2014 marks the 30th Anniversary of Dave Perks leading the Long Eaton Invaders to the National League title. Neil Burrows brings us details of an upcoming special evening that will see the team reunite to mark the anniversary.
Legendary photographer Alf Weedon passed away last Sunday at 93 years of age. His funeral will take place on Wednesday 5th February at 1 pm at the North Chapel, City Of London Cemetery, Wanstead.
East London Radio are working on a documentary about the heyday of Speedway in East London - from the 1920s until 1970s. They are looking for fans, riders and officials to contribute. Please contact Ian Chambers - firstname.lastname@example.org
"First meeting end of 1970 season.Thrilled at how the riders stayed on the bike. Parents took us for years home n away. Could see into the pits from stand on turn three. Never forget Ivan Mauger / Peter Collins signing programmes after heat 13, then on to the fairground BOBS / Water Shute. Used to go in school hols on the bus from WIgan.The methanol smell and shale down your shirt, being so close to the action, Fabulous.The record 'Popcorn' welcomed you to another home match. Hyde Road - Bloody Great."
"I, like Richard Tyrrell, would love to see Oxford reopen and I have campaigned for this, despite only having been there once. I agree also regarding the state of speedway. To put it bluntly British speedway sold its soul to a circus. The Grand Prix is definitively not a world championship but a roadshow of effectively invited riders. You might argue that nultiple winners may have some claim to being 'World Champion' but who is to say that there are not very many greater riders outside the sytem, in the wilderness. I have huge respect for Ove Fundin and his views, most recently aired in the excellent Retro Speedawy DVD on Norwich. Ove is in no doubt that the GP circus is a bad thing.
Also, the set up of the sport today with no regular meeting night is a bad thing. See the DVD, Ove speaks more wisely about things than anyone I can think of. I feel very strongly that to give the sport any chance we need regular racenights. Being a speedway supporter is a life style thing, an enjoyable habit When I lived within 50 miles of Ipswich I supported the Witches each week. Thursday was their racenight and only occasionally would they not race that night. I arranged my life to be at Foxhall on Thursdays, in a similar way to countless other supporters of their respective favourites. If out and about in other parts regular race nights would enable the travelleor to turn up at other tracks confident of seeing a meeting. Can you expect a regular fanbase with the present system - no.
We also need local boys in teams, and we need riders who stay more than a season - in short - continuity. If I were in charge I would forget about the GP system, and perhaps bring speedway back to local level, to its roots. Both Olle Nygren and Ove seem opposed to lots of foreigners in our team (which may seem strange). After a few years of 'basic speedway' crowd building GB would emerge stronger on the world stage. Thats more or less what happened in 1964/5. Ove spent more than 10 years with Norwich, and had no desire to ride elsewhere. Indeed, there is very good reson to believe that, if Norwich had not closed (for very little housing money and in the face of gates of 10,000 or so) then he would now have more titles than Mauger.
Many think that abolishing the 'second half' also impacted upon popularity, and I am inclined to agree. There was something to look forward to after the league match, win or lose. The rider of the night contest gave the home team boys the chance to race each other, and the junior and scratch races gave a chance to new talent and local lads. In an age when Eastbourne (Elite League) appear to get similar or maybe less support than a well run third tier team such as Mildenhall, we have serious problems.
I have suggested a separate knock out world final in addition to GP (if we must). Call it the World Knockout Championship if you will, but it would bring back some support and interest. One of my favorite events at Norwich tended to be world championship qualifying rounds which brought lower league racers to The Firs. I am also a F1 supporter, and am not against the GB concept for such sports, because there are not hundreds of F1 drivers driving each week and excluded from GP. "
In what we hope may become a regular feature, we look at the seven riders that made up a team on a particular evening in the sport's history. We start with the seven riders that lined us as the Glasgow Tigers on Sunday 26th March 1978. Similar articles on the same theme more than welcome.
Zdenenk Flajshanz brings us pictures of this ice speedway in Upper Bavaria. He visited in 2009.
This website relies heavily on contributions from speedway fans around the world. Articles and pictures are always welcome - get in touch if you've something suitable for publication.
Terry Hooke is looking for results from a 1957 Cavalcade of Speed at London White City - Can You Help?
We've been contacted by Janet Webb, whose father provided the bike that Jack Woods was riding when he was killed at Palmerston Speedway in 1947. Janet believes the bike may now be in the Palmerston Speedway Museum. Is anyone in that neck of the woods able to confirm and perhaps send a picture? Drop us at a mail at email@example.com
"A first class article by John Fray, a man whose letters on the gradual demise of Oxford Stadium, have headlined the letters page of the Oxford Mail in the past few months. Many of us have been desperate to see the stadium survive so that speedway might return but, in the back of our minds, have been doubts about the viability of the present level at which the sport curently operates on a wider scale, and could it now be sustained at Oxford.
