Birmingham & Black Country

Wednesfield Aces Cycle clubhouse hit by 'arson' attack

The chairman of a cycling club which was destroyed by arsonists said the attack on the clubhouse and equipment had left him feeling "sick and gutted".

West Midlands Fire Service was called to Wednesfield Aces Cycle Speedway Club, Griffths Drive shortly before 05:00 BST on Monday.

A service spokesman said it was treating the incident as arson.

Club chairman David Dukes said that it will cost "thousands of pounds to revitalise" the club.

'A strong club'

The fire service was called to tackle the blaze in a metal storage container.

The cycling club, which has more than 80 members, is concerned because the premises were not insured.

Chief executive Paul Bodley, who founded the club with a friend when he was 14, said he had gone through "all the emotions."

Image caption Paul Bodley said that he wants to 'tap into the legacy of the Olympic Games and will continue to do so

He said: "I had an early morning call…. It sucked all the life out of me. I've been feeling so happy about the Olympic Games and up for sport…. It's just shocked us all."

"Because we're in the open air and in a public park, we've never been able to get insurance. We're going to have to put our hands in our pockets and raise the money as we always do."

Mr Bodley added that everybody is "rallying round, trying to be positive", adding that the bikes people can borrow had not been damaged.

Memorabilia from the past 50 years has been lost in the fire, including photos of team champions, along with computers and kitchen equipment.

Mr Dukes said that it is a "strong club" and that meetings will continue on the track.

"We have a juniors meeting tomorrow evening and a cycling event next week…. All the equipment has been burned."

"We haven't got the funds to do it [decorate walls and reinstate items], we recently spent £4,500 on perimeter fencing."

Mr Dukes also said that there had been extra interest in cycling since the London 2012 Olympic Games.

He said that they are holding several special events over the next few weeks, including one between the Olympic and Paralympic Games to "keep interest."

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