Home Contact Us Stadia Pix Articles All About You Riders to Remember
DVDs Books Pictures Archive Dream Teams Programme Generator
23/06/2018
Let's Go Interactive
Fixed Nights Aren't Working
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
09/06/2018
Honours & Handicapping
Backtrack - Mauger Special
Your Feedback
 
03/06/2018
'Hero' or 'Villain'
Speedway Pennants
Your Feedback
 
19/05/2018
Media Ignored Ivan
Stars of the 70s - Part 2
Your Feedback
 
13/05/2018
Schwartz and the World Final
Stars of the 70s - Part 1
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
06/05/2018
Vic Collins
Kiwis Overseas Final -2000/01
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
29/04/2018
Jack Millen - 40 Years On
Kiwis Overseas Final - 1999
Your Feedback
 
22/04/2018
A Bandits' Dozen
Kiwis Overseas Final - 1998
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
16/04/2018
Ivan Mauger
Photographs
 
15/04/2018
Opening Nights: Shawfield
Kiwis Overseas Final - 1997
Your Feedback
 
08/04/2018
Alf Kaines
Kiwis Overseas Final - 1996
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
01/04/2018
Laydowns Killed the Spectacle
Kiwis Overseas Final - 1995
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
25/03/2018
A Night to Remember
Kiwis Overseas Final - 1994
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
15/03/2018
Book Review: Bert Harkins
Kiwis Overseas Final - 1993
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
03/03/2018
Leningrad Visit Britain
Kiwis Overseas Final - 1992
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
24/02/2018
90th Anniversary Celebration
Kiwis Overseas Final - 1991
Plus Points
 
18/02/2018
It's All About You: Richard Goodwin
Kiwis Overseas Final - 1990
Your Feedback
 
11/02/2018
Where Were They Then?
Kiwis Overseas Final - 1989
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
04/02/2018
Track Pix: UFA
Kiwis Overseas Final - 1988
New Book: Bert Harkins Biog.
Your Feedback
 
28/01/2018
Mythbusters
Kiwis Overseas Final - 1987
Your Feedback
 
21/01/2018
It's All About You: Colin Hodgson
Plaque for Road Bikes
Kiwis Overseas Final - 1986
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
14/01/2018
Riders to Remember: Wal Morton
Kiwis Overseas Final - 1985
Your Feedback
 
07/01/2018
It's All About You....Paul Davey
2018 NZ Championship
Kiwis Overseas Final - 1984
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 


George Bason
By John Hyam

George practicing at Liverpool in 1949

I WAS saddened when I heard of the death of George Bason a few years ago. While he was never a star rider, he was from that essential band of devoted riders who form the backbone of the sport. Without so many of this ilk, there would be no speedway for the stars to shine.

George was born in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. although an error in a 'Who's Who' in speedway misprinted his birthplace as Harlow, and that was perpetuated. As a rider he started on the pre-war amateur tracks at Longmoor (California-in-England) and Oxford (the site of the present track but much different then) where his opponents included Lloyd 'Cowboy' Goffe, Billy Newell and Danny Lee. He also rode at Crystal Palace in open meetings in 1938, and as a junior when the club briefly raced in the National League Second Division.

At the Palace, Bason's career came under the watchful eye of the South African veteran Keith Harvey, while his rivals in junior races included Bernard 'Bronco' Slade, Charlie Challis and the Canadian wrestler turned speedway rider Eddie 'Flash' Barker.

After the 1939-45 closure of speedway tracks for Hitler's ill-timed intervention and World War Two, the 1946 rider pooling took Bason to West Ham, then on to Wembley in August when 'Bronco' Wilson was injured. At the same time, West Ham were also allocated Charlie Dugard - the man who established Eastbourne in later years. Charlie didn't like the West Ham track, and he joined Wimbledon. Soon afterwards, Bason and Dugard clashed in an individual meeting at Wimbledon in a pile-up that left both with broken legs. For a week or so they were also in neighbouring hospital beds. "That's the nearest we came to being team mates for a second time that season," Bason told me years later.

The 1947 and 1948 seasons saw Bason with Southampton in the National League Third Division, and in his early Bannister Court days he briefly succeeded Vic Collins as team captain. By 1949, Bason was riding for Liverpool, but these were changing times in the sport. As a legtrailer, Bason needed cinders to utilise his riding style, but tracks were increasingly using shale to cater for foot forward riding. As with so many legtrailers, Bason found it hard to adapt and dropped out of the sport, although he did make a brief return in the early 1950s at Swindon.

In 1953, he resumed racing in open meetings at what had been Longmoor, although by then the Berkshire track was known as California, and in 1954 he was an early member of their Southern Area League squad. California was ideal for Bason's style - it was a pure, deep dirt track, and he revelled in the conditions. But slick tracks like Eastbourne, Rye House, Ringwood, Aldershot and Brafield saw him floundering and he dropped out of the California team. But the venue also staged many open meetings, and Bason continued to turn out in these.

While at Liverpool in 1949, Bason had also raced at Antwerp in Belgium, against Reg Duval, Bill Harris and the Belgian champion Lambert Dock. And with the decline of chances in England, he switched back to the Continent, racing in Germany and France until the 1970s. In 1978, Bason was among VSRA members who took part in the anniversary event at Hackney. His appearance was brief - he reared on the starting gate in his demo ride and injured his knee.

For many years, Bason spent time encouraging young riders. These included Ron Sharp (New Cross and Stoke) and Ted Spittles (Ipswich). He was also a regular spectator at Oxford for many years and for some seasons was also mechanic for Oxford star Peter Robinson.

I first got to know Bason in 1954, and have a fond memory of going to visit him and his family at his small-holding in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, where he combined vegetable growing with a garage and speedway bike tuning business. He showed me his collection of pe-war and post-war speedway magazines and programmes and we also mulled over his pre-war speedway and grass track racing activities. One of his favourite pre-war grass venues was Corfe Mullen in Dorset - even then dominated by Lew Coffin! And Bason was one of the 1939 pioneers who established speedway for the first time at Oxford's Cowley Stadium.

After that initial meeting at California, I met Bason many times. He was always a gentlemen and devoted family man. His name probably hasn't carved a major niche in speedway history, but, as I said earlier he was - and so were many hundreds like him - part of the structure upon which the sport is founded. They deserve to be more than speedway's forgotten men. Bason was 86 years old at the time of his death in 2003.

 

This article was first published on 5th January 2012


 

  • Mike Earle:

    "A very interesting article. George Bason was a good friend of my father George Earle who had a garage in Marlow. Very pleased to see he is remembered. "

  • Danny Maguire:

    "I have come into possession of a bike that I'm told George Bason may have owned. A light blue 1940 Triumph with a JAP engine. Great to read a little bit about him. "

  • John Hyam:

    "Doug - it is possible the bike you mention was owned by George Bason and used by him for grass track racing in which he also competed at one-time."

  • Danny Maguire:

    "Cheers John, it's good to hear a little confirmation - there's very little mention of him in grasstrack on the web. Mainly Speedway. We've got the bike running - it doesn't look like it's changed much over the years. "

    [ 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