Ray Davidson sent us these pictures back in 2011. They were taken at Berwick's rural home in the eighties. The meetings were Steve McDermott's testimonial in 1989 and the visit of Arena Essex in 1986.
This year's California-in-Engalnd Speedway Reunion has been cancelled for obvious reasons. Hopefully the Poppies will be able to get back together again in 2021.
Friends of Speedway (a non-profit making organisation who are proud to part sponsor the British Youth Speedway Championship) are pleased to announce the 78th edition of their magazine the Voice which is packed full of interest and enjoyment. This issue is a huge 24 pages, which will keep your interest for hours!
In this issue Charles Mckay says 'See you at the speedway in 2020? Sue Towner on her Soapbox, with an update on the progress of young Sam Norris. John Hyam on New Cross. Roy Delaney looks at the famous Hawkeye. Slider says, 'Thank You and Good Night - The Supporters Have Left the Building' plus an Obituary to Stoke Speedway. Ron Jones looks at the birth of Dirt Track racing at Coventry. Re-rival of speedway at Southampton and Oxford? Plus more to keep you interested.
Available from Friends of Speedway; 117 Church Lane, Chessington, Surrey KT9 2DP. Please send your cheque for £12 made out to the above for four issues of the Voice to Stu Towner at the above address or ring 0208-397 6599/07860 135939 for more information.
"Yes it's very sad. Living in London I've made eleven visits to Stoke's Loomer Road over the years, several times stopping off at Alton Towers. I always enjoyed my visits, the journey, the stadium and the racing was good, and had what was probably one of the best track shops around.
The last time I visited there was in 2011 to see Hackney who were based at Rye House in the National League as it was called then.
As the lockdown has eased, people have been working extra hard and being inventive and doing whatever it takes to get their businesses back up and running. With speedway and the BSPA not even attempting to run any form of speedway whether it's individual, three or four team tournaments or even challenge matches people will get used to 'not going.
Pubs have survived and even flurished because as social meeting places they have adapted. I believe British Speedway will spiral even further downwards because people will get used to not going, the thrill of watching a live match will have gone, people will be content to subscribe and watch it live on telly. Unfortunately more Loomer Road's will occur. I've pointed it out many times sport is about competition, not levelling the playing field by penalising the good teams.
Enough said, R.I.P. Stoke speedway and Loomer road, lots of fond memories."
"Information on meetings featuring Sonny Dewhurst can be found on The Speedway Researcher web site. There are A - Z lists of riders iIn most of the track by track files section, which show how many meetings a rider is known to have appeared in any give year. The actual rider details can then be found by visiting the year files."
"I have have been trying to find more about a friend from the late sixties from grass track racing. I've been told he raced speedway in Liverpool in his younger days his names was Sonny Dewhurst his son Stan also rode, any information or stories would be appreciated ."
"With reference to the "Wall of Death" film, mentioned in the OnScreen article, I believe this film is titled "There is Another Sun". It does turn up occasionally on Freeview channel TALKING PICTURES."
"This statement from Tracy really sums it up: "This event would be homed at Belle Vue and would join The Internationale as THE biggest meetings a rider could win in the UK apart from The World Final." I went with my dad to many BLRC's in the '70's and Tracy is spot on in saying that this was a BIG night. But I'd never really thought of it in comparison terms with other meetings, and I can see that, certainly from the inception of the British Leage in '65, the BLRC stood as a 'big 'un' for many years. Under the lights at Hyde Road, end-of-season, packed crowd, best riders in the world bar the odd one or two - fantastic stuff."
"I went to Somerton Park in 1969 for the first in our championship season. Gordon Guasco scored a 12 point max in a 49-29 win then whenTim Stone opened up Hayley Park we went to watch young Martin Willis ride there on several occasions. The sixties and seventies were the halcyon days of speedway in my opinion watching Eric Broadbelt scraping the boards at Poole and winning, top nights."
"Just like to say enjoyed the Bill Andrew article. Remembered him well at Poole giving 100% all the time. In 1968 he held the Pirates together when Gote Nordin went back to Sweden after one meeting, still we found Odd Fossengen that year with his battered old pickup truck and red tank speedway bike. Anybody remember him riding over 2 laps and finishing second with only half of his handlebars, legend! Good times."
"A great article from Alan Pennington. Like him, I wonder now whether I'm going through the motions by watching live speedway. Sadly, the total destruction of Plough Lane, Wimbledon, is now complete and there isn't a track in London or within 50 miles now. This year thanks to the virus we haven't been able to showcase the sport on TV, and quite frankly the Polish stuff without a crowd has been lamentable. I grieve for the sport I love, having spent many happy Tuesday's at West Ham and Friday's at Hackney in the 60's and 70's.
Like Alan, I note the lack of the younger generation at the few meetings I do attend now. Maybe a return to the "old" rules (especially the nonsense at the start - What would Tony Lomas have made of those first out of the gate now?), and the freedom to choose handlebars (remember the wide sweeping cow horns that some used?) would give the sport some of its spectacle back. But, I won't hold my breath.
A once proud and magnificent sport now seems to be slowly dying on the back of political correctness (you aren't excluded now but disqualified), and ridiculous rules courtesy of the BSPA and the FIM which have slowly throttled the life out of it. I shall continue to attend meetings when and where I can, but each year they seem to get less and less important. Nobody though can take away the memories. Thank you speedway for everything."
