But Robbie Hunter-Paul, chief executive for the Bradford Bulls, said: “I can categorically say that nobody has tried to contact me from stock car racing or speedway.
“At this point in time, we are in the business of rugby. We will look at all income generating opportunities for the Bulls but if it doesn’t make good business sense, we won’t be taking it forward.”
Mr Rees said: “Obviously the Bulls’ commercial management have much higher and basic priorities in the short-term in producing and effecting a new business plan focused towards ensuring the viable success of the Super League franchise, and that inevitably pushes us down the agenda of priorities.
“However, finding the right people to talk to is difficult and somewhat frustrating.
“Eventually from our perspective, having done the groundwork, the costings and the conclusion that it is a viable project, both of us just now need a straightforward yes or no as to whether there is commercial interest in the project that is viable for all parties.”
The Telegraph & Argus reported in August how Mr Mole had hit a setback in his plans to reintroduce speedway at Odsal in time for the 2014 season because of a legal technicality.
Although Bradford Council granted planning permission for speedway at Odsal in May, Mr Mole said there was a clause in the stadium’s lease, currently held by the RFL, which did not permit the sport.
Mr Rees said both he and Mr Mole wanted their respective sports to return to Bradford and remained determined.
“I believe that between Tony and myself we can demonstrate that motorsport and Super League rugby can successfully harmonise, and that can only benefit the Bulls as a commercial entity as well as providing some additional employment and local business revenue with the return of world-class oval racing. But of course, they hold the final key.”
He added: “Both sports now have the necessary legal permissions in place and are ready to commit to bringing world-class motorsport back to Odsal Stadium, which will require a significant six-figure investment.
“The elephant in the room, particularly given the financial restructuring, is whether Super League and the Bulls need or require alternative sports at Odsal and revenue.
“We believe the inclusion of speedway and stock cars will, in essence, assist the Bulls and the local community with invaluable additional revenue.”
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