Former Mildenhall Fen Tigers promoter Kevin Jolly keen to revive Rye House
Former Mildenhall Fen Tigers promoter Kevin Jolly has not given up hope of reviving speedway racing at one-time rivals Rye House for the 2020 National League season, writes Graham Clark.
After ending nine seasons as Fen Tigers promoter last month, the 61-year-old has turned his attention to bringing action back to the shale at the Hoddesdon-based club for the first time since their sudden closure midway through the 2018 Premiership campaign.
Although Jolly admits he faces a race against time to get the green light from the British Speedway Promoters Association (BSPA) to bring Rye House back before his membership to the organisation expires at the end of next month, he refuses to admit defeat just yet.
“Since stepping out of Mildenhall I have looked at running speedway back at Rye House and the owners of the stadium are very keen,” said Jolly.
“We have an agreement over rent which is viable and have been told that we can run on Saturday nights while I also have investors in place.
“Everything is in place to go but the BSPA don’t seem to want to know because there was an issue with debts from the company that run it before the present one.
“It is a bit demoralising as I know I’ve had my run-ins with the BSPA but during my time at Mildenhall we have paid all our dues but maybe they feel better off without me.
“There is still time to sort this and you can never say never so we have to keep an open mind.”
Not only does Jolly feel that a Rye House revival will help speedway racing’s third tier but he also believes he could benefit a number of people including his former club.
“This would be good for Mildenhall as you could end up having three or four meetings between the sides and you could have had that old style rivalry,” said Jolly.
“I know that Armadale coming in is good for the league, but you need some local rivalry and can you imagine the season starting with a meeting between the two sides at Rye House on Saturday then back to Mildenhall on the Sunday?
“There are also a lot of riders missing out on a ride in the National League through no fault of their own and this would help them.
“Rye House speedway has been the life of some people since the 1970s and I know we would get the crowds.”
Though Jolly ended his official ties with the Fen Tigers he will be seen in the pits throughout the season at his former club even if his project to get Rye House back up and running gets off the ground.
“I will be helping Sam Bebee as much as I can this year and anybody else that wants any help. I take my hat off to Sam coming back again from injury and I want to see him do as well as he can,” said Jolly.
“I wish the management at Mildenhall the best for the season and the people that work behind the scenes as they make speedway work, and those at Mildenhall are a great bunch.”