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Liverpool Speedway
by Richard Austin

In the 'football mad' city of Liverpool, how long could a speedway team survive? Well a team did, the Liverpool Chads, but not for long. I was very fortunate in the late fifties, my father took me to a Speedway meeting and since then I have remained a devoted fan of the sport.

I grew up in Liverpool just after the war and following the blitz when Liverpool really got clobbered. Conditions were quite gloomy, money was tight, and the Beatles had yet to emerge on the National scene. Liverpool was considered at that time a bit of a dump, a large sea port, where the people spoke funny and you left town as soon as possible.

The Chads' speedway meetings were held at Stanley Stadium. The stadium was originally built as a dog racing facility, greyhound races taking place each Saturday evening. Therefore, Speedway events had to take place on Monday nights although I think speedway racing is really Saturday night happening.

As a kid growing up, I would hope and hope on Mondays that it wouldn't rain, and that my Dad would be back home early enough from his work to take me to the track. We lived on the other side of the city; it took two bus rides to the Old Swan and a long walk down Prescot Road to get to Stanley Stadium.

The track was one of the largest in the league, a quarter mile, flat with no banking, a red shale surface, rather tight bends and long "straight aways". This configuration presented problems to a visiting team, more experienced riding on much smaller tracks. The Liverpool track was built inside the greyhound track. A visiting rider beating the Chads riders at the start of a race would crank up down the long straights and have to throttle back to make turns three and four. Many a the time the visiting riders hitting the third turn at speed would have to dramatically throttle back to make the turn. This would give an opportunity to the Chads riders to hug the fence and ride around them. The best 'fence hugger' on the Chads team, in my opinion, was Tommy Allott.

I recall a championship eliminator meeting, Merv Harding (Glasgow Ashfield) came roaring down the back straight away, couldn't make the third turn and slid under the fence. It took almost 15 minutes to get him and the bike out.

I well recall attending a Chads meeting back in the fifties and we would take our usual spot on the terraces on the third turn. From the pit end came the constant roar of cranked up un-silenced JAP engines, as we were buying a programme and a copy of the Speedway Star. Often we'd visit the concession booth to buy rider photos or a badge.

The meeting would commence, the parade out on to the track of the rakers, in their yellow sweaters with the Chad logo. They were followed by the St John's Ambulance members, everyone marching to the rousing music of the "RAF March Past".

The floodlights would come on and the announcer would read out the Liverpool team line up. Peter Robinson the captain, Len Read, Eric Smith, Tommy Allott, Harry Welch, Reg Duval, Bill Griffith and Don Potter the reserve.

Peter Craven had already left the Chads to ride for Belle Vue, perhaps a couple of years before. Chad supporters at the time were totally amazed when our team manager, Gordon Parkins, allowed Peter Craven to drift away on a free transfer.

The crowd anticipation started to swell, chanting "Two, four, six, eight, who do we a appreciate....C-H-A-D-S".

The first race and the stadium lights dim, floodlights ablaze. Riders on their machines are pushed out from the pits end, engines catch and roar to life. The riders slowly move past us, towards the starting gate, clutches in, revving up, taking one last look down at their engines.

At times it appeared to me (as a kid) that our opponents appeared to have better equipment, their chromed bikes highly polished, black riding leathers clean and shining, team emblems so much more colourful. Our Chads, on shale covered machines, leathers and emblems needing repair or cleaning, but I didn't care, they were my heroes.

The starting gate tapes go up, the simultaneous roar of four straining JAP engines, bikes bucking up, rear wheels spinning, throwing up clouds of red shale. Crowd anticipation, who was out in front? We all duck behind the brick wall, as showers of red shale spray up in our direction. As the riders roar past, a smell of exhaust fumes in the air, are the Chads in the lead? To me it was totally captivating.

The riders pass us after the race has finished and we cheer them on, even if they didn't win. To me it always seemed strange, the Chad riders in spite of our yelling and screaming in our appreciation and support, of possibly a win, very rarely acknowledged the crowd. Hardly a hand raised or a nod of the head in our direction, this was before the showmanship days in sports. In sharp contrast to the extravagant antics of today's sports figures!

