Another collection of photographs and memories from Peter Colvin. This time including the first ever meeting at Berrington Lough and a trip to Paisley. Sadly, this may be the last instalment in this series as Peter is running out of suitable pictures to use as source material.
Jim talks us through his speedway experiences and ideas. His first meeting was 45 years ago, so he's well placed to comment.
The Eighth California-in-England Reunion. This will take place on 6th October 2013 at the Country Park, Nine Mile Ride, near Wokingham, Berks, where the speedway took place. The organisers are still looking for any cine film that was taken there, especially of the racing. Everyone is welcome - details from Stuart Towner on: 020 8397 6599 or email@example.com
Jeff Scott will be seliing books from the Methanol Press back catalogue at Nick Barber's Speedway Fayre at Cardiff on Saturday. The Fayre is taking place in the bar of the Rugby club next door to stadium and runs from 10 until 4.
"How can you use the name Dudley when referring to Cradley Heath speedway? Dudley council have decimated sport in the region for decades and should not be associated with any sporting event! Except perhaps the demolition Derby. Remember it was they who gave permission to build houses on the Dudley Wood site "
Neil Burrows brings us details of this year's reunion of former Station Road riders, fans and officials.
The orgainsers are trying to track down former rider John Frankland. Contact Pete Wrathall on firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.
Approaching the 37th anniversary of the death of Wimbledon's Tommy Jansson on May 20, you may like to know that there is a new page on the Speedway Fiction website to mark the life of this prodigiously talented rider and very popular personality. The tribute includes pictures, extracts from the articles written in the speedway press after the event, as well as audio extracts of comments from Ray Wilson and Cyril Maidment. There is also a recording of the Blackbird Road announcer on May 25 asking the crowd for the Lions v Wimbledon match to stand for a minute's silence in Tommy's memory.
"Reider Eide was one of my all time hero's, tempremental but a fantastic rider but a Promoters nightmare by all accounts. I have many photos of him10x8, I think Ronnie Allen (the ref) used to take them."
"Tony, yes I can remember you at your van, at Crayford you run a very good business always had what I needed and very helpful.
Thank you for your kind comments.
You may tell by my comments that I feel very sore how I was treated and other English juniors by managers.
And now I still see it today, most english teams are made up of our friends from abroad they always have had a better mindset towards the sport and that goes to most sports like Football, Cricket Rugby etc.
I could see this coming when I was riding, even grass track has suffered.
Our problem is we start as a hobby and not a business, then riders suffer the down falls of it then won't hand down their experiences, shame.
I remember buying a Norwegian bike cover from you cos it was going cheep! the following week I rode at Wimbledon and the Norwegain rider there for wimbledon watched me ride, ready to help I bet?
Hope things have gone well for you in Aus and once again thank you for support back in those days."
"Just found a photo of my Uncle Tom Sweetman, (my father's brother) who I remember as a little girl in UK when he was a speedway rider. He moved to New Zealand with his family, and I have never had the opportunity to see him again, as I moved to Canada with my family. We get the opportunity to talk by Skype now, as he is in his 80s. Nice to see a photo of him. I am now 70, so many years have gone by, but I still remember watching him ride, although I would have only been about 13 years old at the time. I noticed that he is not on your list of Riders to Remember, so hope you will put him on it."
"Regarding KMS's article on West Ham at Custom House, I believe the bit about demolition not taking place until October 1972 to be wrong. The last ever banger racing meeting was held on Saturday 20th May, the last speedway meeting Tuesday 23rd May, and the last ever greyhound meeting the following Friday May 26th. I well remember only a week or so after that dog meeting going with a couple of friends to visit the stadium (were we actually in mourning?) and an elderly security chap actually let us go in and look round. We were shown the old dressing room and baths, and the speedway office which was packed with old programmes that he let us have (we actually came back to the track with a push chair and cleared out over 1,000 programmes from the 60's and 70's). We also took photographs of the demolition taking place (sadly they are around somewhere but completely impossible to find!). The reason I say that demolition begain with a week or so was because it was a very hot day we went, I then went to Africa for the summer in mid-June and started work in October 1972, so no way could I have witnessed what I saw so late in that year."
"This photo is most definitely Joe. I knew him and his family when I was child. Joe opened a couple of book maker shops in East London after racing but I have no more knowledge after that. He was a very good family friend and generous person."
