Home Contact Us Stadia Pix Articles All About You Riders to Remember
DVDs Books Pictures Archive Dream Teams Programme Generator
DVD Review: 70s - A to Z
Your Feedback
Why is it in decline?
Plus Points
Dream Team: Garry Robinson
The Golden Hammer - 1996
Your Feedback
Raking Over Old Coals
The Golden Hammer - 1995
Plus Points
Your Feedback
Ode to Brough Park
The Golden Hammer - 1994
Which Craven?
Plus Points
Your Feedback
Ivan Miller
The Golden Hammer - 1993
Your Feedback
Generator - Prem Pairs
The Golden Hammer - 1992
As The Crow Flies
The Golden Hammer - 1991
Generator - Danish League
The Golden Hammer - 1990
Your Feedback
Oxford's Minor Miracle
The Golden Hammer - 1989
The Golden Hammer - 1986
The Golden Hammer - 1987
The Golden Hammer - 1988
The Golden Hammer - 1983
The Golden Hammer - 1984
The Golden Hammer - 1985
Plus Points
Your Feedback
The Golden Hammer - 1980
The Golden Hammer - 1981
The Golden Hammer - 1982
Plus Points
Your Feedback
The Golden Hammer - 1977
The Golden Hammer - 1978
The Golden Hammer - 1979
Plus Points
Your Feedback
The Speedway Bike
Your Feedback
45 Years a Racer
Your Feedback
DVD: Sheffield Memories
Your Feedback
Ronnie's Newcastle Nightmare
Plus Points
Book Review: Where Eagles Dared
The Cheetahs Are Back!
Your Feedback
King's Lynn - Part Four
Track Pix: Redcar
Your Feedback
DVD Review: Hans Nielsen
Track Pix: Sheffield
Your Feedback
Artem Laguta
Track Pix: Birmingham
Your Feedback
King's Lynn - Part Three
KENT - Central Park
Your Feedback
Book Review: Yearbook 2020
Track Pix: Peterborough
Your Feedback
Ian Hoskins Tribute
Ian Hoskins Tribute
Your Feedback
Speedway's Black Hole
Track Pix: Mildenhall
Plus Points
Your Feedback
Kirky Lane Demolition
Cinder Kings Exhibition
Plus Points
Your Feedback
Aussies at Ipswich - 1
Plus Points
Your Feedback
Steve Langton Strikes Gold
Plus Points
Your Feedback
Book Review: Split Waterman
Your Feedback
King's Lynn - Part 2
Your Feedback
Irish Eyes Were Smiling
Plus Points
Your Feedback
King's Lynn - Part 1
Plus Points
Your Feedback
Speedway in Germany 1933
Dream Team : Kevin Huggett
Plus Points
Your Feedback
The Bill Allen Mystery
Your Feedback
The Ipswich Witches
The Danger of Winning
Your Feedback
Australia 70/71
Canterbury Noise Trials
Your Feedback

Book Review: British Speedway Memories

After concentrating on the DVD market in recent years, Retro-Speedway have published a new book (just) in time to catch the Christmas market. British Speedway Memories is their latest publication, a compilation of great tales looking back over years gone by. The book was compiled from hundreds of surveys completed by fans and other speedway personalities over the summer. There are a few former riders included, but this is largely a book 'by the fans, for the fans'.

Editor Tony McDonald leads us into the book with a chapter of his own cherished memories, starting with childhood reminiscences from Hackney and moving on to reflect on how fortunate he's been to meet many of his heroes through his professional involvement with the sport.

Thereafter the book takes a slightly different form, mixing up contributions from different people into themed chapters, rather than telling each individual's full speedway history in one block. This approach works well, allowing the editor to cherry-pick the best of the surveys rather than merely reproducing the whole thing verbatim.

The chapters are:

  • First Time

  • Teams and Tracks

  • Favourites

  • Classics

  • Then and Now

  • Moments to Treasure

  • Why Speedway is Special

    The sections on favourite riders and tracks often see the same names and places come up, but the different perspectives offered by the contributors mean this isn't a problem. There are also a few seemingly unlikely choices thrown in, demonstrating that everybody's tastes are different and that speedway offers something for everyone.

    Similarly, 'favourite meetings' throws up a wide range of different events - from classic World Finals to run of the mill National League meetings at Scunthorpe. Some of the tales will be familiar, others much less so, but clearly all still fondly remembered by those who were present.

    The book spans virtually the sport's entire history in Britain, contributor Bert Loader having been present at Midlands meetings in 1930, while relative newcomer Maurice Plowright can 'only' trace his own personal speedway history back to Eastbourne in 1932. Maurice worked on the Arlington track staff right up until the start of WWII and has fond memories of watching the likes of George Newton, Rube Wilson and Bob Lovell. He also recalls Bluey Wilkinson signing his autograph book, rather disappointingly signing as 'Arthur' rather than his more colourful nom de plume.

    'Then and Now' allows the contributors to offer suggestions on how to reshape the sport for the better, principally by bringing back something from the past. While it's debatable that reintroducing second-halves or tactical substitutes would transform speedway's fortunes, there's a palpable frustration that, in many respects, today's speedway is a pale imitation of that in years gone by.

    The 'Why Speedway is Special' chapter is much more uplifting, really highlighting what speedway has meant to people over the years, how much pleasure can be derived from it and how loyal speedway supporters can be. Even those that are slightly disillusioned with the sport can't quite give it up entirely.

    A book with so many contributors should have a ready market from those who feature in it, but there's more than enough in here to appeal to the speedway community in general. Fans will enjoy reading the experiences of others and will undoubtedly recognise many parallels with their own. Promoters might like to read a copy also, you can never know your customers too well and there's plenty of food for thought in these pages.

    The book is beautifully illustrated throughout by photographs, magazine scans and programme covers. There's also a selection of colour photographs of some of the sport's legends in a 32 page appendix at the back of the book, starting with Barry Briggs and ending with Tai Woffinden holding the World Championship trophy in 2013.


    This book is available from www.retro-speedway.com


    This article was first published on 8th December 2013

    [ Use Mobile Version ]


    Comment on this Article | Contact Us | Go Back to Main Menu

  •    Please leave your comments on this article or on the site as a whole