During the second half we relaxed as, along with the regular races between the two teams, the junior riders were given a chance to ride. A regular second half rider, Tommy Murphy, had the reputation of falling off, always a crowd pleaser, Tommy never gave up. One meeting springs to mind, it was announced Murphy would ride a special rocket bike; Murphy comes out with two rockets, strapped to the back of this JAP machine, lights up the fireworks, sparks flying out, roars around the track and falls off!

The Chads were sometimes referred to as a feeder team for Belle Vue, but apart from Peter Craven who became a major star with the Aces, no other rider of note came through from the Chads ranks to ride for Belle Vue. Rather, Belle Vue reserves at times rode for the Chads to help bolster the team, Val Morton (not Wal) as an example. However, after attending Hyde Road meetings I noted that the two tracks were totally different. Liverpool long fast and narrow, while the Manchester track was wide, allowing for vastly different riding styles. I believe the Manchester track, oval with wide turns and slightly banked, really suited Peter Craven's balance riding style, certainly more so than the Stanley track.

The Chads remained mired down at the bottom of the second division; the attendance was not there, no money to buy a star rider. Yes, we were always waiting for a big-time rider to be signed to the team, one who would hopefully take the team to the top.

The Liverpool promoters had to operate without a star rider as a draw, as a team at the bottom of the Second division and quite remarkably at the time, competing with "Wagon Train" on TV!

As a special treat my father would take us up to Manchester to attend the Belle Vue Aces meetings. A big difference, this was the major league in action, large crowds, star riders, all the glamour. I recall seeing Jack Parker, Norman Parker, Ken Sharples, Louis Lawson and Bob Duckworth ride. On visiting teams, Split Waterman, Jack Young, Jack Biggs, Ronnie Moore, Ron Howe, Arthur Forrest, and Malcolm Craven come to mind.

Memory doesn't allow me to date, when Liverpool Speedway closed down for the first time. But following the closure, ex Chad rider Reg Duval, started promoting Speedway at the Stanley track, calling his new team the Eagles. I believe Harry Welch was the team manager. Reg Duval promoted several successful challenge meetings, before another closure of the Stanley track. Reg Duval moved to South Africa, upon his return two years later he was signed by First Division Oxford. He was subsequently loaned out to ride for Bradford in the Provincial league. While Don Potter rode at a few speedway meetings at Wigan.

I recall attending a general meeting held at the Stanley track office where Mike Parker discussed promoting Speedway in Liverpool, within a newly formed Provincial League. Reg Fearman and Parker were joint promoters; other proposed tracks included Bristol, Sheffield, and Cradley Heath.

Parker's promoted team changed names, from the Liverpool Eagles/Chads to the Liverpool Pirates; I recall team members, Brian Craven and Dave Garrard. Parker introduced his "Australian Speed Cars" and sidecars racing during several Liverpool Speedway meetings. The side car racing was very exciting to watch, but was not a regular fixture. I do recall an exhibition run at Stanley a few years prior, when American style midget racers were introduced. The problem for the drivers was the width of the track, which led to problems passing, and the clouds of shale/dust churned up by the powdered up racing cars.

During the Provincial League days, Belle Vue manager at that time Ken Sharples, loaned out his reserve riders to help the Liverpool team, Bryce Subritzky and Jim Yacoby come to mind. Yacoby had quite good results against a strong Yarmouth team, and some solid second half results. While Subritzky proved to be a real strong team leader for the Liverpool team, especially at away matches.

Unfortunately, the Parker promotion received marginal support, Speedway closed again in Liverpool in 1960, at the time both Wal Morton and Bryce Subritzky were team members. Brian Craven continued his speedway career, riding for Stoke and Newcastle. Dave Gerrad rode for Bradford. Wal Morton rode for Bradford and Middlesbrough, Bryce Subritzky moved on to the Aces.

