"I visited the track last spring researching my Classic Speedway Venues Past and Present book and was pleasantly surprised by the amount of development/refurbishment taking place. One of the new open grandstands was already in place going in to the third bend and (as the attached picture shows) the extensive terracing on the first and second bends was undergoing refurbishment.
A considerable amount of work was also taking place at Foxhall Heath to provide improved sponsor/catering facilities.
Also attached is an overall pic of Foxhall.
Stock car crowds seem extremely healthy across the country. Last time I was in Brighton the local paper reported a Bank Holiday attendance of 5,500 at Arlington. I was recently in Buxton where the weekly newspaper (which also gives speedway excellent coverage) had a photograph of the original raceway showing a stadium packed all the way around for a composite stock cars/bangers meeting.
I would guess the stock cars attract around ten times as many spectators as the adjacent speedway."
Tracy Holmes continues his series looking back on the history of the World Pairs championship.
Some 'behind the scenes' pictures from Cardiff last weekend courtesy of Graham Cooke. The first picture was taken from the pits gate, where Graham's son was on duty during the meeting. The second is a view taken from the Eurosport gantry / studio above turn 1. It was shot at 3am and, as can be seen, all the steel superstructure has been removed and about 70% of the shale is already back in storage.
You can find out much more about Graham's Cardiff experiences on his consistently interesting Blunsdon Blog.
"That's an amazing collection, I often get Dad's jackets out and think about everything they were involved in, especially the West Ham, Leicester Hunters, World Final and GB/Lions jackets. Even after some 60 years the smell of castrol, methanol and cinders is still there, it's like smelling history!"
"As Ken's youngest sister I grew up when Ken was already a Star so you can imagine how proud I was like everyone else in the family. I remember my Dad polishing Ken's leathers when he was home in Scotland for a meeting.........they were absolutely gleaming and then the whole family went to watch him race in Glasgow. Ken always looked fabulous in his gleaming leathers and boots. My old Dad was always beaming with pride for Ken like the rest of the family but Ken was his son and he adored him. Every week in our home Dad would clean every trophy Ken ever won till they too were gleaming and there were tons of trophy's. He was a great brother and left us far too soon. I miss him every day..............RIP xxx :) xxx "
"Shortage of speedway in London. It's a great shame so many tracks closed over the years in London, now Londoners who still like the sport have Lakeside and Rye House for their "fix". My late Dad and Uncle were great Wimbledon fans, another Uncle and Auntie were Wembley Lions 'nuts'. I was introduced to speedway at Wembley aged seven years old one Thursday evening in 1955, I was overwhelmed with the amount of people present over 60,000 I was informed, the atmosphere was 'electric', the racing, the tractor and the miniature cannon this was the impression that was firmly held in my head. Wembley put on a real show and what a show! Sadly now Londoners have a limited number of tracks or tune in to 'sky' etc., Up the 'Pirates'. "
Nick Lee joins the site as a new contributor. Like many others he's spent the weekend at Somerset and Cardiff. Here are his thoughts, along with some recommendations for podcasts and documentaries you may wish to consider.
The second part of Tracy Holmes' history of the World Pairs Final.
The latest edition of the Old Time Speedway Journal is now available for free download. The main features this time are on Les Wotton and midget cars. If you'd like to download your copy then click here.
"For Peter Underhill - probably the best known and most spectacular legtrail rider at Harringay in the late 1940s-early 1950s was Lloyd 'Cowboy' Goffe, also famed for his brilliantly polished black leathers. A very fine rider indeed - but one who seems to have been - as are so many from the era - a forgotten man. Except here!"
The power represented by Maureen Schooling's tapestries has already been covered here. Now there has emerged a bona fide rival to Bayeux - the Great Tapestry of Scotland.
This astonishing series of tapestries is not only a visual feast and folk-art triumph, but serves as a timely reminder of a nation's history in what could yet become an epoch-defining year.
The Great Tapestry of Scotland has recently been exhibited at the Anchor Mill in Paisley and will be on display again at the Scottish Parliament, 1st July - 13th September, and at New Lanark, 20th October - 22nd November, before finding a permanent home at a location still to be determined in the Borders.
Any Scot, or anyone at all, with a beating heart and an eye for crafted beauty should take the time to see it - it certainly has the power to move!
However, while the Tapestry includes plenty of prominent depictions of various, ahem, monarchs, there appears but one single tiger - the scales of representation somewhat out of kilter there, I'd say, a tenuous link to speedway though that is.
Ok, look! Joking aside, having excluded the actual Monarchs and Tigers (not to mention the Lions, Eagles, Bulls, Rockets, Giants, Devils, Saints and even the most striking of Lightning!) the regrettable truth is that while Scottish sport is generously included, speedway doesn't feature at all in this work.
We can only conclude, therefore, that in the recording and indeed creation of one very colourful history of Scotland, as of 2014 there remains important work still to be done!!
In the meantime, visit the Tapestry anyway: as entitled, it is Great. Furthermore, the more entries in the visitors' book that call for the inclusion of a sport that's regularly heralded by a Fanfare For The Common Man can only be, in my book, a good thing!
So, while those scales of representation may never be perfectly balanced, that in itself is no reason not to stay positive about ultimately achieving a certain inclusivity in The Great Tapestry of Scotland, one in which the followers of all the teams listed above, both past and present, ought to feel a personal interest.
So why not go and sign up in that book? Mention that special team. It's a finely woven history and it's your history too! "
" Mr Hawkins, I'm sorry if I've given misinformation and I'm sure you are correct re the Scottish track from which the great Jack Young moved. Mr Underhill, you could be thinking of Arthur Atkinson who was known to leg trail, alternatively, you could be thinking of Oliver Hart who I think (!) rode for the Bradford Tudors. All best wishes to us older Racers fans."