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Ownership Change at Oxford
Fred Gray
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Updated on 23rd September 2005


It's been a real 'bad news week' for the sport with serious doubts expressed over the future of another two clubs. We look at these new developments and the other teams that are struggling in 'Clubs in Crisis'.



Lonigo is the principal speedway track in Italy - well, can you name another? It's the home of the Italian Grand Prix and has staged numerous International meetings over the years. Trevor Picken was the man behind the lens for this set of photographs.



  • Former Newcastle rider Russ Dent is looking for a copy of the Diamonds programme from 26/9/1966. His daughter was born on that day.

  • Steve Clark is trying to get in touch with Crayford riders from the 1968-1970 era. His late father Colin rode for them at that time.




  • "This is not a decision that has come overnight. Speedway has been a big part of my life for a very long time. I owe a lot to this sport and there have been many memorable moments that will always stay with me. Now it is time for me to proceed. This is one of the most important decisions that I have taken during my career but I feel confident that I am doing the right thing. It is quite easy to explain how I came to this decision. I simply want to move on. I don't know what future has in store for me, but it is a thrilling thought to go on in life without speedway as a main occupation. 2006 will very much be the same as 2005. I will always do my very best!"
    World Champion Tony Rickardsson declares his intention to quit at the end of 2006

    Promoters and riders share their thoughts in our latest Soundbites article.



  • There are some incredible characters racing in Canada these days. British ex-pat Graham Wale is one of them. Graham races as 'The Pirate', due to his connections with Poole earlier in his life, and is still going strong at 63 years of age! You can visit his new website at grahamwale.com.

  • Artist Jim Blanchard has added Tomasz Gollob to his list of subjects, you can see the picture and order your limited edition print by visiting Jim's website.

  • Kyle Legault of Sheffield and Canada now has a second website. This one is Canadian based and aims to raise his profile and attract further sponsorship. Click here to visit his new site.

  • Did you know that we have links to hundreds of speedway websites on our links page?
  •  


     

    Updated on 16th September 2005


    Chris Morton was the boy from Partington who became a Belle Vue legend, England international, World Pairs winner and an MBE! He's recently written his autobiography - Until the Can Ran Out. We're delighted to bring you an extract from the book on the site today.

    We pick up the story in 1975 and find out about a very expensive blow-up, the value of his tour of Australia and what Chris Pusey used to get up to in the showers!

    Read the extract and then dash off to order your copy.




    "This club was on its knees a year ago. Whatever happens now, this has been a terrific season for us. We are the best team because we finished top of the league over 36 matches, and I don't agree with the silly play-off system. We should be the champions now, not having to play a cup competition to win it."
    Belle Vue boss Ian Thomas

    Reaction to all the week's events is in Soundbites



    6th Sunderland Speedway Reunion

    A sixth pre-Christmas Sunderland Speedway reunion will be staged in November. It will be held at the ever popular Pullman Lodge Hotel at Seaburn, Sunderland, on Saturday the 19th November, when many of the old Stars/Gladiators return to meet the fans in an evening of nostalgia. The evening will consist of a first class buffet, late licence (1am), giant raffle, old speedway film, disco, bikes and photos of the stars who entertained us all those years ago ie Russ Dent, George Barclay, Pete Wrathall, Dave Gatenby, Brian Havelock, John Robson and Gerry Richardson. Also hoping to be there (work permitting) will be Kiwi Graeme Smith.

    The evening will be hosted once again by local TV sports presenter Jeff Brown and will be open to anyone. Some of our regular guests include Pete Wigley, (all the way from Bognor Regis) the two Rob Grants, and hopefully a few surprise new faces!

    Tickets are available at £10 each, and can be purchased from Bob Ferry (tel. 0191 5365064)

    For those wishing to stay overnight at the hotel, rooms can be had at a very reasonable rate (including full English breakfast). Book in advance, ring Bob for further details.

    All proceeds from this event are to be donated to the proposed Speedway Museum at Paradise Park.


    Maciej Wegrzyn has been digging even further into the career of Laurence 'Scottie' Michie and uncovered a couple of interesting anecdotes. These have been added to the article we published a few weeks ago.



    The VSRA are continuing their campaign to build a National Speedway Museum in Hertfordshire. Alan Hodkinson brings us up to date with the latest state of play.



  • Tracey Fairbrother is looking for video footage of her husband Paul during his racing career. Paul rode in the juniors at Long Eaton and Stoke between 1978 and 1984.

  • Kevin Haney hopes to acquire a video copy of the 2005 Polish League Play-Offs.

  • Carl Oakes is interested in pictures and information on former rider Gavin Pell.



  • Tony Richardson on Wearing Dad's Overalls:

    "I too remember riding my pedal bike around the back garden with my 2 brothers & some friends, using the 3 trees we had as markers for the corners.

    We also used the roads in a new building site in the winter for cycle ice speedway.

    As you were saying with all the computers, TV programmes and the society we live in kids don't go out much to play."

  • Alison Ridgway on Inside Story: Elfield Park:

    "Wow reading your inside story article on Elfield Park really brought back some happy memories for me. I was 16 when we had our last meeting at Milton Keynes and am still missing my speedway! I travel to Oxford to see the Silver Machine about 3 times a season and long for the day that speedway returns to MK. There seems to be very little speedway information on the net so I'm really glad I've found your site - keep up the good work!"


  • If you haven't checked out xtremespeedwayaction.com then it's about time you did. This American site allows you to download videos of the latest action from the Costa Mesa and Grand circuits. The videos are of good quality and come down surprisingly fast. Well worth exploring.

