Violence mars speedway meeting
A SPEEDWAY meeting had to be abandoned last night after violence erupted on the terraces among rival fans.Police were called to the West Row stadium as scuffles broke out between supporters during the final of the Conference Knock-Out Cup between Mildenhall Fen Tigers and Boston.
A SPEEDWAY meeting was abandoned last night as violence erupted on the terraces among rival fans.
Police were called to the West Row stadium as scuffles broke out between supporters during the final of the Conference Knock-Out Cup between Mildenhall Fen Tigers and Boston.
The Boston team walked out of the match as a protest against track conditions after heat six, leaving the biggest crowd of the season to watch two Fen Tigers ride around unopposed in the remaining nine heats.
That prompted a reaction among the Boston supporters, which led to scuffles between the two sets of fans, with some spilling into the pits area to get away from the trouble. Police were called to the stadium, but order was restored before they arrived.
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Police called the East Anglian ambulance service as the fighting threatened to turn nasty and there were fears supporters were in danger of being injured.
A spokeswoman for the ambulance service said last night it had received reports of a "riot' taking place at the stadium and it had reacted to what was feared to be a major incident.
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Numerous officers, ambulance crews and medical personnel were alerted and they went to the stadum after the reports that between 30 and 40 people were fighting.
"The police were on the scene before us and we received a call from them at 5.50pm.There were reports of a riot, there was a police helicopter up there and it could have been quite a major incident,' said the spokeswoman.
However, the ambulance service was able to scale down its response after it emerged that the altercation was not as serious as first thought and no-one required hospital treatment.
Mildenhall Fen Tigers manager, Graham Drury, said: "What has happened means it's a very sad day for speedway and to some extend, its reputation as a family sport has gone out of the window.
"The Mildenhall management and promotion had no input in the decision about the meeting. The referee consulted both sets of riders who voted to go ahead.
Boston manager, Malcolm Vasey, said: "Track conditions were dangerous which was why our riders decided they could not go on. The meeting should have been called off in the early stages and the supporters where robbed of seeing a match."
Stadium staff blamed the state of the circuit on heavy rain early in the week, which soaked the track and they were unable to dry it out due to the damp conditions leading up to the meeting.
A spokesman for Suffolk police said there had been an altercation between rival supporters at the Mildenhall track, but no arrests had been made.