There have been many great speedway stories over the years, some true, some
less so. Make up your own mind about the accounts detailed in 'Tall Tales from
A rather sad picture this one above, it's the Perry Barr circuit in Birmingham.
The picture was taken by Brian Buck just after the stadium was demolished
back in 1983.
"We need to win on Sunday night to qualify straight to the final, though if we don't and have to go to the race-off at
Wroclaw next Thursday, then so be it.
It would be a big psychological boost for us if we were to reach the final without the need for the race-off and that's
Denmark are the team we will have to beat but the Czechs and Russians can't be underestimated. The Czechs put us out in
2002 in the race-off at Peterborough and the Russians could easily be spoilers at a big track like Swindon."
Team GB skipper Scott Nicholls on the World Cup
All the quotes you need to read are in Soundbites!
John Hyam is researching a circuit named Bell End (seriously!) at Holbeach.
Anybody able to help?
Nigel Bird is working on a history Pre-War speedway in the West Midlands
and needs copies of programmes to assist.
Mathew Faughnan is Colin Watson's Grandson and is trying to locate any
pieces of Colin's old bikes that may still be in existence.
For those that have asked, or expressed doubts, we can reveal that
the project to bring speedway back to Long Eaton is still ongoing. The
plans for the stadium are complete and from all accounts the stadium
will be fantastic. The plans for the rest of the site are now being
prepared and should go in front of the council in September.
Things are also looking much more promising in Middlesbrough. All the latest
developments can be found on the
Boro Bears website.
Have you downloaded your copy of our free magazine? It's in PDF format and
showcases some of the best features we've included on the site.
"Is there nobody with enough interest or knowledge, to put together a site for
the Crayford Kestrels? I know they were swallowed up by Hackney but they had
some bloody good riders at various times. Laurie Etheridge, Barry Thomas,
Paul Woods, Les Rumsey, Alan Sage, Steve Naylor and Moggo who is still doing
the biz at Stoke.
Although they were not my main team, they used to be the
start of my speedway week. Tuesday Crayford, Thursday Wimbledon (my team),
Friday at eight horrible Hackney, Sunday out to the country and Eastbourne.
"You forgot Newport, newest city in Wales, (Never mind I accept the earlier apology)"
We included a comment from Charlotte the other week that attracted some
attention - she basically thought the site was rubbish. Thanks to everyone
who sprung to our defence - we only really included the comment initially
because it amused us!
The Edinburgh Monarchs
site, arguably already the best club site on the net,
has been further improved and now features 'EMTV' a video vault of recent
action. You can also snap up Monarchs email accounts
Loads of new rider websites this week, starting with Byron Bekker's which
adopts the purple and
green colour scheme of his kevlars - tastefully thankfully as the results
of that strategy could have been quite horrendous in less skilled hands.
It can be found at byronbekker.com.
Jon Armstrong of
the Fen Tigers is another to launch a site. It's mainly pictures at the moment.
Stephen Spriggs took up the sport last September and is currently racing
on a 125cc Honda. Find out more here.
'Slick Nick' Laurence lists Smirnoff Ice as his favourite drink in his
personal profile - not sure that's advisable for someone who weighs 6 stone 4!
Weymouth's Lewis Bridger's site
is a very professional looking effort.
He lists his favourite music as 'Fish', which is either good news for the ex-Marillion
front man or a minor problem with the layout.
11 year old Jordon Guest completes the list of new rider sites. He's taking his first steps in
the sport at the Sheffield training track. The address is
We've added a new section to our links page to
cover the recent proliferation of 'Start Tart' websites. Let us know if there
are any missing from the list.
Updated on 23rd July 2005
This week, as promised, we bring you something new and quite different.
It's the first ever, completely free, totally downloadable, speedway magazine.
'The Very Best of SpeedwayPlus' pulls together some of our most popular articles and
photoshoots into a form that you can save to your hard-disk, print out and read
on the toilet!
The magazine is in PDF format so you'll need to have Adobe
Acrobat reader installed to view it. Don't worry if you don't already have it, you can
download it for free from here.
In this first edition you can read our classic interview with Dave Gifford, find out
about the history of the sport in Nottingham, check out topical comment on Sky
Television's involvement with the sport and so much more.
The filesize is just under 1MB - deliberately so - so even those of you still using
dial-up should be able to download your copy in a matter of minutes.
Please let us know what you think of the publication by dropping us an email. Remember
also that it's only possible because we receive regular articles and photographs from
our team of contributors. Please get in touch if you'd like to join our merry band - we always
welcome unsolicited contributions.
Old Meadowbank was the home of the Edinburgh Monarchs from 1948 until 1967 and is probably the club's
spiritual home. The stadium was demolished to make way for a new athletics stadium when the city
hosted the 1970 Commonwealth games. Now, thanks to these pictures from Bob Cole, we can all see
exactly how this famous old track used to look. Feel free to drop us an email with your Meadowbank
It's long been accepted that speedway tends to do better in towns where there's little in the
way of alternative entertainment - Workington and King's Lynn being two such examples. However, as
Robert J. Rogers points out in this new article, Speedway still needs the cities!
