Dudley Jones reacts to news that the future of Newport is again in doubt and appeals for locals to support the Wasps.
Tony Hurren and Seve Haire shed some light on the above pictures we featured a fortnight ago:
Tony Said: "The chap holding on to the speedway bike is Johnny Owen, a long-time Hackney supporter; the guy with the beard and specs is the programme
Seve Said: "The chap with the thick glasses and half beard was none other than 'Hawkeye' who wrote the Hawkeye column in the programme and
was one of Len Silver major backroom staff. The last time I saw him was a couple of years ago when he took 'Snowy' Beattie, who had been the Hackney Supporters Club
President from when Harringey closed down, over to Rye House for a day out from his care home. The only other one from that picture I knew was the chap on the left with
the thick mop of black hair, his name being Johnny Owen, a Hackney supporter. He later moved to Coventry and married Les Owen's, the Ex-Coventry speedway rider's daughter.
The last time having seen him at the Hackney Re-union over at Paradise Wildlife Park."
These fabulous figures are available from Yesteryear Miniatures along with
many others based on the speedway teams of 1971. Worth a look, even if you're not interested in owning one
"The motorcycle track at the Motorplex is the inner track seen in the
photo's. Its approximately 460m in length (the outer car track is 520m), keeping in tradition with tracks in Western Australia generally being larger than other Aussie
tracks (the old Claremont Speedway was 550m in length)."
"I HATE YOU, until I looked at your photos I didnt realise how much I
missed the Moto Parc, every Tuesday about 4 the seagulls would start to arrive in anticipation of a free feed as soon as it got light on Wednesday morning. How can a
seagull get a bin bag out of a 45 gallon drum, well they used to every week until we put a board over the top. With the floodlit cliffs and the skytracker wheel of light
around the cliff face as well it certainly created an atmosphere, we had to tell air traffic control about the skytracker because straight up it would go 14 miles!!! Had some
wonderful times with some good people, shame it all fell apart in the end. Work is ongoing for a new location, lets hope they are successful."
"The Cradley photo is not taken from turn 3 as Mike Willis states, it is
actually taken from the middle of turn 1 and 2. The pits are situated in the centre of the picture on turns 3 and 4, and the green building to the right is the changing
rooms. To the left of the ambulance you can see the green fence behind which is the infamous Scotsmans Hill from which vantage point you could stand outside the stadium
and watch the racing for free!"
"I went to the last meeting at Premier League level
against Arena Essex. The crowd was very poor, no more than 300. The stadium was situated in the middle of nowhere with limited public transport links."
"Jeg så Leif Basse Hveem blive nordisk mester i langbaneløb,
på Fyns Væddeløbebane d. 25/9 1949. Jeg var selv da 8 år gammel, og den oplevelse gjorde et enort indtryk på mig, og var med til at jeg har bevaret min interesse for
speedway og 1000 m. hele mit liv. Dengang boede jeg i Nyborg, og jeg husker at allerede da, var Basse Hveem en levende legende. Mange som aldrig havde set et motorcykelløb,
kendte hans navn. "
We're delighted to bring you a chance to win a copy of Philip Dalling's new book. Simply identify the man pictured with Tommy Price and Peter Craven and you'll be
entered into a random draw to select a winner.
Philip's new book covers the sport's first 40 years and has more than 200 pictures.
Last week we featured a comment from George Wood who used to be mascot at Long Eaton. George once had a picture of him with Ove Fundin but had lost it at some
point over the years. That rang a bell with Philip Dalling who remembered receiving such a picture from Mike Kemp. Thanks to Philip and Mike we were able to forward the
above pictures to George.
A campaign has been launched to establish a permanent Bradford Speedway Museum. More details can be found on their Facebook page.
"Nice article on Jack. He was living in a nursing home in
the picturesque village of Gainford near Darlington in County Durham. One of our sponsors at Redcar used to deliver cars to Jack's home there. He was a right character
and was reluctant to talk about his pre-war dirt track career. The sponsor has been to Redcar on several occasions and only discovered shortly before Jack died he had been
an international speedway rider. Jack had a taste for top of the range cars being driven at high speed even in advancing years. "
"Interesting pics of Marine Gardens. The site is now a bus
garage (built in 1958). The spectator banking on the right of the pic is still there, now grassed over and the location of the track is now the car park. The houses in
the background are still there (King's Road). I worked as a driver there from 1975 to 1997. "
"Nice photos, the second one looks like the fans are on the beach at
Southend-on-Sea in Summer!! On a cold early season evening , the wind down the back straight is more like Winter in Sibera! This weeks (5-11th September) Time-out mag has an
item on Lakeside in it"
"A really fantastic article by Tracy Holmes and a brilliant summary of
_the_ contest that everyone came to see during a 10 year period. I don't think there's been quite the same anticipation of such a contest since the Mauger vs. Olsen clashes.
