"I was very interested to see the pictures of Glasgow riders in the Bill's Pictures sequence in April. In particular that of Joe Crowther who, when I knew him, had retired from riding and was responsible for maintenance at Blackbird Road, Leicester for both speedway and greyhound racing. He was the official hare controller at race-meetings and I was the racing manager, this was 1962/63. I don't recall clearly but I have a feeling Joe may have been the team manager of the Hunters for some time. With his wife he lived in the bungalow which was situated at the back of the terracing on the back straight.
It was through Joe that I met Ken McKinlay,whose workshop was at the stadium. By coincidence Ken and I both moved to West Ham from Leicester in 1964 and we often had a chat together at Custom House. I also noticed that one of the Glasgow Tigers team photos was actually taken in the greyhound racing kennels at Blackbird Road. They doubled up as the pits on speedway nights!"
"I was only about 11 when he raced for us at Powderhall, always had time to sign autographs at the gate at the pits and no one will ever forget him smashing the exclusion light when he didn't agree with the ref. One of my first speedway heroes. A wonderful rider. "
"It is the morning after the Grand Prix at Cardiff. I have to confess that I have never attended a GP round at Cardiff (or anywhere). For a few days I contemplated going to Cardiff yesterday. I live only a 35 minute train ride from the home to the stadium. I found it difficult to know how to get a ticket 'on the day' but, ultimately and having looked at the list of riders, I just could not get the enthusiasm.
I have to say that it is several years since I attnded a match, in fact since Newport closed. If Somerset rode some other night than Friday then I would support them.
I mused this morning about the GP and whether I should have gone. Ultimately I cannot get too much interest in a competition from which the vast majority of riders do not get a chance to participate. I have been warmed by Greg Hancock's performances however. I guess I shall have a nice coffee and remember those nights of long ago when riders fought through level upon level of knockout competition, a true test of greatness, to those wonderful knockout finals. How wonderful to be able to close my eyes and see Fundin & Briggs, Craven & Collins, Gundersen & Neilsen.
How wonderful also to recall those who never won but distinguished themselves, people like Ken Mckinlay, Nigel Boocock, Terry Betts and John Louis. Ah well, I shall continue to hope that, some day, we will again have a proper world championship where the winner can truly be called a world champion."
Further magazine and book scans from Bill Hamlton's collection.
Today marks the 47th anniversary of the Lokeren road disaster that claimed the lives of Peter Bradshaw, Martyn Piddock, Gary Everett, Malcolm Carmichael, Phil Bishop and Henrikus Rommoes.
You can read more about the tragedy in our articles on Lokeren.
"I remember seeing both Les and Ronnie Moore riding in Shelbourne Park Dublin in the 50's as a lad. The Wimbledon team used to come to Dublin on a Sunday and ride as the Shelbourne Tigers. Used to go every Sunday with my family, pity it didn't last longer. I'm an avid fan of speedway still and watch it regularly on TV."
"I went to Swindon speedway during the second half of the 1950's. My first meeting was at Leicester in 1955. But my home team was Swindon, as we lived at RAF South Cerney. Every Saturday my brother and I stood waiting for the bus into Blunsdon. Ray used to stop and give us a lift to the track! He was such a lovely man, and when my father went on a course in Hereford, he called in on Ray. He wasnt a big star, but he was our star, to my brother and me."
"I met Peter Craven just the once over 50 pears ago and shortly before he tragically died. He was riding for Belle Vue at The Firs, Norwich, and as my mates and I were walking back to the exit after the event finished, we walked past the pits entrance and there stood Peter surrounded by supporters holding out programmes for an autograph. I took my courage in both hands and joined them. I can honestly say I have never met such a kind and modest fella since. And it goes without saying, a great speedway rider - never saw another rider lay a bike over so far! When the match was Norwich v Belle Vue we all waited in eager anticipation for the heat in which both Fundin and Craven were involved. Those clashes were always exciting to watch. Ove is still going strong in his 80's now. Like so many others I wish Peter was."
"I met peter in 1976, I delievered car spares to main dealers in the Nottingham area. He used to beg large wooden crates from me to use to send used car parts back to oz. He was Australian team manager and I went and met him at White City. I was supposed to meet him afterwards but the victory celebrations were a bit hectic. We met a few weeks later when he wanted more crates. He was a great character, lean and fit looking with a great sense of humour, it was an honour to have met him"
"The first meeting I went to at Belle Vue, was in 1965 . It was the first year of the British League and we lost to Glasgow Tigers. Dick Fisher had been injured the previous evening at Wolverhampton and didn't ride. I went for the next 10 years or so, sitting in the small stand above the supporters club on the back straight. As others have said - the BLRC nights at the end of the season were just something else. Supporters from every team in the BL, all mixed together and from what I experienced never a hint of trouble just friendly banter. What was it with visiting supporters and being by the starting gate - I admit we did the same thing if we went to other tracks. Happy days!"