There is no doubt that British speedway has suffered dreadfully at the hands of the Grand Prix despite many warnings of future problems in the early 1990s, and it is a shame that the promoters of the day didn't stand and fight. Can you imagine a return of Saturday night speedway at tracks like Swindon, Coventry etc? But we are where we are today. I could never understand why promoters do not promote the sport locally away from race night. When I was young there were always adverts in the local newspapers and on advertising billboards, and the kids around were always talking about speedway. Reading Mr Fray's article, especially the part about attracting bigger crowds, brings to mind the phrase - speculate to accumulate! Who knows - maybe miracles do happen!"
"Western Springs still operates but only for car racing. That is of course until the SGP comes to town for its yearly one night stand. The heart of Solo racing in Auckland is at Rosebank Road. Templeton or Ruapuna as its now known also still operates. They put the bike track inside the car track yonks ago but sometimes the bikes go on the big track. Moore Park is THE place to go for solos in Christchurch. Gisborne and Napier are all go, mainly I believe for cars but solos are still on the programmes. I'm really not that up with the play about things in this lay-down, touch screen I-pod thingy world so someone else better informed may wish to correct me or update me, just don't download me! Would not do me prostate anygood I'm sure!!!"
"I supported Norwich until they closed and I have a photgraph of Aub Lawson riding round the Norwich track on a donkey. I also have several World Final programes from the 50s and 60s all filled in which I attended. Also several photos of old Norwich riders."
"Remember them days well! My brother was the mascot 'Diddy Daniel' so I was brought up on speedway! Still have pretty much all the MK Knights programs from the 80's and Speedway Stars and Mail if anyone is interested. (firstname.lastname@example.org)"
"In answer to the query, it was filmed at New Cross Stadium just off the Old Kent Road in South East London. It was situated right next to Millwall's old ground "The Den". My Nan used to go and watch the New Cross Rangers at 'The Frying Pan' as it was called due to the high banking of the track."
"Just to counter Tracy Holmes's comments on Speedway Ruined My Toffee Apple 1973. The "nobody" comment regarding Jerzy Szczakiel comes from how the speedway press reacted at the time. As Richard Bott says in the Champions Book of Speedway No.5, "I doubt very much whether there was a speedway fanatic back in Britain who wouldn't have queried "Jerzy who?" when the name of the 1973 World Champion was flashed acros Europe." Even Richard Bott managed to overlook Jerzy's World Pairs victory when dismissing his other achievements, or lack of them."
"A couple of responses to Ian Harwood's most enjoyable article on 1973. The answer to Ian's query as to why Exeter fans in the County Ground grandstand had to stand up during racing appears in Classic Speedway Venues Past & Present. The Falcons' landlords at the County Ground made major alterations to the front of the grandstand withoiut having the courtesy to inform the speedway management. Having previously stood to watch speedway at Exeter, I only discovered the problem when I went to a meeting with a family group which needed to sit down. Some chance! At the time the rugby authorities made the changes, it was estimated that nine out of every ten admissions at the County Ground were for speedway. Whilst speedway pulled the crowds rugby union, in the days before it became professional and trendy, attracted two men and a dog. Classic Speedway Venues also covers Loomer Road, with a picture of the extended terracing Ian mentions in his article."
"You had to stand in the County Ground main stand, otherwise you couldn't see parts Of the home straight nor the first and fourth bends. It was built by the rugby club and afforded a fine view of the pitch! After our first visit, we always settled for the back straight terracing."
"Another fun and entertaining read Ian! Hope you dont mind the following; It was the British/Nordic Final at Coventry where Eric Boocock did his startline demonstration. The British Final had been held at Sheffield. And re Ivan Mauger at the World Final. You put "This time he needed a bit of luck and a sympathetic referee, he found neither." uummm actually mate, he got both. His luck came as the same for most of his opponents, Ole Olsen was riding severely handicapped by injury. A fully fit Ole could have taken that Title unbeaten. We all know that. Also, Anders Michanek had a bad day at the office. His other chunk of good luck came when he broke the tapes and got away with it. It was heat 11, the tapes were broken 4 times, twice by Grigory Chlinovski, once by Edward Jancarz and once by Ivan. They all found the referee very sympathetic indeed ! And ok, Jerzy Szczakiel himself had clearly broken the tapes in heat 8 and got away with it. But in the re-run, thrashed Ivan by 8 lengths ! See it for yourself on You-tube. And the Gold Medal run-off ? Ivan was outsmarted, outgated, out manouvered, outridden and outclassed. He says so in his book. Yes, it was THE biggest upset in Speedw ay history but a nobody had won the World Final ? No way !!! Jerzy failed to score in the World League and The World Cup Final, true. But he raced the World Champion Ivan Mauger 4 times that year, and won all 4. Howzat ?!"
"Up on the 1st bend over the top of the fence there was a load of steel girders sticking up from the ground. I may have been wrong to say they kept the fence up sorry on that, but i am sure there were girders over the fence."