"Bobby if compared to just about every other American rider of the era had a completely different style of sitting on the bike. When most others were able to be loose and flamboyant Bobby was semi rigid and used to trail his leg off the turns. IMO I believe it was a style that didn't work so well on the larger World Final type tracks. Bobby was brilliant on the smaller ones like Wolverhampton etc and his record in the USA speaks for itself. He was a master of throttle control in an era of when the art was starting to disappear from the Sport."
"In no way do I dispute that Ivan Mauger was a great rider, However, how does one evaluate any rider as the 'greatest ever'? Certainly he was a leading figure in the late 1960s going into the 1970s. But how can one judge him against others who over the years have also won the 'greatest ever' acclaim.
In the early pioneer days we had riders like Vic Huxley, Lloyd 'Sprouts' Elder moving on into the 1930s with trackman like Tom Farndon, 'Bluey' Wilkinson, Jack Milne, while the post-war era saw the domination at one stage of Vic Duggan along with Jack Parker, Jack Young. And so the eras go on.
The 1950s and 1960s had Ove Fundin, Ronnie Moore, Barry Briggs especially the forefront. And in their times all had the 'greatest ever' tag. Currently there is justified acclaim for the late Ivan Mauger. But with no disrespect was he better rider than for example Vic Huxley?
The unfortunate thing is we can never know how Huxley would have fared in modern times, with modern bikes, and modern track conditions. Alternatively, how would Mauger have fared with the bikes of the late 1920 s and early 1930s, racing on deep cinder tracks. We will never know. Nor how a Huxley-Mauger match race would have resulted.
I am of the opinion that speedway has provided 'greatest' riders of its varying and much changing eras and in their own timespan justified in recognition as the greatest of that period. But speedway aka dirt track racing has over the past 90 plus years evolved so much, greatest-ever riders (if such is the correct definition-can only be judged within their own era. And on that basis I do recognise Ivan Mauger as being the greatest rider of the years when he was engaged at the highest level in modern speedway."
"Re: Emma Somers on My Beloved Shay. Given the scale of Halifax Town FC's debts - more than £2m - in 2008 when it folded, I don't think income from sub-letting The Shay to the speedway team would have made all that much difference!
The football club, re-formed in 2008 as FC Halifax Town, is now living within its means and performing well, with a squad of part-time players, in the fifth tier National League.
As a schoolboy, I enjoyed visits to The Shay for speedway (and football). Unfortunately, when new safety regulations came in (circa 1985) governing the distance permitted between fixed objects and the safety fence, The Shay's floodlight pylons rendered the venue a speedway non-starter. Bradford Council offered Dukes rent-free use of a refurbished Odsal and, understandably, promoter Eric Boothroyd jumped at the chance.
Strangely, despite Dukes relocating from a town to a city, speedway was never as popular (or as intimate) at Odsal as it was at The Shay. Given Halifax's hilly topography, I'd say the chances of speedway returning to the town are zero. "
Tracy Holmes concludes his series on the New Zealand representatives in the Overseas Final, this time looking at the finals staged this century.
Friends of Speedway (a non-profit making organisation who are proud to part sponsor the British Youth Championship - formerly the Under 15's) are pleased to announce the 69th 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 Charles Mckay gives an update of Abbey Stadium and on what he calls Groundhog Day. John Hyam comments on Bert Harkins new book, a horror crash at Nutley Velodrome, Otto Holoubek and Tommy Croombs. Roy Delaney reports on Stan Greatrex. David Telfer on various aspects of speedway. Slider asks 'Is it a damp Squib?' plus a report on the Ice racing at Heerenveen, Holland. Ron Jones on following in Bluey's footsteps, part three. Jeffrey C. Jameson reports on Stadia. There is much more too to keep you going for hours.
Available from Friends of Speedway; 117 Church Lane, Chessington, Surrey KT9 2DP. Please send your cheque for £12 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.
"When I used to go to this track in the 70's I could never understand why they made it so narrow. I believe it was originally an athletics track and the width of the first and second bends seemed to remain virtually the same. The only place where passing was really possible was on the crown of the third and fourth bend, as Graham Jones and Tom Owen often showed. How pleased I was to learn that in 1996 (or 97) they actually widened the bends, unfortunately the entrances and exits to the bends are still too narrow which makes the racing too processional. Still it's better than it was in the early days. "
"In reply to Anthony Williamson. Good to know you were a "Dons" fan, and many thanks for that. I wouldn't say that the current maximum £18 admission is anything to do with the lower crowds, just the lack of proper promotion in parts. In fact, who out of us who love the sport baulk at paying £18 for an evenings speedway? Rather that than fill the coffers of overpaid footballers at £50 per ticket. "