"He is absolutely outstanding, the way in which he stalks his victims and passes them lap by lap is quite classic. I think that when I spent my money to purchase his contract I didn't realise what a good rider I was buying."
Len Silver on Stuart Robson
Plenty more opinion can be found in Soundbites
Pauline Hathaway is Phil Bishop's niece and is collecting anecdotes about her uncle.
Tom Marriott needs further information on the Canadian team picture we showed. He now knows
who the riders are, but wants to know if they ever raced together as a side. Can you help?
The site will not be updated in the usual manner next week. Instead we'll be bringing you something
new and quite different. Come back next weekend and find out what it is!
"Read the piece on Ellesmere Port Gunners. I was at that meeting and was amazed to hear later that the residents
committee opposed the return. Why? because I live on the estate and I didnt even know we had such a body and I
certainly didnt give any backing to it. I was actually the fuel+oil man for the management and my 3 children all
loved speedway as did my wife who washed the body colours and overalls. The council don't know what they have
missed out on."
"The up-to-date action pics published on Speedwayplus are magnificent photographs in their own right.
But why do modern day speedway photographers almost totally exclude the background crowd scene from their shots?
Speedway photographers over the years have captured the atmosphere of the sport and also put the riders involved
into some sort of context. The older shots which show the crowds and the stadia do not reduce the impact or size
of the riders.
So is there a technical reason that this non-photographer does not know about?
Or is it, sadly, the fact that at many tracks there are simply no crowds, stands etc on the bends to record?"
"Before emigrating to Canada 2 years ago one of my drinking pals at my local pub was the late Phil Bishop's son,
Phil Bishop. Initially I didn't realise who he was, but in conversation we eventually got onto the subject of
Lokeren, and how sad that this terrible tragedy happened. "It was fate, just a terribly sad end to several
speedway personalities lives, Terry Betts was going, pulled out at the last minute, can't remember who took his
Even now after all these years, Phil is very sad around the circumstances of his father's death and
struggle's to even talk about it. Phil junior has had a very successful career in tv, for many years he was
producer of "Top of The Pops" for the BBC, and then went to ITV where he was head of religious broadcasting
(he had the right surname for the job!).
He told me of his father's passion for racing and the numerous injuries
and broken bones that he had suffered during his riding days, he also said how Phil loved helping out the younger
riders and enjoyed his envolvement in the running of West Ham. This I think is how most people in the sport will
remember Phil as a fun loving competative person with a joy for living and sharing.
I said any chance your boys
might have a go at racing, Phil said "not a chance even, there are less exciting ways of making more money,
without risking your neck"."
Edinburgh skipper Theo Pijper's new website is now officially available. Its address was leaked
a few weeks ago, apparently much to the horror of the web designer who hadn't finished the site yet.
The address is theopijper.com.
Positively ancient, but relentlessly entertaining, Alan 'Moggo' Mogridge celebrates his second
testimonial later this season. Full details will appear at
www.moggomania.tk. The site appears to still
be incomplete but the provisional lineup is there.
Updated on 9th July 2005
Thursday 14th July will mark the 35th Anniversary of the Lokeren road crash that killed
Peter Bradshaw, Martyn Piddock, Gary Everett, Malcolm Carmichael, Phil Bishop and Henrikus Rommoes.
We shall never forget them.
Today we repeat our series of tribute features to those who perished.
Rye House claimed their first away league win of the season at Armadale last
night. This match features in our Action Pictures slot.
"It was very, very horrific,
I was sitting on the wall and as soon as I saw what was happening I turned away.
I knew straight away from the angle of the bike, and the speed, it was going to be a bad one, particularly given Mildenhall's safety fence."
Craig Branney on Joel Parson's crash
The latest views on the news can be found in Soundbites
Dave Gifford is looking for a copy of the 1961 World Final programme. Do you
have one you can spare?
Ian Worthington is looking for Scunthorpe programmes from the 1972 to 1978 era.
Congratulations to our regular 'Canadian Correspondent' Tom Marriott who has been voted the most popular
Canadian speedway rider.
"Harry Ward should write to the Peterborough management and tell them what he thinks about their re-admission
Even the next three meetings plus re-run needs to be improved. This was introduced years ago when fans travelled
just a few miles to their local track. Nowadays people drive miles to meetings and due to shift work and other
commitments it can be difficult to get back. I recently emailed the BSPA to suggest improving the rules to next
five plus re-run. Surprise, surprise, no reply was forthcoming.
I would suggest to anyone having difficulty re-using their ticket to phone or write to the team manager or
promoter and explain the reason, particularly if the meeting is called off before any heats are run.
