Stars’ chief Jonathan Chapman defends late postponement of King’s Lynn and Coventry Bees clash
PUBLISHED: 10:00 10 May 2012
© Archant Norfolk 2012
King’s Lynn Stars co-promoter Jonathan Chapman has defended the decision to postpone last night’s meeting with Coventry Bees less than 30 minutes before it was set to star
Supporters had already started to arrive at the Norfolk Arena in the hope that the meeting would go ahead despite heavy rain falling in the town during the afternoon.
But fans and both teams were left disappointed when another downpour fell on the Saddlebow Road shale at around 7pm forcing the Elite League clash to be called off.
Chapman said: “It’s very easy to look at forecasts two days ahead and go ‘we’re never going to get on’ and cancel it.
“We’ve done that for the past two meetings here and they were the right choices. But you sort of think - come on our luck has got to change with this weather a bit.
“We held on till the morning and the forecast said the rain was going to stay clear till 1pm, come in, and then leave again.
“We had the team practising here at noon and they were flying around the track. It was absolutely perfect. We packed the track down, ready for the rain, which did come.
“But then it stopped as scheduled and we thought here we go. We’ve pulled a masterstroke here, we’ve tried our luck, and it’s going to come through.
“Then out of nowhere - I think the wind changed direction - a big blanket of rain was brought in from the Midlands, and that was the end of that.”
Some fans criticised the late postponement with many forecasts predicting rain would hit King’s Lynn days in advance.
However, Chapman claimed the information they were relying on told a different story, and left Stars’ chiefs with no option but to try and fulfil the meeting.
He said: “It was a different rain cloud that reached us. Weather forecasts from Marham and from various sources we use all indicated that the clouds were missing us until much later in the evening.
“Once it started raining at about 7pm it was an easy decision to make to call it off. We’ve got to pick ourselves up from this. It’s very disappointing because we’d given it our best shot.
“I think the fans that turned up didn’t even moan because they were glad just to get inside the stadium. They felt a little bit of speedway and saw the riders. It’s been so long without a meeting here.
“I feel for the ones that travelled long distances of course but it’s not like we sat on our backsides and let it get called off. We planned, tried our hardest and it didn’t come through.
“I hope those fans are not too disheartened and all I know is the weather’s got to balance itself out. Hopefully, now, we can have a positive push in the summer with meeting week after week in a very enjoyable season.”
The abandonment means the Stars haven’t ridden at home in the Elite League since their Good Friday defeat to Peterborough Panthers.
Their last two meetings at the Norfolk Arena - against Belle Vue Aces and Swindon Robins - were called off hours before they were scheduled to start.
Chapman said: “I’ve never known a season like it with the weather. It’s incredible. It’s absolutely incredible. I feel for the riders as well as the fans because they have to fly in and then fly back out.
“It’s tough times for them and I’m sure if anyone asked them they could think of many better jobs than being a speedway rider right now.
“They’re clocking up a lot of air miles and time in their vans for this, and we feel for them.”
The co-promoter said fans were able to claim a refund as soon as the meeting was postponed. Others who didn’t will be allowed to reuse their tickets for any league meeting once they’ve been exchanged at the club’s ticket office.
Lynn’s next fixture is scheduled to be against Wolverhampton Wolves at the Norfolk Arena on Wednesday May 23.