Matt Jackson's article last week has generated quite a lot of feedback. We've picked out two pieces to feature
and more comment can be found in the feedback column below. First up is Dudley Jones who thinks we should
heed the warning that Alun Rossiter issued on television recently.
"Interesting comments. The suggestion of
a truncated Elite League competition with clubs also competing in the Premier League has echoes of the present-day situation in Welsh Rugby. The so-called
regional clubs like the Ospreys and the Newport-based Gwent Dragons attract the crowds. The original town-based club sides like Newport, Neath etc still
exist but by all accounts attract even smaller crowds that most speedway clubs. "
"Another well written article by Matt
Jackson on the future of Speedway. Do you really think the promoters care? Let's get down to the nitty gritty. As long as they are making a buck or pound
they could care less about anything else. It's a real shame about just thinking of the money and not the future. He is right Peter Collins and all the
other World Class riders would arrive in a vehicle with the bike on the back. There a bunch of pre-madonna's today. You know the old saying 'SHOW ME
"I grew up near Shelbourne stadium and watched Speedway
standing on the corner. No Stand, we stood on a hill. Once I had to run for shelter in the horse shed I slipped and got covered in mud. Mother was none
too pleased to see the state I was in. Still happy days.I was then 10 or 12 years old."
"My friends and I started watching
speedway at Belle Vue in 1960 and watched them regularlly until Peter's death in 1963. I well remember a visit to the pits after the match one Saturday
night which became a very special night to me because having chatted with Peter for some time and telling him of my involvement in cycle speedway,
he actually gave me his number 1 ace of spades breastplate which I wore on many of my tracking occassions. Thanks again Pete. "
"I'm sorry that I missed a line in the
Tom Black story. Tom won back to back South Island Titles. After his win in 1969, he won again in 1970 from Roger Wright and Merv Salt. Then in
1971, he was 3rd... Sorry Tom!!!"
"I went to the Shay quite a few times, mostly for the Dukes v
Aces matches. I saw some great racing there, and the banking certainly added to the thrill. I was in the crowd when Eric Boocock parked his bike across
the start line because he disagreed with the ref's decision ! Great days."
"I watched my first speedway at Barrow Bombers,
moved to Glasgow area in 75 and went to Paisley and saw half my old team there. I also helped out with the track staff either raking the track
between races and even getting to push start Ivan Mauger when he raced there."
"Boy, I bet this book that Micheal Lee
put out really gets down to the dirt. Should be a real good read not like all the other stars that keep everything quiet to make themselves look good.
I don't think there is another book like it on the market as far as controversy goes. "
"Any chance of a excerpt? I know other
books on Chris Morton, Kenny Carter, Simmo etc have appeared on this web site, it would be interesting to read about Mike, perhaps both positive and
negative views. I look forward to reading it hopefully in the near future."
This former Paisley Lion still enjoys the sport, but now from the safer side of the fence. Here he shares some memories from
his career and his thoughts on the sport.
Dublin based historian George P. Kearns has just published "Speedway History Revisted...The Early Years 1896-1928". Sounds like one that
will generate great debate amongst the speedway researchers out there! More details can be found
"What a SUPERB article by Jeff Scott.
I have been talking about this for years both on this Site and on the British Speedway Forum. Qualification for the SGP is an absolute disgrace. I will
say only this - once upon a time EVERY Rider from the LOWEST National League Team through the Premier League to the Top Elite League Team would have
started a Season looking forward to HIS chance to claim the ultimate prize in Speedway. I have mentioned many times Jack Young winning the Title as
a second Division Rider. He could not do this now - instead we have to watch the so called, HAND PICKED BEST Riders in the World Race for a Prize for
which a number did not even QUALIFY. Nothing to do with ability now - it's all about QUOTAS - if it wasn't - I doubt we would have a British Rider
anywhere near the Grand Prix. If we didn' t have any representation - how many people would go to Cardiff. Ergo the SELECTION process. "
"My first visit to Blackbird Road was as a youngster of
13 when The Hunters were the team. Fantastic racing with Harwood Pike, Lionel Benson, Jock Grierson, and many more, not forgetting Ron Wilson, the
father of Ray. A fantastic racing strip which was so fair that the home team had virtually no advantage. I went back regularly in the 1960 s when the
name had changed to the Lions. It was still a great circuit, and such a pity that CO sold it out to fund Brandon."
"Great site! Nice shot of
Old Meadowbank, a real track with a great promoter Ian Hoskins. Tremendous provincial league clashes between Monarchs and Newcastle Diamonds.
Phrases in programmes, such as get in early [Brough Park] before the Monarchs fans pinch your places! [500 plus of them!] Most surprising "find"
was discovering speedway at Cloverdale (British Columbia) in 1984, run by ex Cradley supporters. I noticed one 15 year old kid looked as if he knew what
he was doing, and was glad he made it over here a few years later. Anyone remember shawn venables? Pity speedway couldn't get a regular hold in B.C. "
"Thank you this has brought home many
happy memories for me. My dad took me to see the Tigers from the age of two and i was hooked! As a teenaager Colin was one of my favourites, never a
dull moment when he was riding. As you said it was not unknown for Colin and Steve to clinch the race at the last minute with us in the stands going
mad screaming. We didn't need fancy staduims we had Blantyre, we had faithful fans and we had riders who gave their all every week, not for money but
because the loved their sport! Great times!"