Myself and my family have decided that we never travel to a meeting unless there is an unequivocal forecast of
dry weather, we miss some speedway, the tracks miss our admission money. That's the way it is until the
re-admission regs. are improved."
"It's wonderful that 33 years after West Ham Stadium was demolished to make way for a housing estate so many
contributors to Speedway Plus in recent months have expressed such fond and vivid memories of the team, from the
great Ken McKinlay through to the young junior Dave Wills.
It really highlghts what afantastic place it was.
I have never known a track like it for atmosphere and excitement. Despite two fatal accidents to Dave Wills and
Tad Teodorowicz in two years it was a relatively safe track and my old programmes record that many meetings passed
off without a single rider even sliding off.
I think a lot of this was due to the shape of the track. As built, in 1928 when land was cheap it was a full
quarter mile but in the 1950's it was shortened to 400 yards (362 metres) to provide wider bends for stock cars.
The widened bends had good racing lines on the inside and outside so there was plenty of scope for passing, and
if a rider did get out of shape he had some extra room to sort himself out. When Olle Nygren joined the team it
was said he often took charge of track preparation, on one occasion supervising the complete re-laying of the
track the day before a big match to ensure good racing
At the time it closed Ray Wilson (Leicester) held the track record at 70.2 seconds which in terms of m.p.h made
it the second fastest track in the country, I think, behind Exeter. I guess in today's terms it would be a great
track for someone like Gollob to be blasting round the fence in about 57 secs.
I grew up in a house 100 yards from the main gate. In those days the bikes had no silencers but I don't remember
anyone complaining about the noise, not even people who never went to Speedway. The attitude was that the stadium
gave a lot of people pleasure, provided jobs and brought extra trade to the local shops so live and let live. How
times have changed!
I wonder how many residents of the housing estate now on the site realise that their streets are named after the
Hammers of Speedways Golden Era --- (Tommy) Croombs Road , (Arthur) Atkinson Ave, (Bluey) Wilkinson Road and
(Jack ) Young Ave."
Updated on 1st July 2005
Poland - one of the great speedway nations, but a country that's not had a world champion in
over 30 years. Chris Seaward turns the spotlight on the Poles and wonders when that's likely to
change. Join us for a look at 'The Polish Perspective'.
Andy Davidson brings us photographs of the Horsham circuit in South Australia. We're always on the
lookout for pictures of speedway tracks, past and present, anywhere in the world. Drop us an email
if you could help.
"I never worried that I'd be dropped, how do you replace me?
My confidence never dropped even during that bad spell. Nobody was more disapointed than me in the lack of performances
but I always knew it was only a hiccup.
It just took a while to sort out my bikes, which were underperforming. At first we thought it was bad fuel but after
changing two or three things we finally got the problem sorted."
The latest views on the news can be found in Soundbites
Michele Archer is looking for information on a Jimmy Grant who rode
for Harringay just after the war. Can you help?
Tom Wareham needs a copy of Peter Morrish's league tables book. Does
anyone have a spare copy?
Dudley Jones, Ray Bysouth and Fred Taylor all left feedback on
David Wills. We've added these
directly to the page as part of the tribute - more welcome.
"Agree pretty much with Rod Young's comments - I still remember vividly watching a rider die on track all of
33 years ago and while it had nothing to do with fencing or any other form of foul riding the facts of the matter
are simple-every time (fortunately not too often, I think) a rider puts another at unnecessary risk then they are
simply putting a life on the line. It's not the fault of a referee that such a situation arises but they do have
a responsibility (and the power) to help stamp it out by coming down heavily on anyone who does so.
I certainly wouldn't want to think that if I was a referee I didn't take action which put a very firm message
across and help reduce the chance of another rider losing his life. If you've seen a rider die on track, you will
know exactly what I mean. Again without naming names, I do recall at Paisley in 1975 a VERY famous rider of the
time being excluded from the meeting in Heat 1 for dangerous riding, and the reaction towards the referee was
"What, you can't do that!" but he could and he had the guts to do it. That's the message to get across to those
who think they can get away with it, whether it's a Conference League fixture or a Grand Prix round.
As long as any rider thinks the worst they will get is a 15 metre penalty, if they're prepared to do it in the
first place they consider it worth the risk.
So make the penalty unpalatable - get yourself suspended from a couple of meetings for repeated offences of
dangerous riding and what sort of career will you have?"
Barry Burchatt of the Rye House Raiders is the latest rider to join the
information super-highway (as we used to call it). His site has been designed
by Colin Pearson who's also responsible for the excellent Rye House site.
Barry's site can be found at
Nostalgia buffs should definitely join up at the
Vintage Speedway Forum.
The site covers both the pre-war and post-war eras and should be an ideal hang out for those of you
of a certain age.
A new speedway management game has been launced at virtualspeedwaymanager.com.
It seems to cost £10 to get started - up to you to decide whether that represents good value or not!