The Southampton Cycle Speedway Club was left distraught on Monday morning when it discovered its competition bikes had been removed from its public transport van outside the Premier Inn in Wolverhampton city centre.
Veteran rider Gavin Wheeler had qualified at Wednesdayfield National Trials for the final in Birmingham on Monday and was forced to borrow a bike to compete.
Team organizer Dave Makepeace has called on the thieves to return the bikes because although they are worth £3,000 for the three riders, they are worth nothing on the street.
He said: “These bikes don’t have brakes, so they’re obviously dangerous for someone who doesn’t know how to ride them. Bike racing bikes don’t have brakes because we’re racing on a special track. .
“The Archie Wilkinson MK5 are perfect for track cycling and they were made in the Black Country in the 1980s and 1990s but have been discontinued now.”
Mr Makepeace believes the thieves will run out of any speedway riders they try to sell the bikes to due to the camaraderie of bikers who risk serious injury every time they race at speeds of 35 mph.
He said: “The speedway cycling community isn’t huge, but we’re a big family so no cyclist would think of buying a stolen bike. Gavin even rode for the Wednesdayfield Aces for a few years when he was older. young.
“The Wednesdayfield Aces club were brilliant, they borrowed a bike from Gavin to go to the final and tried to locate the bikes through their local network.”
Thieves broke the lock of the Gold Ford Transit van in the early hours of Monday morning and stole the bikes along with an alloy wheel.
The theft was discovered around 8.30am on a bank holiday Monday as the team prepared to drive to Perry Barr Racecourse.
Mr Makepeace said: “The theft has ended what has been a fantastic weekend of racing at Wednesdayfield and Birmingham. As these bikes are worth nothing to anyone else, we hope to get them back.”
Steve Mullinder of Wednesdayfield Aces posted an appeal on Facebook, he said: “These bikes are not good for riding on the roads as they have no brakes and are specifically designed for track racing. S’ please it is important that we find these bikes, they are for 3 youngsters competing in the UK.
The cycle track began around the 1920s but became very popular in post-war Britain due to the amount of bomb sites that could easily be cleared to create 90 meter oval tracks. At its height in the 1950s, there were over 1,000 clubs across the UK. Currently, 40 clubs participate in this sport. Due to bikes without brakes and the physical nature of the sport, cyclists often sustain injuries.
If you have any info on the bikes, message David Makepeace on Facebook or email [email protected]