"Did the programme along with Mike Hunter. Took over as team manager to St Austell along with friend Stevie Gilroy. Borrowed two riders to make up the team and lost the match 38-40. Gutted!!!! The video of the Les Collins meeting should be still available from Mike Hunter. "
"As Bill Elliot rightly says, Mike went out of his way to make me feel welcome in 2009 especially since I had been flying for a day and a half. I a m glad to say I was able to make a return trip in 2010 when Mike and I spent a most enjoyable day at Rosebank Speedway in Auckland. He is rightly held in high esteem for his contribution to the sport and simply due to how well known he is, NO ONE questioned who I was as I was allowed to wander around the pits talking to the riders and getting photos taken. Mike Fullerton was and still is a sporting hero of mine and I am delighted to be able also to call him a friend. Till the next time Mike !!"
"I rode at Cradley winter training school 1977 (amongst many other tracks) Started at Ellesmere Port, loved Belle Vue and Crewe, couldn't get to grips with Wolverhampton ! But everything clicked at Cradley, it just suited me, I loved everything about the whole place, even the fence was soft (not like the boards) I had some great races with Sean Willmott (Hagon sponsered) and I was on my old two valve Jawa. Great memories of a great and sadly missed track. Where does life go ???? Still loving Speedway though and I got married this year and my wife had never heard of Speedway ? She's now one of it's biggest fans and we travel all over, wish I could have taken her to Cradley Heath ! "
"Many a good night in The Aces after the speedway in 1980,81,82. Riders and mechanics used to head to the pub after the races for a few drinks and a bit of banter, remember the jap bike well - jimmy mc, Bangor bobby beaton, Larry Kosta, Bernie Collier, the Carr brothers, Rob Maxfield to name just a few! Good nights had by all."
"Used to go here for F1 stock cars in the 70s and 80s. Played in the Commer van under the back straight stand when not watching the racing! Electric atmosphere, quality racing. Too many great meetings to mention. The Vue and Crewe were the best stock car tracks and now, sadly, both gone. "
"What a great piece on Jack Young! I saw him in Edinburgh at most meetings at Old Meadowbank when he rode for the Edinburgh Monarchs. At the time his 'armchair' riding style was revolutionary and looked so very relaxed in comparison to others. It certainly influenced many of the established riders. A bunch of us went as young kids every Friday - bought two programmes - one to fill in with race results and one for ourselves when we re-ran it as cycle speedway! We were so pleased when he became World Champion, but so sad when he went to West Ham. Thanks for the great memory of an unforgettable star!"
Graham has been a Peterborough Panthers fan since the club's first meeting. A couple of meetings from those early years stand out as his favourites.
Birthday wishes this week to Bobby Schwartz - who has (unbelievably) just turned 56 years old! Of course Bobby is stiill riding in the States and Ivan Blacka tells us that 'Sudden Sam' will also be having a spin in the US shortly.
Andy Sheppard is looking for scans of programme covers - Can You Help?
"The result of Poppy's first meating was Wembley Lions 39 Belle Vue Aces 39 , the date was July 18th 1970 . Ivan Mauger was mising from Belle Vue and Richard May rode for Wembley . It was a truly fantastic meating. She must of seen Ove Fundin, maybe at the World Team Cup on September 19th 1970."
"I was sorry to hear of the passing of John Berry. My family moved to Ipswich from London in 1975 when I was 15. I was a long-time Hackney fan, but continued to attend Witches meetings until the late 1970's, when I drifted away from the sport. John (much like Hackney promoter Len Silver) could certainly polarize opinion upon occasion, but, also like Len, he was clearly passionate about speedway. One Thursday evening in 1976, a friend and I had just set out on the two mile walk to Foxhall Stadium, when a a big car (possibly a Merc?) drew up alongside us. The window slid down to reveal John Berry behind the wheel. He asked us if we were on our way to the speedway and if we'd like a lift? I'd never been in a car like it, my family had a Hillman Imp at the time! As he drove, John asked us for our honest opinions on the track, the team and speedway in general and he gave his full attention to our replies. I told him I missed the exciting racing at Hackney, with it's banked bends which were so great for overtaking and he went into some detail about the problems inherent in preparing a racing surface shared with stock cars, which of course I'd never really appreciated until then. The fact that I still remember that short car journey and conversation 36 years later probably tells you as much about the man and his love of speedway as any other tribute I could offer. The BSPA certainly missed a golden opportunity in 1987. RIP John and thank you for the lift."