  • speedwayprogrammes.com may be of interest to collectors of matchday programmes. It features a list of programmes available for swap or sale.

  • The excellent Speedway Researcher magazine now has a website. It includes PDF downloads of some of their earliest editions and subscription information.

  • 11 Year old Shane Hazeldean is making steady progress down at Eastbourne. Find out more at his new website.
  •  


     

    Updated on 11th September 2005


    Robert J. Rogers wonders if participation is the key to attracting the younger generation to speedway. He suggests a low-cost, low-tech starting point.



    David Hensby recalls a simpler time when he would 'play' at speedway in his back garden. The fashion of choice was an old crash helmet and a pair of dad's overalls.



    We throught we'd do a catch up with some of the people who've asked for assistance on our 'Can You Help?' page to see what the success rate has been like. Find out what progress has been made in 'Did We Help?'.



  • Grant Crawford hopes to measure clutch reaction times, is there anything available to help him do this?

  • Tracy Holmes is on the lookout for pictures of the 1968 World Pairs final.



  • Allan Hansford on Berrington Lough:

    "I was a cycle speedway rider, rode for England twice, I went to Berwick in 1989, when Poole Pirates had a treble in Scotland; Glasgow was our 1st, then Berwick, then Edinburgh. Looking at the ground now is so disheartening.

  • Alan Hodkinson on Here to Help!:

    "A very interesting article by Dave Green. I always had the idea it would be good to have a 'Newcomers to Speedway' area where people coming for the first time could all be together in one place and a member of staff with enough knowledge could explain the match as it develops. A programme is a must if you are watching a match, I can't enjoy it half as much without one, you have to know how the match is progressing and this must be explained to newcomers otherwise they are just watching bikes whizzing round and round as Dave says."

  • Ian St James:

    "Only just found this place after a google search inspired by the discovery of a handful of programmes from Plough Lane dating from the early 70's.

    It evoked a wave of nostalgia for a sport that was going through one of it's last peaks, and reminded me that I was privilaged to have witnessed some of Speedway's all time greats in action.

    Fantastic website, I'll be back........maybe I'll even get round to writing a distinctly misty eyed article about those childhood race nights at Wimbledon!"


  • Glasgow and Boston youngster James Cockle has a new website. It can be found at jamescockleracing.co.uk.

  • Alan Coyle has launched a new fantasy speedway game, he hopes to get some feedback over the last few weeks of the season in preparation for next year. Full details at fantasy-speedway.com.
  •  


     

    Updated on 2nd September 2005


    We've all been there, you tell someone that you like speedway and a puzzled face is the reaction. Chris Seaward takes a look at this phenomenon in an article entitled 'Speedway?'.



    Colin Weatherhead recently took his son to see the remains of the old Berrington Lough stadium in Berwick. Luckily he had the camera with him so we can also see how the place now looks.



  • Maciej Wegrzyn is looking for pictures of the following riders: Bill Gilbert, Wally Green, Bob Oakley, Henry Long, Dick Bradley, Eric Williams, Phil Clarke and Henry Andersen. Can you help him out?

  • John Hyam is looking for facts on former Nottingham and Leicester riders George Dykes and Fred Strecker.




  • Maciej Wegrzyn has supplied some interesting information on Scottie Michie. This follows Diane Michie's request on our 'Can You Help?' page. It seems he made quite a number of appearances in Eastern Europe in the sport's early days.



  • You can boost the speedway museum fund by purchasing one of these specially produced badges. They are available in red, blue, white and yellow and retail at £4. Full details on the VSRA Website.

  • Tom Marriott on The In-Memoriam Website:

    "This web site is a sobering reminder as to what riders put on the line everytime they go out there to put on a show. No rider ever thinks that it will ever happen to him but in reality it does from time to time regardless of the improvements to track safety and individual riders gear.

    While looking through the web site it was apparent that good riders and novices alike were struck down in their prime of life. Fate stepped in on that particular day. When you add to this all the riders who were not killed but had their lives severely altered due to severe injuries etc. it puts things into perspective about how this sport we love can be so cruel in a blink of the eye.

    So the next time there is a collection for an injured rider please give generously as this is indeed a hard way to earn a living however much fun it is to do."

  • Malcolm Edwards on Here to Help:

    "Hmmm nice idea but only marginal, I fear, in maintaining spectators. I used to love going to a meeting - still do love watching on SKY - but the cost has now got too much. Better spedway takes a leaf from the Marks & Spencer survival handbook and reduces entrance charges. Me and alot of my friends might just then consider a return. Soccer may be able to get away with continually hiking up prices but speedway will never attract the numbers or the corporate spend that top flight soccer enjoys today."

  • Tony Wilson on Big City Speedway:

    "Great article on the possible return of the Brummies to Perry Barr. What we need is every speedway fan in the country behind Tony Mole right now and also we need as many letters and e-mails to Birmingham City Council to show how much the Brummies mean not just locally but countrywide."

  • Scott White on Here to Help:

    "Not a bad idea. Have to say that the first stage of your article is not done by most clubs here in the south.

    A good way would to give a heavy student discount particularly in University towns like Reading, promoting it to students as a night out would definitely work short and long term, but I have never seen it done, there are so many people in Reading who 'used to go' but don't even realise it still goes on every Monday.

    It's madness not to promote the sport which will ultimately end up with one league, the elite and who wants to watch first out the gate wins? Lots of people but I'm not one of them.

    I often wonder, speedway is so cliquey, maybe certain people want to keep it that way?"

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