"I have to say 1981 was a great year for Middlesbrough speedway and a great world final. I traveled to London to see the last World Championship at Wembley won in amazing style by Bruce Penhall, not realizing it was the end of an era in more ways than one, after supporting the team since 1961 when Reg Fearman returned speedway to Cleveland Park. Boro had won the BL Div 2 Championship in great style too, Led by one of the best club men ever, Steve Wilcock and supported terrifically well by the rest of the team. I myself was on the verge of trying to get back into work after the devastation of the Government and their actions to destroy the industry of Britain. The beginning of 1982 I and my family departed the UK headed for a new life in Australia. It was the end of regular speedway meetings of my home town team and the World Championship as we had known it up until then, yes it was a great year 1981."
"I too live in Barrow as does Alan. I followed speedway religiously in the 70's and knew of his tragic accident as soon as it happened. I was working at British Cellophane at the time where Alan worked and was told a few good tales about him. Sadly, not everything goes to plan in this world. I wish Alan all the best."
Charles Mckay uses his professional experience to take a detailed look at the plans for the new Swindon track. He raises many interesting questions about the design and the associated planning restrictions.
"Thank you for that Martin. I was fully aware that you were the only active British Promoter in attendance that day. At the time, rightly or wrongly, I recall thinking what a dreadful endorsement of the sport it was from the men in Britain who, at that time, were responsible for running the most active speedway nation in the World.
I too felt that it was a hugely significant occasion, although I believe that it was not terribly well supported by the American public. Immediately upon your return I recall reading one of your super articles (I cannot recall in which publication but at the time I think that I was still reading Speedway Mail) entitled "Thank you America we had a nice day". It was a wonderfully poignant summary of the occasion and I could not help thinking, at the time, that contained within it was an underlying message to the other promoters of the day whose priorities laid elsewhere. I suspect that somewhere, amongst my massive pile of speedway literature, I may still possess it.
Over the years both yourself and Peter Oakes provided me with some immensely rich speedway reading material. I will never forget reading in one of your Kings Lynn programme notes (I believe that it was one of your Sunday afternoon "Sunshine Speedway" meetings), with very mixed feelings, "No longer will I stand at the gates of Kings Lynn Speedway waiting for Michael Lee to turn up". I am also certain that for a while you worked in my part of the World for Essex Newspapers?
With further reference to the events of the day in L.A. perhaps you may be able to confirm something else? I recall a story, but from where I cannot say, that on the night before your wife dreamt that Les Collins won the event. Is that true? We both of course know that if Mr. Kittleson had excluded both Penhall and Carter, as some at the time felt should have happened, Les would indeed have been World Champion.
Thanks again for your response Martin and lastly am I correct in thinking that you now live in Australia?"
"My mate Tony and I used to go to Blackbird Road Leicester every Friday night in the early fifties and of course our hero was hurri-can Mckinlay, could always trust him to win for us along with Len Williams & Reg Fearman. He was always immaculate in his leathers. Many thanks Ken for your brilliant performaces for Leicester Hunters. R.I.P "
"In 1964 as an excited 9 year old when I first discovered speedway, I believe Jimmy Gooch lived or had a business on the old A13 at Rainham, Essex. My late father worked at Ford's in Dagenham, and I pestered him one day to drive past the place I believed Jimmy owned. Needless to say, we couldn't locate it, but he was one of my childhood heroes. Much later to my delight he joined Hackney and I was able to impart the story to him. I was then around 16 (1971?) and I enjoyed a long and very interesting chat to Jimmy after the meeting. A true gentleman indeed. "
"Yup, 1973 would be my next choice. That Daily Mirror World League Tournament with the Final at Wembley. Mauger back as World Champion only to prove he was human afte rall at the World Final. Being beaten twice by Jerzy Szczakiel contributing to the biggest shock in World Final history. Press coverage the like of which had never been seen before or since? Please correct me if I have this all wrong. Was the sport at saturation point? After 1972, I cant recall a more popular year, world wide."
"I totally agree with David Pickles comments. We travelled down from Ulverston in Cumbria for Belle Vue's opening meeting, got there early as recommended & spent 4 hours in the cold waiting around watching a "National Speedway Stadium" present a Grand Opening in the style of a 1940's village Fete. As for Belle Vue's treatment of fans for refunds on their tickets... don't even get me started!! Let's just say communication was appalling . Hyde Road = Fantastic ! Kirkmanshulme Greyhound = great ( if limited by dog track) The National Speedway Stadium?!.... lets shout it through the rolled up newspaper that they use for a PA system..."HOPELESS !" We will not be back."
What you can expect from the latest issue of the Friends of Speedway journal.
We're sure you'll join us in sending every best wish to Tracy Holmes as he recovers from a recent heart attack. Get well soon mate!
Jeff Scott takes a look at speedway sponsorship, particularly that afforded to the GP series by an energy drink, in his most recent
Can you help Brian Daniels [ firstname.lastname@example.org ] ?
"I wonder if you may be able to help me? I have Kings Lynn Stars badges or date bars from when I started supporting them in 1975 up to 2016 But I have lost the one for 2006 which if I remember correctly was a blue shield style. If anyone has a spare one they do not need I would be happy to pay for it plus postage."
"I started taking my eldest daughter when she was in her buggy 1977 onwards. The staff at the gate would let us through. the crowds seemed enormous and one meeting a fan fell over the buggy at the gate and broke it, my daughter stayed at home after that and i came alone for a time. My wife and I were at Wembley to see Bruce and Erik ride, it was magic. Now our track has been replaced with houses and my daughter lives in one of them. Every time I visit I remember the gates and the good times. At the moment Wolverhampton is the next best place but still hope Dudley council can find us a home. Ommer um.."
"Finally found some information re Bill Kitchen and Wembley Stadium. I remember my dear Dad taking me there regularly as a little girls and I had two favourite rideers - Bill Kitchen and Alf Bottom. I still have a couple of original programmes dating 1946/47. Are they of any value?"
"As an Exeter supporter, I saw Wayne ride every week , he was very popular with the crowd. A shy lad, but always polite and happy to talk Speedway one to one in the "bar" afterwards. You mention his second place in the 1962 PL riders championship - true of course but in addition to that fact he actually took Len Silver (our skipper at the time) to a run off for first place. Len a very experienced rider whereas Wayne was only 17 at the time. A precocious, raw talent which never reached it's full potential because of injury."
"Just a quick thank you for showing my work, very much appreciated. I hope I can draw more. There is a short video of Glen opening his portrait, makes it all worth while to see the reaction to my work."
"Having lived through this era and getting hooked on the Cradley Team of the late 70s I an say that without a doubt that this article gives a good reflection of the events of that magical period in the existence of Cradley Speedway. I am not articulate enough to write an article in the same style, but the I don't have to as John Stock has done an excellent job. Thanks for publishing this and I will continue to marvel at the skill of Bruce Penhall even as I used to as an 18 year old Black Country kid, who had never been out of Tipton! The authorities missed the opportunity that Bruce gave, and as one of those Cradley fans who he showed a 'lack of respect to' I'm over it and can see the bigger picture!"