"Ivor Brown was the most exciting speedway rider I have had the pleasure of watching & I am now 70 yrs old. He regularly won races from the back & I was privilaged to see many classic races wth the top stars of the day who inevatably lost at the Dudley Wood home of Cradley Heathens or any other speedway track for that matter. Until his unfortunate crash with Mr. Fundin, Browny was 'the bees knees'. He was always immaculately turned out in both kit & bike which always shone like a mirror. The loss of his talent when it came took a huge slice from the Cradley faithful which took years to replace until the arrival of messrs.Gundersen, Penhall, Persson and Hancock which gives a good idea of how good he was. This piece has taken too long before stating his value from the fan's point of view. Over to you now Mr.Pearson as you strive to make Cradley the speedway team it once was, under its new name of Dudley, I wish you all the luck in the World. I now live in Streatham in Sth.London & enjoy watching John Cook's Lakeside Hammers, but no team can ever replace 'The Cradley Heathens'7"
"I woke up this morning and Gary Peterson's name was in my head! I didn't know why, but I had to 'Google' him. It was really nice to read all about him, but I was shocked indeed to learn he died so young. I used to go to the Nelson stadium with my parents as a child. They were really keen, particularly my Mum, and they spoke to Gary on numerous occasions at the meetings. They introduced me to him when I was about 14 in1968 and he seemed a lovely bloke. It was good to read all the familiar names that Mum and Dad used to rave about. I didn't particularly share their enthusiasm but I appreciated it and listened with interest to their comments. Sadly they both died a number of years ago......I just wonder why Gary's name was so vivid in my memory as I awoke this morning?"
"First time I have visited this site, it has brought back some very fond memories. I used to help Paul O'Neill out in the pits and Gary Peterson used to tune my good friend John Mulligan's JAP for him. I shall certainly be looking in again."
"Always nice to see articles on Canadian riders. But I need to clarify some dates and facts. As far as I have been able to ascertain
George had never ridden speedway prior to going to meet up with Eric Chitty in 1937. George had found fame in winning a T. T. style race where he beat such notable American
riders such as Floyde Emde and Babe Tancredie. Based on this and with help from the Bellville public George went over to the Isle of Man in 1937. He found it a little daunting
on seeing the circuit but once he had done a little practice he was hoping for a good result. Sadly it wasn't to be.
Below is my information on George's Isle of Man trip. As with all Time Trials racers the Holy Grail is to race in the TT Races held in the Isle of Man. So George was off to the
Isle of Man for the famous Time Trial races. He left with high hopes and lots of moral and financial support from home. About $350 was raised including $50 alone from the
Quinte Motorcycle club. This was to offset the cost of expenses to get George and his two motorcycle across the Atlantic. Considering that the freight alone for the two motorcycles
would cost the better part of $50 alone. George told the crowd that went to see him off that "It is swell of the good citizens to help me make this trip and I am going
to try hard not to disappoint them"
So on May the 6th 1937 George left Belleville to go to Montreal to board the Duchess of Bedford bound for Liverpool England. Four weeks later he would be riding in the Time
Trials on the Isle of Man. In 1937 it had become known to Norton Motors that he had success on their machines and should he enter the race they would supply him with a new
machine gratis and that the bike would be guaranteed to travel at 120 mph. Also he would be supplied with a mechanic who was experienced at the Isle of Man who would
act as his pit crew. In Georges own words he describes his reaction to seeing the Isle of Man up close and personal. ( in a letter to his friend Ken Colling).
