"I was at work when I saw the Daily Mirror had a large picture of Tommy and the announcement that he had died. I just didn't believe it and phoned Wimbledon, it was Cyril Maidment who told me it was true. I was devastated. I had been going to Wimbledon regularly and Tommy was my Idol, I had watched him win the Golden Helmet and in the league I had only ever seen one person beat Tommy at Plough Lane when he had been in front and that was Peter Collins around the outside. Tommy was poetry in motion. He would have his foot down as he went into the bend but very soon it was up and he did the rest by balance. He was a great guy and happy to talk to anyone. A real gentleman and fantastic rider. I had the honour to meet his parents and Bo, they are all so very nice. Thank you for this extract but it again brought back the sadness. RIP Tommy you're still loved."
"A great Article - Well done - Loads of info. that I had forgotten - brought it all back to me as I used to go to Harringay for speedway and White City for the athletics. I was born in Tottenham in 1938 and am now looking to go and see Rye House Rockets with my son for the first time in centuries! Who was the rider that used to drag his leg and go over on one knee - I am sure I am not imagining it.It is really bugging me! Thanks again for the memories."
"Ian Turner was a briliant rider till his accident when he broke his back on the Lynn track. I was there with my father the night it happened, several months in hospital, on his return he never really regained his racing nerve, quite understandably after a near death experience. Great shame about that accident, wish him well in the future."
"Such wonderful memories. My first visit to West Ham (and speedway) was in May 1964 at the tender age of 9, to watch the Hammers race against Coventry. To say I was transfixed or obsessed from that first race would be an understatement. My friend Colin and I never really missed a meeting, and when the stadium sadly closed to speedway on May 23rd 1972 we paid a visit a couple of weeks after to view the inevitable demolition. The said gateman was still on duty! He let us in to see our beloved stadium being torn to bits, and gave us a sneak tour around what was left of the speedway office and the baths that many a great titan had washed the cinders and shale off over the years. We are shortly coming up to the 42nd anniversary of the closure. RIP West Ham Stadium."
"Nice article Tracy. Andy possibly got the biggest cheer of the night when I announced he was coming out for heat 18. I think more than a few were impressed with his race pace and he has cemented his place in the Speedway GP history books. "
"Thanks for the heads-up on this bet 365 service. Watched the Poole v Swindon match on Good Friday and really enjoyed seeing some live speedway. Couldn't really hear the announcements that well, so I think I missed some of the changes but really enjoyable anyway."
Paul Monroe tells us about a new means of watching speedway live from your armchair.
Motorsport artist Peter Hearsey recently produced this excellent painting of the great Ivan Mauger in action in 1976. Prints (some signed by Ivan himself) are now available from Flat Out Riding. Their website includes recent pictures of Ivan in his workshop.
Alan Thompsett is looking for details/pictures from an Eastbourne Past v Ispwich meeting from 1977 - Can You Help?
Norman Simpson's favourite riders were Graham Warren and Aub Lawson and he'd like to see them added to our Riders to Remember section. Get in touch if you'd like to contribute an article on either of these riders, or any rider at all in fact.
"Jerzy Szczakiel is undisputed champion, but only on the Polish tracks. Probably, his biggest success on the tracks abroad Poland was 7th place (scored 7 points) in European Final '71 at Wembley. In Poland he reached neither title of Individual Polish Champion, nor very prestigious in those time Polish Golden Helmet. In the start of 70's in Poland there were better speedway riders than Szczakiel, for example Zenon Plech and Edward Jancarz. Surely not worse were Pawel Waloszek, Jan Mucha, Andrzej Wyglenda, Antoni Woryna, Henryk Gluecklich and Marek Cieslak. However, that what Jerzy Szczakiel performed at Rybnik'71 and Katowice'73 it weren't achieved by any other Polish speedway rider for many, many years."
"About the heat 19 incident. I don't agree that Plech was lucky. He was knocked off by the Russian while leading on the last lap and should have been awarded Three Points. Now Peter Collins was awarded the win although he was last when the incident occured."
"Lovely article. I can feel the love that Geoff obviously had for Custom House coming through every word. Well written mate! I was never fortunate enough to go to West Ham but the Hammers were a favourite team of mine in the early British League years. I think it was a combination of colours, same as my own Halifax Dukes, the football name association and the riders I so admired; Sverre Harrfeldt, Norman Hunter, Ken McKinlay, Tony Clarke. Not all top rung, I just liked them. Sadly the first time I saw film of racing from Custom House was the report of the very last match with the West Ham Bombers. By the bye, the painting on the roof. Programmes, both speedway and rugby league over the years had Odsal Stadium with two painted stand roofs which changed depending on which brewer was advertising at the time, in other words, the photograph was re-lettered!"
Paul's memories are mainly drawn from watching speedway at Mildenhall and King's Lynn. Ove Fundin is the rider he'd most liked to have seen.
Kathy Farr remembers listening to speedway on the radio in the forties and fifties with her father. She believes this must have been on 'The Home Service'. She wonders if anyone remembers the music that introduced it?
"Phil is getting his cities and tracks confused. If he was on a train to Fremantle, and went pass the site of a former 500+ metre track, then he was travelling from Perth to Fremantle and went pass the site of the former Claremont Showground Speedway. That is several thousand kilometres from Adelaide and Rowley Park."
"I was privileged to see both Dennis Sigalos and Kelly Moran on a regular basis at Hull Vikings. On our home circuit Sigalos was easily faster than Ivan Mauger on numerous occasions and held the track record. Kelly was just incredible. Hull's was a really tight circuit with long straights and Moran was one of the few if not only rider who could get around without putting a foot down. Kelly's brother Shawn wasn't bad either, but poor old John Cook never really settled."
"I remember Bill ('Billy' as he was called in the old days) very well, both as an actor in such classic films as "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and in his later career on the shale. I wish him a quick and full recovery and many years of health."