I left Merseyside for the States in 1967; during my trips back home, I always pestered my cousin to take me to a Speedway meeting. At times we were able to attend the Ellesmere Port Gunners meetings, unfortunately, that was another speedway venue that closed down.

I still have a number of photos of Chad and Belle Vue riders from those days; unfortunately not one of the entire Chad team posed together.

I moved from New York to Los Angeles in 1985, speedway was hot at the time; local tracks for me were Costa Mesa and Ascot. Nothing is forever, especially in the sport of Speedway, Ascot closed down, and Costa Mesa is just about making it, with a reduced racing schedule.

When I have the time I take in the occasional Speedway meeting at the Costa Mesa track, sitting in the bleachers on the back straight away, while listening to the sounds of revving engines from the pits, the smell of exhaust fumes in the warm California air. My memory carries me back to Liverpool, Monday nights at Stanley Stadium, cheering on my heroes.

Two, Four, Six, Eight, who do we - appreciate.....C-H-A-D-S!

 

This article was first published on 25th May 2006


 

  • Robert Rogers:

    "Thanks for the insight into the Chads, up to now for me they have always been just a name in old Speedway books, it is nice to have details of them, very good item. Just a suggestion, as the Paul O'Grady show is on Channel Four, and Paul seems mad on anything Liverpool, he likes to mention his younger days, perhaps if this item was sent to his website, Liverpool speedway might get a mention?"

  • Ray Segar:

    "I've long searched for information about Liverpool Speedway at the old Stanley Stadium. Thanks, Richard, great article. I started supporting speedway at Belle Vue's Hyde Road track in 1966. Saturday nights meant the train from Liverpool Central with Graham and Roy, two schoolmates from the Liverpool Institute, the bus along Hyde Road and into the great old stadium, crowds often 10,000 plus, occasionally 20,000, no silencers, the smell of Castrol R, one fantastic atmosphere. Jim Yacoby, mentioned as riding for the Liverpool Pirates, was the regular reserve in the Belle Vue Aces team of 1966. As a kid, Graham used to attend the Stanley. He told me that the Chads closed at the end of the 1953 or 1954 season, and that top riders were appearing during the brief life in 1956 of Liverpool Eagles, he mentioned Peter Craven, Doug and Willie Templeton. Graham also attended Liverpool Pirates matches during the 1961 provincial league season. In the late '60s, the remains of the Stanley Stadium sadly disappeared under a wholesale fruit and veg market. I recently found out that my father-in-law used to go to the Stanley speedway, and he still has a team photo of the Chads, I don't know from what year. In the 1970's, I also used to visit Ellesmere Port Gunners, a great little track with an enthusiastic following. "

  • Harry Sharp:

    "On reading about the Chads, this has taken me back to the early 50s when as a youngster of 10/11 my brother and I used to long for the Monday evening to come along. We lived across the road from the Stanley Stadium just off Edge Lane by the Crosville Bus Station. Mum and dad used to go and that meant that my brother and I could listen to what was going on and also listen to the results on the Tannoy system. It also meant we had a late night as Gran could not force us to go to bed early because of the noise the bikes made.

    On the odd occasion we went with Mum and Dad if they had a few extra shillings and we loved the excitement of walking down Church Road then Prescot Road to the entrance. We always went on the opposite side of the main stand/starting gate on the bank. When the meeting was over we could leave the Stadium via another gate in Church Road so it wasnt as far to get back home. It was good also to relive the memories of exciting races by our stars like the ones you mentioned and of course the infamous Tommy Murphy. Harry Welch and Reg Duval were Mum and Dad's favourites. Sadly Stanley Stadium is no more but the memories of those Monday evening meetings linger on."

  • Brian Cluskey :

    "About time. A wonderful site for speedway fans. As an older fan of the Liverpool Chads and then the Pirates I found 'plus' bringing back many memories."

