Home Contact Us Stadia Pix Articles All About You Riders to Remember
DVDs Books Pictures Archive Dream Teams Programme Generator
03/11/2019
Louis to Race New Weslake
Brandonapolis - Part 4
Your Feedback
 
27/10/2019
All About You: Andrew Gallon
Brandonapolis - Part 3
Your Feedback
 
12/10/2019
There is Another Sun
Brandonapolis - Part 2
 
03/10/2019
DVD Review: Simon Cross
Brandonapolis - Part 1
Your Feedback
 
15/09/2019
When Ian Met Ove
Updated: Dagenham Mystery
Your Feedback
 
06/09/2019
Is Speedway All-In?
Dagenham Mystery
 
21/08/2019
Book Review: Brough Park
NZ World League - Part 7
Your Feedback
 
28/07/2019
Scrapbook: Cyril's Starting Gate
NZ World League - Part 6
Your Feedback
 
21/07/2019
Never Give Up On Odsal
NZ World League - Part 5
Speedway at the Ace
 
10/07/2019
It's All About You: Barry Preston
NZ World League - Part 4
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
04/07/2019
Large and Noisy Crowd
NZ World League - Part 3
Your Feedback
 


Syd van der Vyver
By John Hyam

Syd van der Vyver

ONE of the colourful band of South Africans who tried their hand in British speedway at the start of the 1950s was Syd van der Vyver, who had spells with Rayleigh and Leicester. Sadly, on British tracks he never showed the pace that had made him such a dashing and spectacular performer in his homeland.

He came to the UK with an impressive South African pedigree, having been capped in the test series against visiting England in both the 1948-49 and 1949-50 test series. But away from the track, he was also highly regarded as a mechanical genius, and between 1948-51 was also chief mechanic to the Johannesburg Pirates, who were based at South Africa's Wembley Stadium.

South African historian Ken MacLeod tells an amusing item about van der Vyver's period in charge of the workshops. He said,

"When speedway first started at the stadium, some of the less sober spectators used the pit wall as a urinal.

"Syd was watching the racing from the pit wall when he saw them in action. So he went to the workshop (out of sight of the spectators) and rigged up a spare generator and cable, then trapsed it along the ground where the naughty guys were performing. As a result, they received a minor shock where they least expected it. Needless to say, the practice stopped pretty soon afterwards."

Syd in action

Like his fellow countryman, the 1950s Liverpool star Doug Serrurier, Syd is also a South African motor sport legend, although mainly for car racing. Ken Macleod said that on four wheels van der Vyver was twice South African Drivers champion and in international races in South Africa he did did very well against legendary stars like Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham and Jim Clark.

When van der Vyver died aged 69 years in 1989, a little known secret about him came to light. Although he was known as Syd, his first name was found to be neither Sidney or Sydney as one might expect but was in fact Siegfried.

 

This article was first published on 14th July 2017

[ 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