It also covered quite welll 'the changing of the guard' to a new group of younger top riders, Nielsen, Gundersen, Penhall etc. Mind you, my dad never forgave Ivan when during
a mid-70's BLRC at Hyde Road, he pulled out of a race with Ole on the first bend as a protest about something he wasn't happy about - anyone else remember that?
Look forward to further musings from Tracy."
"Sadly the junior track is no more at Riverview Speedway. It was
replaced in 2006 with a burnout pad. The track hosted the 1988 and 2001 Australian Championships won by Phil Crump (dad of Jason) and Todd Wiltshire respectively. Riverview
opened in 1958 but sadly doesn't host bikes on a regular basis since the introduction of clay to the surface when the track was lengthened from 300 to 360m in 1999. Bikes do
still appear at the track but not at every meeting like they used to....pity really."
Something a little different this week, a selection of pictures taken by Jeff Scott at last Sunday's meeting at Sittingbourne. This
was the fifth round of this year's British Under 15 Championship. The pictures concentrate on the off-track activity rather than on the racing itself.
Adam started his life as a Cradley Heathen but now splits his affections between Coventry and Dudley. He's selected both Bees and Heathens in his all-time top team.
Ian Goold says:
"Recently I came across my 5 minutes of fame! At a Leytonstone fete in 1969, I was in the right place at the right time & ended up in the
local newspapers sat astride a speedway bike provided by Hackney. I think the gentleman holding onto the back of the bike & the one with the beard were Hackney staff -
anyone recognize them? I was the centre of attention at school the following week!"
You can click on the pictures above to get a better view. Anyone remember these chaps?
This year's Ellesmere Port Gunners reunion will be held on 12th November at 'The Greyhound' (next door to the old track). Tickets are £4 in advance
or £5 on the door. Special guest is American gladiator - Cobra. Further details from Keith Dwyer on 0151 356 4931 or firstname.lastname@example.org
"I first saw Ken when he was a Coventry 'Bee'. I realized immediately that
he was not just a high scorer, but a class act. Indeed, I cannot think of a more stylish rider. I supported West Ham from 1966 until I moved north in 1968, so saw much of Ken.
He really was a great scorer, team rider and captain of the re-born Hammers. He seemed to be a likeable chap too.
I saw him ride in a couple of World Championships, and was there hoping that he would win. I am sure that Ken was good enough, but perhaps his will to win was a little less
than some other competitors.
Nonetheless, he had a distinguished international career, and deserves a place amongst our all time greats."
"Olle Nygren, green scarf, white boots, probably one of
the best things to come out of Scandinavia since Carlsberg. Great captain, very happy to give advice to younger riders, great team rider. Flamboyant and very exciting
to watch. A real credit to speedway. Bring back the Dons!!"
"Tracy, I too have never forgiven Bruce for quitting
when he did. I was a Cradley Heath supporter and for nearly 20 years we had had with dreadful teams. In fact the Wolves fans called the Heathens the Spoons because
we always finished bottom of the league-but the fact we still supported then shows how loyal speedway supporters are!. Anyway, we were league champs in 1981 and looked
ike being champs again in 1982 and it was really great after years of watching rubbish (no offence to the riders!). We were top by a few points when Penhall quit
with a few meetings to go. How do you replace a rider with an 11+ average-answer-you can't. So we were overhauled and didn't win the league. Penhall quit to make
sure he won the World Championship as his Hollywood career depended on it. Anyway, we won again in 1983 without him-with a team often described as the greatest speedway
team ever (total average was 63.00). He went on to become a champion in several other sports and has been described as the man who was too big for speedway. He was
without doubt the best rider I ever saw at Dudley Wood and was a big loss to the sport in general. The best you can say I suppose is that he followed his dream and
you can't really argue with that. "
"The Cradley Heath photo is taken from the start of Turn 3 (or the pits
bend as we used to know it). The pits are just out of shot on the right of the picture. In the days I used to attend Dudley Wood regularly, the roof over the pits was
made out of the nosecones of scrapped Vulcan bombers, 4 or 5 of them placed side by side raised up on brick walls. Dudley Wood was that sort of place-happy memories!.