  • Frank Sanders:

    "Fond memories of Liverpool Speedway in the article. I too grew up with the Chads, The Eagles and finaly The Pirates, the latter I was involved in as a programme seller, pusher offer and whatever else was available to earn a few bob on race nights. I also have many other memories of Stanley Stadium: Liverpool Stanley Rugby League; Military Tatoos; Stock Car Racing (especially the fatal accident on the tote bend following which Stock Cars never returned); pop concerts and many other activities that took place there. The bonus for me was I lived in Church and our house backed on to the stadium and I just had to go through the back fence and could get in for free. I cannot remember paying to go in for anything!"

  • John Tickell:

    "I was also an avid fan of the Chads in the early fifties. The team then was Peter Robinson, Alf Webster, Buck Whitby, Harry Welch, Len Read, Reg Duval, Peter Craven, Bill Griffiths and Georgie Newton, the last of the leg trailers (not forgetting Tommy Allott). Doug Serrurier had then retired. I have a 1951 programme with a photo of the whole team."

  • Mike Rennie:

    "Fond memories of Brian Craven at Stoke. His style was unforgetable - very low bike and leg out - terrific. I now live in Wiltshire and went to the Robins last night - it's the most exciting sporting spectacle anywhere."

  • Alan Barnett:

    "What fantastic memories, almost mirrors my early years as a Stoke Potters fan. Saturday nights were so special and I can feel the atmosphere even to this day some 47 years later. Nothing has ever come close to the excitement of watching your heroes in action. I was watching the Potters at Sun Street Hanley from 1960-63 until they closed, we've still got speedway in the city, but it will never be the same. Up the Potters!"

  • Derek Walmsley:

    "I too remember nights at the Stanley track. Probably a little earlier. I think I lost serious interest in speedway prior to the disbandment of the 'Chads'. However I do remember Reg Duval, Brian Craven (Peter's elder brother) and my favourite G.Newton, not for his outstanding results but for the excitement he created with his style of riding. He was one of a dying breed of leg trailers."

  • Gordon Williams:

    "I remember watching the Chads at the Stanley Track in the late 40s,early 50s. Another rider, apart from Reg Duval and Harry Welch, was Charlie Oates, who had a motor-cycle shop not far away. Speedway had folded by the mid-50s, I think, but revived as has been said for a short time in the late 50s. We had big crowds in the 40s/50s period, with a thriving supporters club and they were exciting times. I still have my speedway programmes, although Football and LFC was and is my first love, and I remember those days very fondly. From 'The Penketh Pedant'"

  • Ron:

    "Quite brilliant - I can almost sense being there! Good luck."

  • Phil Sharples:

    "Many references are made to Wal Morton his name was / is Val Morton. My father was Ken Sharples, one of my sons Paul is mechanic for James Wright who is a grandson of Jim Yacobi and a new signing for Belle Vue this season 2009."

  • Richard Hodgson:

    "Brilliant article. Sad that attendances in 1960 were so low that speedway didn't get a chance to get re-established. I saw the feedback fron Paul Sharples implying that only Val Morton not Wal was involved at Liverpool however they both were. Val in 1952 and Wal in 1960."

  • Bob Parry:

    "I well remember the Chads era which you refer to. I was taken each Monday by my elder brother and I too developed a nostalgic feel for those wonderful Summer Monday nights. I remember Charlie Oates, Doug Serrurier, Tich Read and all the others you mention - my hero was Reg Duval. Later on 1960/61 I achieved my ambition and rode at Belle Vue as a junior where I got on first name terms with Peter Craven and his brother Brian I got to know Brian very well over the later years. I kind of lost interest following the tragic death of Peter Craven which really shocked me to the core. I still go to Belle Vue once or twice a year and whilst I enjoy it, it doesnt seem to have the same atmosphere as the old Belle Vue or Stanley Stadium."

  • Richard Austin:

    "Correction Regarding Phil Sharples feedback, re: Wal Morton & Val Morton, two seperate riders. Val Morton, rode for the Liverpool Chads and also Belle Vue. Wal Morton enjoyed a long career in Speedway, riding for a number of teams, in 1960 Wal Morton rode for the Liverpool Pirates. I have photos of both Val Morton and Wal Morton in my speedway collection."