" The morning after we landed the roads were not closed for practice, so Horace Boswell, ( a friend of his manager Bill Spence), took me on the back of the Triumph and showed
me which way the course went. My first impression on seeing the course was a feeling of doubt as to whether or not I would make a fool of myself in the races as it looked
almost impossible to average even 60 mph let alone a speed like some stars of over 88 mph! After this lap, I started to ride around slowly to try and memorize the corners
etc. After a couple of laps I decided to see how quickly I could get around not exceeding 40 mph at any time. I found I took over 1 1/2 hours so I tried it at 50 mph and it was a
little quicker. I did 2 or 3 laps each day before practice finally started. I took a little over 3/4 of an hour for the first lap, and each lap after that I was able to cut a
little time off until I got down to 30 minutes for a lap on the second to last day of practicing. By this time I was broke, as spare parts etc. had taken a lot more than
I had counted on. I had a grant of 30 pounds coming from the A.C.U. if I started in 2 races. Since I had qualified in all 3 races I decided not to take any chances
on the last day of practice. Horace and I had figured as near as we could the speed required to get a replica, as after seeing the practice speeds, we knew a replica was
the best we could hope for. Finally the race started, and when it came for my turn I was wondering if the motor would start and if I would get away as good as the others.
I need not have worried because the motor fired at the first time it turned over and away we went. Nothing much happened on lap 1 or 2 except I passed 2 or 3 riders
and 2 riders passed me so fast I thought I had stopped. I had made arrangements to refuel on lap 3 as we figured I could make a faster fill up when I wasn't as tired
as I would be on lap 4 or 5. The refilling went off o.k. and I was feeling pretty good as I was well inside replica time, and didn't expect to have anymore stops until
the end of the race. Another lap went by and the motor still ran beautifully. Three quarters of lap 5 was completed when suddenly the motor stopped motoring and I had to
retire at Hilberry. Later we found the trouble was due to a defective ball bearing which had broken and jammed in the works. I didn't feel too bad about this as I still had two more chances."
George continues with comments on the 1937 lightweight TT race.
"The lightweight race on Wednesday started in lovely weather but I didn't get far as a cam follower broke and I had to retire at the same place as Monday. Still, I didn't feel
too bad as it was still possible to do something in the senior race on Friday."
With only one race left George was down to his last chance of getting a replica trophy.
" Friday was clear and bright like Monday and Wednesday had been. I started number 8 and started to feel pretty good because before half a lap had gone I had passed 2 riders -
number 7 (C Tattersall - Vincent) and number 2 (S V Vartax - Rudge) and hadn't been passed myself. This feeling didn't last long however as I suddenly felt my right leg getting very cold. I looked down and found fuel was spraying out the side of the tank all over my leg. I shut off the fuel from the other side of the tank and started trying to decide what to do. I figured I had enough fuel to do another lap, then I would refuel each lap. This would have been o.k. except I ran out of fuel half way around the course and had to retire as the only place you were allowed to refuel is at the pits, and they were 15 miles away. The one lap I did was a standing lap and took just under 30 minutes."
Note: If George had been lapping at just under 30 minutes per lap on the Norton he would have had an average speed of over 75 -80 mph. Winner Freddie Frith averaged 88.21 mph. The program for the 1937 Senior TT race shows George being in 6th place out of 22 competitors after lap one. He retired on lap two ending what must have been a very frustrating time on the Isle of Man. George had received a letter fro Eric Chitty inviting him to visit with him at West Ham. ( Most people know that Chitty was given a mandate to find future speedway prospects by John H Hoskins. Chitty did just that in the pre war years supplying nearly half the Newcastle team!) George visited Eric after the ill fated Isle of Man trip. Needless to say he was not an overnight sensation in 1937 after trying speedway for the first time. In his own words he said he found it harder than it looked. But that part of Georges life is another story! "
"Does anyone know whatever happened to former Crayford, Wolverhampton & Crewe rider Geoff Ambrose? I remember Geoff riding for Crayford and in the Silver Helmet at Middlesbrough's Cleveland Park and he was always good for double figures. I know all about his history as a speedway rider and that he retired midway through the 1973 season at Crewe's Earle Street, where he had his own motorbike business outside of the stadium. Rumour has it that he emigrated to Australia but nobody has ever interviewed him in Backtrack or written about him since and it puzzles me because for a couple of years at least he was one of the top riders in the old Second Division in 1969/70."
"Please can you give any details of Bob Duckworth (former Belle Vue Aces), lost touch of how he went on when he went back to New Zealand."
Get in touch if you know what happened to Geoff or Bob.