An insight into the new biography of the 1980 World Champion, undeniably one of the sport's most talented
(and complex) competitors of all time. The book - Back from the Brink - will be available at Cardiff on
Saturday and is also available to order online.
Jeff is a Poole fan but is now based in Northern Ireland. He's not happy with the current qualifying system for the Grand Prix series.
The Sunderland Speedway website has recently been revamped
but they're on the lookout for more photos from either home or away meetings. They'd also be interested in purchasing programmes or
other memorabilia. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.
Jeff Scott is back on the road promoting his new Shale Trek book. See the left hand side of this
page for his planned tour dates in July.
"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.."
"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."
"Oh how I agree with Matt Jackson especially with the 'doubling up'
rules and the double point tactical rule. Racers like Si Walker getting left out in the cold while other riders have two teams or the management bring
in foreigners. As for the B/W tactical rule it undermines the work of the team who have got themselves a decent lead and it could be wiped out with one
ride all because some riders of the opposing team are not doing so well. Let's get back to the days when two teams raced equally and happiness was 40-38."
Bob Ferry brings us details of an upcoming social event of particular interest to those in the
North-East of England.
John Chaplin is arranging a memorial event for Tom Farndon on Monday 30th August at 3pm. It will take place at
Tom's graveside in Foleshill cemetery, Coventry. Mike Whawell, official chaplain to the World Speedway Riders Association, will
conduct the service and a number of speedway personalities are likely to attend.
"Erik Gundersen was a real racer and a
true gentleman. I remember racing at Cradley for Wolves at No.6 and I out gated him and could hear him all around me trying to get by. I crossed the
line in front of him and after the race he came up to me and shook my hand and said what a fine ride. I have never had a rider of his calibre do that
ever. Just to see his smiling face is a moment in time I will never forget. He had a beautiful attitude. Not many men would be that gracious in defeat
and that showed his character."
"'Roy Williams' rode against Middlesbrough and
appeared at Cleveland Park on a regular basis between 1968 and 1970. I was only a child back then but didn't discover it wasn't his real name until a
few years later. I was fascinated by this as Berwick had fielded another rider known as 'Mark Hall' (in real life a bank clerk called Walter Elliott
whom changed his name just in case his employers found out he was a speedway rider!). One night the Boro Bears juniors were appearing in a match up
at Shielfield Park around 2004 and I suddenly realised that I was stood next to 'Roy Williams', who was visiting the UK for the first time since he
had left in 1970. I was suddenly transported back to those wonderful matches we had against Berwick Bandits in the league and the Teesside
Tweedside Trophy. I exchanged a few words with him and was grateful I did as he sadly died not long after returning to New Zealand.
I often wonder
what happened to many of those riders who rode in the harem scarem days of Second Division speedway 1969/1971. One of my favourite away riders
was Geoff Ambrose of Crayford who always rode Cleveland Park very well. Does anyone know whatever happened to Geoff? I sometimes wish
I could be transported in a speedway time machine back to the days of when we raced the likes of the Crewe Kings, Doncaster Dragons, Nelson Admirals,
Rochdale Hornets & the Sunderland Stars. Speedway racing back then seemed much more simpler and far more exciting. It would be 1977 before
I managed to make it to an away meeting watching Teesside in action at Stoke as it happens."
"Brilliant and a dream come true! Only
dissapointment for me was in the photo section. It was World Finals I wanted to see, not British League or test matches or other Finals mixed in.
The one thing I wanted to highlight was the 1973 Final, my favourite theme. Concerning the run-off; there was no mention as to why there was a run-off
in the first place! That both riders had dropped 2 points. After being unbeaten at half time, Jerzy Szczakiel goes down to Grigori Chlinovski and
then to Ole Olsen. Only that race is mentioned. Ivan Mauger, the defending Champion had won 4 heats but had been beaten in round 2 by Szczakiel
and Pawel Waloszek. Ivan says that he wasnt surprised by Jerzy winning his first couple of heats.
I wanted more from Ivan on how he made such a hash
of their race. It was heat 8 and you can see it on You-tube. Ivan bunnyhops out of the gate and is last into the first corner. It takes him over a
lap to pass Valeri Gordeev and then he gets on level terms with the two Poles. But he cant pass them! Jerzy beats him by 8 lengths and Waloszek 6!
A great snap of this is found in the book World Speedway Final a history from 1929 by Maurice Jones, on pages 88 & 89. The caption for this is wrong
as it says heat 14. Its not! Its heat 8 and you will see Ivan outside the two Poles on the Pits bend. Look closely and you will see Ole Olsen in
the background watching from the Pits. For this race to be ignored is a shame because it takes away from the fact that Jerzy won the World Final
by beating Ivan TWICE! How good was that? Brilliant and I'm so glad that Ivan acknowleged just how good is opponent really was. And not just on that day."