  • John Bancroft:

    "Wow, the memories certainly came flooding back as I read that! I'm sure I still have a few programmes from the Pirates races somewhere, probably in a box up in the loft with my old Everton and Liverpool programmes. The second bend was our usual vantage point. I can remember standing there on the night I left secondary school. I'm almost sure the Pirates meetings were on Friday nights. I must look the programmes out just to confirm that."

  • Emma:

    "Do you know if a Frank Briggs rode with Chads in the 1950s?"

  • Maureen:

    "Thanks for the wonderful memories here. Very similar to my own. My parents went to Belle Vue when Stanley stadium closed, I think money etc became an issue, and they tailed off going so we never went back to Stanley and I don't even recall it reopening. I was an avid Gunners fan for many years. The Aces were really the only other team I could follow ( when Thornton Road closed ) in close proximity but transport difficulties meant I didn't go often. Still go to an occasional match there however. Hoping to become a regular at Workington for 2010 season as I live nearer there now. "

  • John Fray:

    "Really interesting piece would love to hear more of your recollections of Reg Duval as a Liverpool rider and promoter. Reg is still going strong and attended the New Milton Speedway Bash in Dorset this year."

  • Alan Percival:

    "First visit to site, very informative. As an old Provincial League supporter (Wolverhampton) I really enjoyed reading about Liverpool."

  • Martin Jones:

    "Super recollections here of Stanley Racetrack. I'm from Liverpool and currently have a website on Old Swan, taking in "Stanley". I'm about to do a piece on the Racetrack and would be grateful for any personal stories / pics to show, I would of course credit the source. Its a completely non commercial site, purely out of interest in the local history."

  • Mike Woods:

    "I lived in Church Road and could see parts of the track from my bedroom window, although the hill obscured most of it. The noise was deafening and the red dust would, on a windy evening ensure all washing was taken in long before the racing began, as it covered everything. We had to lock our sidedoor as punters would try to use our garden as a shortcut and free access. The stadium also had a magnificent football pitch, one of the biggest in England and Liverpool Schoolboys played on it. I remember the fatal stock car night. I used to play with the son of the driver who ran a milk bar in Prescot Road."

  • Roy Elliott:

    "Excellent article. Took me back to my youth. Harry Welsh was my favourite but we did not stand a chance when Arthur Forrest visited. With reference to some of the feedbacks, I always thought Charlie Oates was classed as "The last of the Leg Trailers". When I am messing about on my mountain bike (age 72) and remark to my son-in-law. "Look at me, the last of the leg trailers". Needless to say he hasn't a clue what I'm talking about."

  • Mike Parkins:

    "Just been reading Richard Austin's account of Liverpool Chads. I never knew that Gordon Parkins allowed Peter Craven to go on a free transfer, if Mr Parkins was here now I would have something to say to him...unfortunately my Dad passed away several years ago.

    I was only seven or eight when he moved us to Liverpool...following a short spell with Plymouth which I don't think was any more successful than Liverpool turned out to be. Whilst he was in charge at Stanley Stadium I had a season as the club mascot and used to ride a specially made bike round the track before each meeting. I have a photo of myself on the bike alongside Fred Wills, a Chads riders at the time who I believe came from South Africa. We left Liverpool in 1952/3 just after I had passed my 11 plus, I had a couple of terms at the Holt High School before we were whisked away again, times must have been hard because we ended up in a cottage near to his parents in Buckinghamshire, no electricity and a toilet at the bottom of the garden. Gordon (Dad) got a job as a butcher's assistant.

    1954 and a small miracle must have happened, I was 12 then and all I know is that we were on the move again, this time to Norwich...back to Speedway... and me to my third Grammar school in two years, hopelessly lost as they all had different curriculums...the story continues but I'm getting away from the Chads so let's go back to Stanley Stadium.

    I can remember that just inside the main gate was an office of some sort, dead opposite was a cafe which we often visited, alongside the car park was a railway line, behind a fence...one day Dad was trying to teach my Mum to drive in the car park, she managed to go straight through the fence and ended up on the railway line, it's all a bit hazy but I know the trains had to be stopped whilst the car was recovered, presumably by the speedway tractor. Mum gave up learning to drive after that."

