National Speedway Stadium: Documents appear to show council 'knew' track issues

Spectators at National Speedway Stadium
The National Speedway Stadium cost around £8m to build

Manchester City Council knew a week in advance about issues with the National Speedway Stadium track which forced the postponement of the grand opening, according to a document seen by BBC Radio Manchester.

Former Belle Vue Aces chief executive David Gordon has claimed the council did not pass on the information to the club, who are tenants of the venue.

It was one of seven meetings lost because of track problems.

The council rejects the claims.

The National Speedway Stadium was due to open on 19 March 2016 before a crowd of 5,000, most of whom were in their seats when the meeting was postponed during the warm-up, minutes before the first heat.

It was another 54 days before the Aces finally made their bow at the stadium when, after five postponements, they faced Swindon in May.

A second document, which has also been seen by the BBC, appears to show the authority held back payment of £696,782 from the builders of the stadium because of track defects.

Gordon claims the issues with the track cost the Aces a similar sum in rider salaries and administrative costs, and that the money was not passed on to the club.

He stood down as CEO at Belle Vue before the club had their licence revoked and the tenancy was cancelled because of financial issues.

However, the council insist the Aces were evicted after paying no rent, and with 'significant debt'.

In a statement to BBC Radio Manchester, the council said: "We reject Mr Gordon's version of events.

"The support given to his Belle Vue Group of companies and the events which led to their collapse and liquidation are set out in detail in a public report to the Council's Executive which meets on Wednesday, 8 March."

The new Belle Vue Aces were cleared to use the stadium after a takeover was completed last month, with a new licence granted by the British Speedway Promoters Association.

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