A RETIRED speedway rider is urging fans to oppose the demolition of Wales’ only dedicated track in Newport.

Phil Morris, of Wyllie, was unsuccessful in his bid to buy the stadium after a deal with promoter Steve Mallet fell through in February.

Now site owners Sydney and London Properties want to demolish it – something the former Reading rider says would be a great loss to the city.

He said: “People used to come to Newport from all around the world.

“It does attract people from outside the area which is a good thing for Newport – it helps the economy with people coming in and spending money. I would say the fans need to keep behind it, the more public support we can get the more chance we have to challenge the planning application.

“If it’s shown that a lot of people care about it and are interested in keeping it then perhaps they will see we want to keep it in Newport.”

The joint manager of the senior British Speedway team, who retired two years ago due to a shoulder injury, said he is still interested in buying the now derelict site, and given the chance, would aim to better promote the sport in the city to boost fan numbers.

The father-of-one to Ruby, three, who also manages Birmingham Speedway team who compete in the Sky Sports Elite league, says he would look at using the stadiumfor other sports as well as speedway to increase revenue and secure the sport’s future in Wales.

He says this was key to its survival, as the track at Queensway Meadows is the only designated site for the sport in the country.

Newport’s British Premier League speedway club almost closed at the end of the 2011 speedway season because of dwindling crowds.

A deal with Trojan International deal would have saved it by bringing stock car racing to Newport, but the firm decided to pull out earlier this year.

Days after the venue closed it was targeted in an arson attack and the main stand was damaged.

● A man of 24 from Newport has been arrested on suspicion of arson and bailed until May 30.