"I was discussing this with friends at Brough Park last night. A lot of riders who were the next big thing at 17 years old don't seem to move on to the very top level and I wonder if burnout or boredom has something to do with this? If you are that good at 17 you have probably been riding speedway since you were 12 or so. I think the current crop of ex moto-X'ers may have a different outlook and certainly at Newcastle you can see the drive and determination in Richie Worrall and Lewis Kerr shining through. For some reason all of these lads can also gate very well, and as much as we all love our 'from the back' racers, being able to gate well is huge advantage in the sport. I'm not too hung up on the age thing as I think the extra maturity of getting into the sport at 20 means they take it a little more seriously and hey, they can wait until they are 40 to be world champion if recent years are anything to go by."
"This championship is open to all riders under 21 and Robert proved to be the best on the night. The fact he was unable to sign for a Premier or Nationsl League team prior to retuening to this country was due to him having the foresight to earn money to ensure he can continue to race in the UK . Robert has loads of talent and prior to his injury in 2012 was one of the top riders in the National League.
I am not surprised that the younger riders cannot emulate the feats of the former champions you list - British teams do not take enough chances on our youngsters (Robert included) being too fast to drop them from the team if they under perform in the first few weeks racing at Premier or Elite league level and far too eager to hand team places to young foreign riders. I have no beef with foreigners but their countries have regular training sessions at their clubs each week - local authorities do not extend the same allowance to British clubs. British under 21's have many disadvantages and none of the advantages that foreign riders have in their home countries "
Roger Scarborough shares some items of interest from Belle Vue and Fleetwood. Roger's father-in-law was Ron Lea who raced in the 50s.
Evergreen Bobby Schwartz is back on track for the 2013 season - here's a short video in which he explains his preparations for the new year. The video is on Facebook, but you don't need to be a member to view it. Thanks to Ivan Blacka for sending on the link.
"Re: Ernie Roccio, Birmingham and Wimbledon: It was in 1950 that Birmingham and Wimbledon were in the chase to sign Ernie Roccio. He arrived in the UK on the same boat as another American, Bud Reda, who rode second-halfs at Wimbledon and other UK tracks, and also briefly in Ireland at Shelbourne Park, and in Holland. There was a 1950 dispute between Wimbledon and Birmingham in regard to Roccio. It culminated in him being refused permission to race in the UK and returning to the USA. Wimbledon eventually won the chase for his signature after they were granted the Ministry of Labour permit to use him.
When the Shelbourne Park-based USA team raced in the UK in 1951, Roccio was already an established member of the Wimbledon team and I doubt very much if Birmingham would then be able to have signed him. I was delighted to see Nick Nicholaides' article on the 1951 USA team which raced in the UK. Some years ago he co-operated with me when I wrote an article on Ernie Roccio for 'Classic Speedway'. Unfortunately, I then lost contact with Nick. I was very pleased to see that he is still around."
"I was only 15 at the time, but regularly attended speedway at West Ham's old track from July 1967 until the last-ever meeting there, on Tuesday May 23rd 1972. The last-ever meeting at Custom House was a British League Division 2 match between the West Ham Bombers (formerly the ROMFORD Bombers) and Hull Vikings. Hull won the meeting 38-40. Demolition at the stadium didn't take place until October 1972 - so it could have been possible for speedway to have continued there and for the Bombers to have completed the season!"
"Bluey Scott was the Middlesbrough representative and rode 0 1 1 0 0 for 2 points but not last as that accolade went to Jon Erskine of Newport with 0 from five. His 1 in Heat 8 was third behind Ken Sharples of Newcastle and George Hunter of Edinburgh and in Heat 9 behind Peter Vandenburg of Newport and Bill Andrew of Newcastle. Ivan Mauger of Newcastle won with 13 after a run off with Charlie Monk of Glasgow also with 13. Roy Trigg of Hackney was third after a run off with Peter Kelly of Newcastle. This meeting was on September 26th 1964. "
"Yup, still have wonderful memories of "The Villain" from his Edinburgh Powderhall days. Even Monarchs fans booed when "Jack The Villain Millen" was announced only because he expected it and milked it! Great character and speedway rider. RIP Jack and Powderhall."