"I went to the meetings at Wanganui and Upper Hutt recorded here. Unfortunately finding out about meetings in NZ was not easy as publicity seemed to be limited to the towns putting on the meetings and we didn't have an internet in those days. Had I known about the meeting at Palmerston North or even Gisborne I might have gone. Word of mouth or being well connected was probably the only way to know about who rode where and when in those days. I only lived in NZ from 71-73 so was lucky to see meetings at Western Springs, Kihikihi, Templeton and those mentioned earlier, I drove past Napier once to see what the track looked like but there was no meeting as far as I could tell. Yes, the Wanganui meeting was superb.I wished I had been able to go to New Plymouth as well as Palmerston North and Napier/Gisborne etc. but it's too late now! "
"I fail to see whatis wrong with the Radek Sikorski description 'speedway motorcycle racing.' In other speedway-orientated countries (i.e USA, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) they also recognise sidecars, midget cars and sprint cars as being speedway. In New Zealand, they even have the same Control Board for the classes mentioned as well as it governing small oval car racing (aka stock cars)."
"Can't agree on Scott Wilson, he gives his version of the result. Michael Max, conducted interviews from the pits. He could have been talking to the man on the moon for all we knew. Dick Barrie? the less said the better."
"From 1947 to 1955 I was a staunch fan of the Harringay Racers and I well recall the very first appearance of Ole Nygren on his arrival at Harringay from Sweden. His bike was painted orange and manager Wal Phillips had him do 4-5 laps of the track as an introduction for the fan. It was obvious from the first lap that the young blonde Swede was going to be a tremendous favourite with Racers fans, and so it proved to be. In my opinion, the backbone of the Racers team at that time was the great Split Waterman, Jack Biggs, Ron How and Danny Dunton, plus new boy Ole Nygren. I live in Dereham now but never got the change to visit the Firs Stadium in its heyday, but I wish I had. Mind you, I did see Bert Spencer and Billy Bales riding in end of match scratch races at Harringay."
"How crucial, and to the point, about riders' introductions at the start of the meeting. And how ridiculous they have to wear a helmet, aka "head protection". Back in the 60's and 70's, what a treat to be at West Ham and to see the riders faces as they did the pre-meeting introductory lap, Ray Wilson, with his long dark hair flapping in the wind as he took the Custom House circuit for one lap, and all the fans could get a glimpse of their favourites. Today is too sterile, not just speedway wise, but in everything that is done. Slowly, but surely, the rot has set in. Speedway, and life, will never be the same."
"At Edinburgh we have the best center green host in Scott Wilson, Glasgow need Michael Max back and Berwick have Dick Barrie. A man that can talk all night and say nothing. I have followed speedway since 1960 presentation went when the GREAT Ian Hoskins sold up, a true showman."
On to 1974 and Belle Vue welcomed the world to the Zoo. The home pair were PC and DeeJay, though they finished well down the field.
Thanks to Dave Hitchen who has uncovered this picture of Sun Street, former home of the Hanley Potters. Dave says:
"The photograph is of Stoke speedway when it was at Sun Street in Hanley and a really super photo. I think it would be an early photo of the stadium built I think in 1929 and the street in the foreground is Clough Street, in the photo empty of properties but later became quite built up.The Sun street entrance led directly to the car park."
"Grumpy old 'Smarts' is what I will go for. As for the lack of noise from supporters, I think it's because these days they are cheering or otherwise, with their fingers. Oh yes, we used to give many two fingered salutes but today they are 'tweeting' or 'I-podding' or 'facebooking' whatever it is they do with all this modern gadgetry. Anyways, looking forward to chapter 3. This time next year ? Oh yea, '... to the proprietors with the rider that we might be back a little sooner than we intended.' Good joke that, pun like!'"
"Chris Bailey used to live on Lightbowne Road when I was young. I always wonded if his mum or dad still had the house. I used to walk round and stand near Chris' house and see him revving the speedway bike. Where have all them years gone? How is Chris?"