Nigel Pearson, part of the current Dudley Heathens management setup, was stadium announcer at the old stadium for several years and has said that when it closed
it ripped the heart out of the local community-and he's right."
"I have read your article on Long Eaton Speedway and I think it's very good. I did
see the above book at Beaumont Park at the weekend but didnt have enough money on me at the time to buy it. Long Eaton is where are started watching speedway as my dad,
George Wood used to work on the track staff during the Archers days. I was also a mascot at Long Eaton I used to go around the track with usually Ray Wilson. But I also
had the pleasure of going around the track with the Great Ove Fundin and had my photo taken with him, which I used to have a copy of but its been misslaid somewhere."
Brian Longman captured these new pictures from the Arena Essex raceway on a sunny afternoon back in April.
Richard Austin (our expert on all things Scouse) thinks the Liverpool Chads 1952 line-up was as follows: (l to r) Tommy Allott, Harry Welch, Peter Robinson, Val Morton,
Reg Duval, Eric Smith, (?), Bill Griffith, Len Read". Anyone able to fill in the blank?
We're hoping to find a photograph of Hugh Watkinson who was killed in track action at Perry Barr. Please drop us an email at
email@example.com if you can help.
The new Speedway Grand Prix 4 game is now available to pre-order from amazon
"Gillman has only been in operation since 1998 but is regarded as the
best Motorcycle speedway in Australia. 295m in length and able to accomodate 8,000 fans, it gets an AirFence from 2011/12 and since 2006 has also had a 111m junior
track on the infield. "
"Hey talk about the "big five" in late fifties and sixties Speedway, but
it should have been six. Ken was one of the few riders in the same league as messrs Briggs, Moore, Fundin, Craven, and Knutsson. Your correspondants are saying Ken was at
his best with West Ham, and he was still truely great, but his time at Leicester was his pomp. He was a second division star with the Hunters, but when the two leagues
merged, he was able to compete with the best. Ken had little luck in World Finals, but he was good enough to have become World Champ. I feel privilaged to have watched
one of the all-time greats at his best at Blackbird Road."
"Spent many days watching Ken in his twilight years, racing and teaching
the young ones at Quibell Park Scunthorpe. Can still picture him in Black leathers and Pudding basin helmet a sight I will never forget."
"It is fantastic for Steve to get some recognition for his wonderful
collection. Steve works tirelessly helping to run speedway in Florida and to help where he can back home, especially towards helping defunct tracks like Exeter, Cradley
and Ellesmere Port etc. Keep up the great work Steve, and hopefully we can get over to see The Garage Mahal 11 next year."
"What a superb array of speedway goodies this is! Well done To Steve on what
is a simply stunning speedway collection. Have never been to the States before, that might change after seeing this little lot!!"
"Sidewinders is a fantastic venue, and as already stated helped
produce many quality riders who have gone on to perform on the international stage. The likes of Leigh Adams and Jason Crump also rode there regularly. Wouldn't it be
great if every major speedway centre had a facility like sidewinders?"
There's little doubt that Ivan Mauger and Ole Olsen are two of the greatest riders the sport has ever seen, both winning multiple World Championships.
Tracy Holmes turns back the clock to look at their clashes in the World Championship over the years. In this lengthy article he covers
the period from 1964 right through to the early eighties.
The Milton Keynes Knights were back on track recently. Here from Richard Ward are reports from their long-awaited return.
The above picture shows the Liverpool Chads side of 1952, this was found in the belongings of a chap called Bernard Riley. We're not sure whether Bernard
played an active role in the speedway or was simply a supporter. Any information on Bernard or the picture itself would be welcomed.
Flushed with the success of his recent appeal for info, Jim Henry is now hoping our visitors can help him fill in further blanks in speedway's history. There
are a number of meetings between 1946 and 1959 of which very little is known. Jim has provided a PDF of
these meetings and would be delighted to hear from anyone who can assist his research. Jim can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Publishers Retro Speedway are looking for any decent quality colour or black and white photographs of the sadly demolished Belle Vue Hyde Road stadium during
the demolition process at the end of 1987. They are to be used in their next DVD project, due for release in October. Please contact Tony Mac at email@example.com
or phone him or Susie Muir on 01708 734 502.