  • Richard Austin:

    "My take on the Gordon Parkin free transfer of Peter Craven to the Aces, its my own speculation.

    The Gordon Parkin 'free transfer' of Peter Craven to Belle Vue in 1952 could be called into question, based on Craven's history of speedway achievements; however Parkins actions might be viewed in context of the prevailing times.

    Peter Craven rode for Liverpool, primarily as a reserve and sometimes team rider in 1951, unfortunately he failed to produce team points. Quite possibly, Gordon Parkin recognized young Cravens potential was not on the big Stanley track, but his balanced racing style, being more suitable, to a smaller wider track such as the Hyde Road facility.

    In 1952, the Belle Vue Aces a division one team included riders such as Jack Parker, Dent Oliver, Louis Lawson, Ken Sharples, Henry Long, etc. Additionally, competing for a reserve position on the Aces, were experienced riders such as Val Morton, Dennis Parker, Ron Mason, Bob Fletcher, Norman Hargreaves, Bob Duckworth etc.

    It�s quite possible the team management at Belle Vue at the time, might question 'paying a transfer fee', for a rider unproven from a second division track, while already experienced race ready, talented riders were on the Belle Vue reserve books.

    Eventually in 1954, Peter Craven became one of the top riders on the Belle Vue Aces, and the rest is speedway history.."

  • Max Schofield:

    "The Liverpool Chads, I think my dad, Jack, rode for them perhaps in the late 50s?"

  • Dudley Jones:

    "Mike Parkins on...Gordon Parkins I am always keen to read of lost tracks and speedway history. I found Mike's recollections on Liverpool very interested in those days at Liverpool. As my heart will always be at 'The Firs' at Norwich I very much hope that Mike will do an article on his dad Gordon. Gordon was very successful at Norwich and I would love to hear more insights into this period and his later involvements. Also his early introduction to the sport, I believe I read somewhere that he first saw speedway at Barnet. There were a number of names from the past management of speedway who must have had interesting stories. Fred Mockford, Ronnie Green, etc."

  • Geoff Cannon:

    "I well remember the speedway, I must have been about 10 yrs old when I started to go there with with pal Alan Starbuck and his dad. Bryce Subritzky was the one I remember as my favorite. The smell of the fuel must have put us all on a "high". It was a sad day when it went from there."

  • Geoff Dearden:

    "Monday nights at the Chads was like walking into a different world. I remember riders like Doug Surrurier, Angus Maguire and Charlie Oates who were our heroes. Those of us who had push-bikes always cornered with a serious drift over to the left. I borrowed a neighbour's bike and wrecked it on a field which is now the site of the old Ford factory in Halewood. If other towns can produce good teams, why doesn't Liverpool. It would give us break from Football."

  • Brian Buck:

    "I remember the two Liverpool revivals very well. Reg Duval's 1957 promotion looked to be a winner with large attendances especially in the earlier part of the season, but the existing promotors ganged up on Duval, forcing him to pay an "appearance fee" for every rider he used in his challenge matches and not allowing him to use the names of their own clubs when they were riding at Stanley. (Belle Vue having to become "Manchester" and Coventry having to be billed as "East Midlands" etc).

    This was because 1957 was the year in which entertainment tax was abolished and the National League promotors didn't see why they should have had to soldier on paying this tax for so many years and then see new promotors come onto the bandwaggon and to have to pay it. Understandable up to a point I suppose, but shortsighted in the long run.

