Brandon Stadium, Rugby Road, Brandon, Nr Coventry, Warwickshire.
LOCATED————————————Half a mile north of the village of Brandon just off the A428 four mile east of Coventry’s main railway station.
ORIGINAL SITE—————————–Farm grazing land next to Leeson’s Barn.
DATE VENUE OPENED——————-1928 for Speedway – first meeting 19 September 1928.
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.
FIRST MEETING—————————–September 19th 1978. Had several periods of closures and re-openings. All dates listed below.
Greyhound Racing only.
LICENSED OR INDEPENDENT———-NGRC.
All venues covered would have to be licensed with the government, licensed suggested in this section would refer to tracks operating under NGRC Rules.
INSIDE OR OUTSIDE HARE TYPE——Outside Swaffham.
Please note that the Electric Hare suggested is only a guidance and would have been in operation for a certain amount of time at this venue. Although it is not necessarily guaranteed that it was operational all the time, as other types of lure may have been used and updated as time progressed.
DISTANCES———————————–260, 460, 485, 670 and 870 metres.
Please note that most racing venues distances had become varied throughout the years, the ones given above were at once point set and offers only a guidance to the track size.
Please note that alterations at most racing venues throughout its existence would see that the circumference of the track would vary, the one shown above offers only a guidance to the track size.
BIG RACE NAMES—————————The Eclipse Stakes now run at Nottingham.
STADIUM SHARED WITH——————Stock Car Racing and Speedway.
LAST MEETING——————————-January 16th 2016 as a flapping track with hound called Moira winning the last race.
Greyhound Racing only.
STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————-2016
Meaning other sports may have taken place after Greyhound Racing had ceased.
STADIUM DEMOLITION——————-Began 2016.
BUILT ON SITE——————————-Nothing as yet, at present the venue remains derelict, although the venue suffered fire damage during March 2020.
In some cases, structure’s that originally covered the venue after the stadium had been demolished, may have been themselves demolished too, so the one described is more likely to be the one which now presently covers the site.
EVIDENCE LEFT TODAY——————-The venue is still there although derelict. Housing pending.
FURTHER COMMENTS———————The venue had a crowd capacity of 4,500, but at one time did host 25,000 for a single Speedway event.
One of the more recent greyhound tracks to have closed is the one known as the Brandon Stadium, situated roughly four miles east of Coventry alongside the A428 Rugby Road, and just north of the village of Brandon. The village which clearly contributes its name to the stadium, began life in 1928 as a purpose-built Dirt Track Speedway venue, with its first meeting coming on the 29th of September of that year.
There is no doubt that Speedway had found itself the most notable of all sports to feature at Brandon, appearing virtually every season right up until its closure. Other motor sports featured also, such as Midget Car Racing, appearing for the first time in 1937, and continued to stage events right up until the outbreak of the Second World War. But just like other sports stadium’s nationwide, the outbreak of hostilities had seen all sporting activities cease at Brandon, yet the temporary closure expected was to continue, as The Army took total control of the site. Speedway did eventually return in May 1948, complete with a new track, and who also made use of the Office equipped Nissan Huts left behind by The Army.
The post war years proved to be a boom time for Speedway Racing, with crowds sometimes exceeding 20,000 especially when top riders featured during big events. Stock Cars Racing also added its name to Brandon’s history, first venturing in 1954, then other Motor Sports arriving later, such as Banger Racing, Saloon Stock Cars, Ministox and Sprint Cars. Those earlier years at Brandon had been dominated by motor sports, but it wasn’t until the closure of the greyhound track at Coventry’s Foleshill Stadium in 1964, that the Brandon Stadium had been earmarked as a possibility for Greyhound Racing.
Yet surprisingly there had been a link between the Brandon Stadium and greyhound racing previous, as the venue’s owners also owned Leicester Greyhound Stadium, who once controlled the now closed Foleshill Track, and had held a license for the sport at Brandon for some considerable time. The ownership of the Greyhound Racing License increased expectation of the sport taking off at Brandon during the 1960’s, but it wasn’t until 1978 that things began to happen.
The opening of Brandon to Greyhound Racing in 1978 could be best described as the Towcester of 2014, with the track’s promoters poaching the better equipped trainers at the time, such as Geoff De Moulder, Natalie Savva and in time, Barbara Tompkins joining the ranks.
Brandon’s opening meeting came on the 19th of September 1978, with all events being staged under The NGRC banner. The majority of the races were contested over the 460 metres trip, around a newly laid all sanded track, with the hounds chasing an outside McGee type hare. The venue also took on one of the attractive fixtures on the greyhound calendar, by staging The Eclipse Stakes, an event presently run at Nottingham. But the tracks future seemed to be always in doubt mainly down to the sport’s poor financial rewards, and after a spell of just eight years greyhound racing come to a close, staging its final meeting on the 24th of October 1986.
The various forms of Motor Sports continued to benefit the stadium financially, but a change of ownership in 2003 brought new plans to introduce greyhound racing for a second time. Greyhound racing returned on the 14th April 2004 and continued to do so for the next five years, but irregularities brought on by the management team contributed to the stadium’s owners going into liquidation, with another closure coming on the 26th Of December 2009.
Another Return for the greyhounds came on the 20th of May 2012, with six dog racing being staged over distances of 260, 460, 485, 670 and 870 metres, again operating under NGRC rules, but again the sport ran at a loss which in turn would see the promoter pull the plug again on the 22nd of February 2014.
It seemed as though all efforts to promote greyhound racing at Brandon had failed miserably, its graphical location may have contributed to its failure, being located well away from any densely populated area. But a last-ditch effort to promote the sport happened during 2014, this time with a difference, with greyhound racing being staged at an independent level. The new management team arranged their first meeting on the 17th of May 2014, with a good crowd witnessing a greyhound called Bumble Bee win the first event over the 263-metre trip.
With one meeting per week arranged, Sunday evening events would feature six dog racing over distances of 263 and 450 metres. Although early months had shown some promise, the availability of greyhounds to fill the card became a struggle, but the high cost of running the sport witnessed Brandon to stage its final meeting on the 16th of January 2016, with a greyhound called Moira winning the very last race.
The stadium continued to soldier on staging motor sports events, even though it had a reduced crowd capacity of 4,500, its main feature being an impressive double decker main stand, which had been built during 1968. This structure included a glass fronted restaurant along with an extended public viewing area, all creating a superb panoramic view for racing.
Motor sports came to an end during 2016 seeing the venue left abandoned and eventually derelict.
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