"Thanks for this brilliant piece which answered many questions for me. I was a 15 yr old Wolves follower at the time and had been to my first meeting at Monmore a few weeks earlier but was not at the meeting where Gary died. I found out the following day seeing it in the Express & Star headline when shopping i n town next day.
It was such a numbing shock I never read the account of the accident.
I became a regular from 1978 with some friends and in one meeting some time after this we were cheering Alan Grahame who was guesting for Wolves that night when one of the older fans stood behind us on the home straight chimed in: "What do you mean 'come on Alan!'? That man killed Gary Peterson!" A woman in their group was visibly distressed and they did not elaborate on how Alan was supposed to have done this. Seeing this piece and attached comments removes the asterisk from Alan Grahame's name for me. Maybe some fans were still traumatised and naturally blamed the survivor in order to cope.
Right up until Wolves were "relegated" to the National League we always seemed one rider short of having a competitive side. I often wondered especially if 1978 would've been quite as disastrous with Gary Peterson alongside Hans Nielsen, Dave Morton and Jimmy Mac and whether he could have emulated his friend Ole Olsen and become Wolves's second World Champion. Or would he have followed Ole to Coventry instead? Alas we shall never know."
"Enjoyed your reminiscences Alan - just one thing Ray Harris -also one of my favourites did ride after Stoke closed, for Newport in 1964 and 1965. In fact Ray scored 7 points at Long Eaton for a Newport away win in 1965 I recall an older speedway fan at that meeting seeing a hectic race with Ray Harris against Ken Adams and saying how great it was to see two old timers giving it their all. I recall that particular race (hitch-hiked up to Long Eaton) - great days and great riders!!"
"Alan's is another sad story of a supporter lost to the sport. Like myself he tells a similar story, a relative or friend persuades you to go speedway and you become hooked. Living in London, Stoke was a track I enjoyed going to, paying many a visit, a couple of times stopping off at Alton Towers with Loomer Road rounding off a wonderful day.
His thoughts on why British Speedway has declined is shared by most of us but I think other factors have contributed, we are told there's not enough riders yet you have track sharing, air fences have reduced the widths of tracks thus reducing racing lines, an example Rye House the last track I was able to get to became poor racing once an air fence was introduced especially when they went Premiership, out to the fence and stay there, no passing unless mistakes were made, ironically Rye had a safer (collapsible) fence than the air fence.
Even if you watched Swedish Speedway on Freeview and Polish on You-tube you were watching the same riders in each league. Fortunately we have the internet with websites such as this where we can share our speedway memories of a time when it was enjoyable, great in these times of coronavirus with self isolating and thank goodness for Zoom and Facebook Messenger. "
Alan has been a fan since the fifties, but fears he has seen has last live meeting now that Stoke Potters are no more. Having seen racing at 74 UK tracks, he's well placed to offer some opinion on the sport.
"Saw a couple of meetings at the Hayley stadium, one against Birmingham the other was the New Year Classic. The Brum meeting had some great racing made even better by the fact that Brum came out on top - this was ridden on a beautiful summers day.
The visit for the New Year Classic was a little different. There had been a lot of rain but the meeting went on even though the track was like a pudding bowl. Racing was very difficult due to the conditions and I had noticed that anyone standing near to the bend three fence got filled in with splattering shale as the riders entered the bend. There were five of us and we wondered around the track watching the racing from different vantage points. I stopped the group at bend three as we chatted. As the riders came round four of us crouched using my brother-in-law as a shield and true to form he got covered from head to toe...as you can imagine we were all very sympathetic.....happy days!"
"Re: "suitable for crimewatch" - Ukrainian Igor Marko who died after a mugging/street robbery in Rivne in 2006. Although over 40 he was still active in the Ukraine. Career highlight was the 1986 European Junior Championship (now called World under 21) which he won from Tony Olsson and Brian Karger. He appeared in Britain in 1990 as part of a USSR touring team."
"Just came across this article. Me and my mate hitch-hiked to Skeggy for a few days back in the 70's. On the Sunday Boston were at home to my beloved Brummies in the second leg of a cup match. We hitched back to New Hammond Beck Road and pitched our tent on an embankment outside the stadium which I think overlooked bends 1 and 2. Our intention was to go into the stadium but we had such a good view we watched from the embankment. We witnessed a great meeting as Boston stormed into a 14 point lead only for Brum to fight back and earn a draw and won the tie on aggregate."
"I remember this meeting has if it was yesterday (not 46 years ago). This was the first time a bunch of us lads (Long Eaton Archers Supporters) had taken our wives/girlfriends to an big individual meeting. We arrived early and went to watch the South London Rangers Cycle Speedway team against a Select Side. An entertaining match, which the Rangers won. I have the program somewhere.
Any way, off to the meeting. My mate Paul's GF (later wife) was a massive John Boulger fan, who fell in his first ride and was unable to continue due to a shoulder injury. It was a great meeting for another Friend (Big Rog) wife, because Peter Collins won it, and she was from Manchester and an Aces Fan.
The fates hadn't finished with us yet. On the way home, the Mini bus broke down. Gary and Tony who drove the bus had to trudge over a mile to the nearest breakdown phone box. After dropping everybody off safely I finally crawled into bed around 5 the following morning. Later I rang my the girlfriend (at the time) Loran up to see how she was, and had to explain to her irate Dad, what had happened to the bus. Any way thanks for reading the story and the memories of an Old Man."