"Interesting article. I was a teenage fan of the Harringay Racers and I had more badges on my jacket than lapel. My two favourite riders were Split Waterman and Jackie Biggs. Split Waterman arranged 3 seats in the main stand at Wembley (behind the Royal box) for my two friends and I to watch the 1950-51 World Championship, the year Jack Young won, Split was second and Jackie Biggs third. Record producer Pete Waterman told me Split was his uncle. I imagine every Rangers fan must have bought the DVD 'Once A Jolly Swagman' which features Dirk Bogarde, Bonar Colleno and Bill Owen, and of course New Cross Speedway...took me back a bit, oh happy days!"
Tracy Holmes tells us about the 1973 final, when even the presence of Ivan Mauger couldn't stop the Kiwis finishing bottom of the pile.
Friends of Speedway (a non-profit making organisation who are proud to sponsor the British Youth Championship - formerly the Under 15's) are pleased to announce the 54th edition of their magazine the Voice which is packed full of interest and enjoyment. This issue is a big 24 pages, which will keep your interest for hours!
In this issue David Telfer gives his inevitable views on speedway in general and the best televised meeting to date; Annette Maybach gives her thoughts on the coming season; 'Slider' gives his views on speedway and one track left to visit; Charles Mckay says 'Be careful what you wish for'; Sue Towner reports on the British Youth Championship; Roy Delaney has his cake and eats it; John Hyam on a date to remember and the Atom car; John Chaplin speaks on the British Final 'Ground Force' and Editor Stuart Towner reports on the Ivor Thomas Memorial meeting at Iwade. There is much more than this with many hours of reading.
Available from Friends of Speedway; 117 Church Lane, Chessington, Surrey KT9 2DP.
Please send your cheque for £10 made out to the above for four issues of the Voice to Stuart Towner at the above address or ring 0208-397 6599 for more information.
"Wish I had known it was on. Would have ben there for sure. Oh well I still have great memories of the 60's. Saturday nights at the Royale Wow! Just the best. I have a copy of Ghosts In The Bull Pens. Great photos but full of mistakes. Also purchased the souvenir T Shirt. That was a joke too. The side cars were going the same direction as the solos. Dear Oh me. Who put this crap together. A disgrace to the best sport in the world. "
We never fail to be astonished by just how far Charles McKay will travel to watch some speedway. He was in Russia recently to watch some action at the Togliatti stadium. He reports that some of the workmanship and finishing touches are little lacking, though he was still very impressed with the facilities. The track is some 900Km from Russia and few of the locals speak English, so perhaps only experienced travellers should attempt a trip to this track.
We move on to 1972 and Sweden in the latest in this series of articles by Tracy Holmes. The home nation had two pairs riding in the event.
Speedway author/photographer Jeff Scott was recently interviewed on Talk Radio Europe (Spain's largest English Language radio network) about his new book 'Strictly Shale' and speedway in general. The 15 minute interview is available to listen to on catch-up for a limited time. Click here to listen to Jeff.
Here's what others are saying about the book:
Tribune (27th June) - review "his evocative photographs...poignantly capture, in colour, one of the last authentic working-class sports"
Sir Paul Smith (June) - praise "great book"
Dick Barrie, Berwick programme (5th July) - comment "often marvellously capturing the very spirit of speedway's people and places around Britain"
"Spedeworth International, the landlords at Foxhall Heath, are undertaking this redevelopment work to enhance their claims to staging the major contact world championship for the Formula One stock cars. Spedworth have for many years also staged a two day event - usually the end of June or first weekend of July - which embraces several non-contact car championships, the main one being that for the very expensive National Hot Rods. But I am sure that if speedway was to ask them to make a place for a major event they would accommodate our sport into their operations."
"Extremely disappointing, from a Reading angle no description of the Tilehurst project the riders from Dickie May to Dag Lovaas are ignored yet he rambles on about Halifax and Stoke. All the stuff about Mike Parker and Bill Dore were submitted to this site years ago. Poor effort Reg."