Tony says: �Several years ago I saw some very graphic images of the stadium being knocked down - but can�t recall who took the pics. We would like to get in touch with
them, or anybody else who may have popped along to the famous, old venue to record its sad demise. We would also like to hear from anyone who has photos they took
of the Aces� original stadium in its prime.�
"Sidewinders has been in operation since 1976 and has seen the development
of such riders as the late Craig Hodgson, Shane Parker, Shane Bowes, Scott Norman, Ryan Sullivan, Rory Schlein and current Red Bull Rookies rider (and 3x Aussie U-16 champ)
"Agree entirely with Peter Hunter on the GP being taken outside of Europe (much as I
dislike the GP format anyway). Surely if Grin wins the title this year, 2012 would be the perfect time to stage a round in the US of A, as the Americans are the best in
the world at supporting their own, and with a defending World Champion to support, what better time-and with guys like Jason Crump and Chris Holder doing the Aussies
proud, surely there's a strong case for an Aussie round, or are vested interests still more important than actually promoting the sport? "
"Just a little story thay might amuse you.
Some years ago I was at Oxford watching Oxford versus Belle Vue. Someone broke the tapes
and the referee decided that Alan was to blame and put his exclusion light on. Alan obviosly
did not agree, because he walked all the way from the pits to the starting gate where they had
just repaired the tapes- broke all fhree tapes with his hands, turned towards the referees box
and gave a two fingered salute with both hands. I dont know if the referee took any action
but it was a wonderful moment.Good luck Alan, and thanks for the memories."
"I think it's a but unfair to say that Terry never pulled
up any trees at Wolverhampton. He gave a lot of pleasure to people like myself with his full-throttle, round the outside style.You were a real pleasure to watch, mate.
All the very best to you. "
"John Chaplin always writes such interesing and informative pieces, I've enjoyed
his articles and Vintage Speedway Magazine for many years. Although I first saw speedway racing sat on my Mum's lap in the grandstand at Pennycross Stadium, Plymouth
in the 50's, it was 1961 when as a 13 year old my imagination was captured for life when the Provincial League re-opend Pennycross with the arrival of The Plymouth Bulldogs,
racing in the previous season's Bristol race jackets, or breastplates as we called them then. Jack Scott, Maury Mattingly, Cliff Cox, Chris Julians, Ron Bagley,
Chris Blewett and Ray Wicket were my first speedway heroes, although Pete Lansdale and Len Read were household names in our household. I find stories involving deep
cinders racing surfaces, black leathers and silencer-less bikes intriuging. I remember my Dad, Alan, telling me stories of the days before my time, "they used to
spray thinned oil onto the tracks in those days, not water" and descriptions of Wombwell, Tamworth and Leicester Super and other tracks he'd visited with the
Devils as mechanic and occasional team manager. He never talked much about it, but I believe he tried his luck at Exeter before WW2 as Francis Drake, his parents
would have grounded him had they known about it. I have some programmes with the name in some junior races. Thanks John Chaplin for stirring the old memory banks, long may
you entertain with your inspired writing."
"I have recently come across your piece on the late
Peter Moore, although I suspect it was written a little while ago now.
I was a great fan of his, having seen my first speedway meeting in 1960, at the age of 13 when he was the star at Ipswich.
Looking back, 1960 was probably his best year. He finished 4th in the World Final and would have secured third place had Ove Fundin
not beaten him by the narrowest of margins in his last race.
Interestingly, Ove Fundin has named Peter as the rider he feared most in his racing career. He was a very fast gater and once in front was very difficult to pass.
I felt at the time and have done so since that he was the most underrated of all the Australian speedway riders of his age. He is often mentioned in magazines like Classic
Speedway but I have never seen a definitive account of his Speedway career. I have recently been in touch with Peter White in Australia who says that little has been
published there about him. I thought this might be the case and sent Brian Darby a photograph of Peter which he kindly put on his excellent Vintage Speedway website.
Now that I am retired, I have a little more time to research subjects like this. I was particularly interested in making contact with Peter Moore's nephew who responded to
If Leigh Moore contacts us then we'll put him in touch with Brian