1. ITV Report

Speedway set for return to Norwich

The Norwich Speedway team pictured in 1950 Photo: hoto: Barratts/S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport

There are plans to reintroduce speedway to Norwich after an absence of almost half a century - but they were immediately opposed by the rival team in Norfolk.

Norwich's hopes of calling themselves the Stars - which was their original name - have been attacked by King's Lynn, who ride in speedway's elite league and who've been known as the Stars for several years.

"That's our trademark and we would protect it very vigourously," said Lynn promoter Buster Chapman.

Speedway at the Firs in Norwich ended in 1964 but now a company called New Firs has launched a campaign to build a stadium on the Royal Norfolk showground on the edge of the city.

It's hoped the team will be up and running in March next year. It would ride on Saturday nights in the third tier of British speedway and would hope to have average crowds of 1500.

"With a population around Norwich of 275,000 to draw on, we think that's a realistic attendance," said New Firs director Steve Ribbons. " I know past attempts to revive speedway in Norwich have failed, but this is a much more professional bid."

Among those backing the campaign is former Norwich speedway star Ove Fundin, who won five world titles in the 50s and 60s.

He was at today's launch and said he'd love to see the sport return to the city.

"Norwich was a real speedway hotbed. I would love to be the link between the past and the future.

– Ove Fundin - Norwich Speedway legend

Local people are to be consulted about the idea and a planning application is expected to be submitted within the next few weeks.

King's Lynn have serious concerns. They believe the arrival of another club in the area would be too much.

"Obviously it's good that other tracks open but in the current economic climate I would have a fear that there isn't a sufficiently big speedway public to cover King's Lynn and Norwich," said Mr Chapman.

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