    Liverpool were founder members of the Provincial League in 1960 and their promotor Mike Parker was one of the main instigators in getting the competition up and running. Unfortunately, the Northern teams who joined, Liverpool, Bradford, Edinburgh and Sheffield, all chose to staff their teams with junior riders (mainly ex Belle Vue second halfers) whilst the Southern teams all brought back retired old hands. The Northern teams especially Liverpool and Bradford, proved to be no match for their Southern opponents and took some fearful home beatings all of which had a major effect on attendances. Liverpool opened the 1960 season with a crowd of over 4,000 which was pretty promising considering that the riders were only being paid 12/6 a point, but long before the end of the season the numbers had dwindled away so badly from poor results, that it was clear that the track could not survive. Again, a great shame that speedway had missed the boat in one of England's biggest cities. "

  • Philip Dalling:

    "I enjoyed reading Brian Buck's comments on Liverpool and the Provincial League in general. Was there ever such a fascinating competition as the PL? At the end of its first season (1961) 40 per cent of its tracks (four out of ten) were forced to withdraw for one reason or another, yet it quickly found five new venues for 1961. Throughout its existence, turnover was considerable, but there were always new tracks to take the place of the ones that faltered. As Brian Buck recalls, the top three at the end of 1960 were the teams which had recruited riders with plenty of National League experience. One amazing statistic reported by the speedway press at the time was that champions Rayleigh (who won the league from Poole on race points) attracted a smaller average crowd than rock-bottom Bradford, who only managed to win two league contests.

    The circumstances that led to the birth of the Provincial League are covered in some depth in my new book, SPEEDWAY The Classic Era, which is due to be published as a hardback by a publisher new to speedway, Halsgrove, this Autumn. The book examines a number of the themes and the influences that shaped speedway in the first 40 years of its existence. The themes include the brief but bitter contest for the soul of the sport between the motorcycle establishment and the commercial promoters, the struggle for recognition faced by aspiring riders, especially in the north of England, during the mid-1950s downturn, and the battle between the declining National League and the booming Provincial League, which led to the PL running 'black' in 1964 and a subsequent probe into the way the sport was run, carried out by the top lawyer who prosecuted Nazi war criminals following World War Two."

  • John Cullen:

    "Very enjoyable and informative for me. I was never a speedway fan - never had the money to go and didn't know anyone who did go, but we could hear the roars on race evenings from where we lived - and for us, The Chads were a Liverpool fixture just like Liverpool and Everton (we didn't go to the football either being a bit far out on the City/Roby border). We did make our own speedway and raced around doing 'broadsides' and calling ourselves 'Chads' and such. The big day came when another team, from somewhere around Old Swan, I think, came along with all the real gear - miners boots with a steel plate on the left one, scarves, helmets, goggles, push bikes rigged up as speedway bikes with wide home-made handle bars, etc. They had a crowd of supporters and even 'girls' with them. We'd never seen such excitement and such glamour! We weren't able to give them any sort of competition but they didn't complain and put on a great show for us. However, after it was over, we took the track markers away and that was that. Great times. "

  • Ray Teevan:

    "It's nice hear about Stanley track back in the fiftys. I would go with my dad. Peter Craven would always be at Charlie Oates motorbike shop most Sundays. Peter would take us to Ainsdale Beach. I also remember he bought a brand new Jowett Jupiter Bright. Sadly he died young, doing the thing he loved "

  • Ray Gray:

    "Like many of your contributors, many of my childhood memories are linked to Liverpool 'Chads'. My father was Fred Gray. I was brought up believing he was a one time team manager, but reading the published history of the team, he does not get a mention.

    The only reference to him I have found, is the 'Ainsdale Speedway Training School' organised by Charlie Oates (my godfather). My father is listed as one of the instructors. I would be interested to know if anyone has any info about his role at Liverpool.

    One of the only pieces of memorabilia I have, is of my dad, in a white coat, starting a speedway race. I have always assumed this to be at Stanley Road but after reading John Jarvis's account of the Ainsdale events the photo could easily have been been taken there. Once again any info would be gratefully received.

    There were always family stories being recalled about people and events surrounding speedway. Reading the stories on the website, give mention to many of the names linked to those stories. This has brought all the stories flooding back. I was born in 1946 so I was too young to remember any of the events even though I was apparently present at many of them.

    One of these was a trip to Ireland. My dad apparently took some team members to ride in an event there. I don't know if it was for a proper match or simply a promotional exercise. Does anyone know? "

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