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Arena Essex to close after 34 years of hosting speedway

Published: 15 August 2018

Speedway site will make way for new homes.

Next weekend’s DirtQuake at Arena Essex Raceway will be the last at the track after landlords announced the track will close at the end of the season, after 34 years of hosting speedway.

The well-known venue is set to be redeveloped for housing, as part of a new town to be built around the Lakeside shopping centre.

Arena Essex, which is home to the Championship League speedway team Lakeside Hammers, first hosted speedway in 1984 and the Hammers are currently battling at the top of the league.

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But unfortunately the arena’s prime real estate location next to one of the country’s busiest shopping centres has meant it has been under development pressure for years. Current landlord Leslie Wootten cites poor weather and failing attendances as reasons why the site is no longer viable.

Mr Wootten said: “The amount of investment needed to just maintain the stadium plus the continued increasing costs for compliance, insurance and health and safety has led to the raceway no longer being financially sustainable and therefore, with great sadness and a heavy heart, we have to advise 2018 will be the last racing season.”

It means the future of the speedway club is unclear, though the club say that attendances are actually growing and they are looking for new venues. All events scheduled for this year will carry on as planned. This year’s DirtQuake event is the first to be hosted by Arena Essex after six years of being at King’s Lynn, but now they will have to find another new home.

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