Talented artist Jim Blanchard's latest work is this fine action picture
of Greg Hancock. As always, this is available strictly as a limited edition
only. 250 lithograph 'printers proof' art prints are available for £24.99
from 1st October.
Harry Ward ventured to Scotland this summer on his first northern tour for
a decade and a half. He took in meetings at Edinburgh, Berwick and Glasgow though the trip
ended with him in a upside down car in a field. Harry reflects on a weekend he'll not forget
Gary takes a different approach to most and selects his favourite visiting riders. He's a Glasgow
fan so it's a little surprising that he's nominated Brett Saunders as one his seven.
Kenneth Hansen created a favourable impression in his appearance at Workington last week. Find out more about him at kenneth-hansen.co.uk.
Tony McDonald's Backtrack magazine is always worth a look and the most recent edition is no exception.
There are excellent interviews with Gordon Kennett and Vaclav Verner, but the undoubted highlight is near the back of the mag. It's a picture of former Birmingham and Newcastle rider
Alan Emerson with his son Martin. What's the big deal you ask? Well, 'Emmo' looks younger today than he did when he retired back in 1983! Andie McDowall may have some competition for
those anti-ageing commercials on the telly.
"Dear Andy Freegard. Had the "neck" to complain about a van.... get real!!!!!!!!! As you know nothing at all about any agreements between myself and Swindon, I would hope that not too many things would or should be written about this. Nobody was interested about my side of the story at the time. Maybe the promotors do not have to keep to their agreements... but I do not think that that is helping the sport in the UK at all. Or maybe a written contract means nothing when riding for Swindon.
I love speedway, as a lot of people, and yes I did not ride that well this meeting on borrowed bikes that keeping breaking down.... but nobody cares about that do they.... but as seen as Swindon at this time did not keep their promise, I did not ride for Swindon again sadly enough as I wanted to improve my riding on British soil as well as on Swedish. From a guy who still loves Speedway more than most, and was not glad about being "f*cked" by promoters thinking only of cash in their hands."
"I fully support Dudley Jones regarding the Body Colours worn by current Speedway riders. I am lucky - I regularly attend Redcar where the 'Bears' motif is boldly displayed. However I must say that the standard of identification these days is, in general, very poor. There used to be no finer sight than seeing four riders hurtling round the bend and being able to see straight away who was in the lead and seeing two TEAMS battling side by side - EASILY RECOGNISED. Now we have to make do with helmet colours.
Earlier I used the words 'Body Colour' this is the expression that I was brought up with - the very words mean, to me, identification of TEAM. In these days of bikes all looking the same some form of IDENTIFICATION is essential. I hate to use the expression but in the old days you could identify a rider in a number of ways: Body Colour, Style, Bike and Helmet Cover. Today, basically, it is the Helmet Colour. SUPPORTERS need to have something to identify with - so come on the 'powers that be', this is OUR sport as well, surely there is plenty of adverting space on the BACK of the Body Colour. LEAVE THE FRONT FOR THE TEAM AND THEIR SUPPORTERS."
"I enjoyed the site very much, especially the page about speedway being featured on tv/in films. I also remember some tv commercials, the first may have been regional and shown only up north. It was for Jubilee stout "Heart of the North" as the soundtrack went on to say, and featured black and white footage of all Belle Vue's zoological park attractions. Included was a speedway clip with an unidentified rider sliding off his bike in a shower of sparks.
The only other significant ad was for flash floor cleaner which had a demented seventies housewife complaining "dirt so ground in it is like a speedway track". Amazingly there is a clip of an unidentified rider broadsiding on the kitchen floor, though in fairness he was doing what today would be called a doughnut. Finally as a former team manager of the Scunthorpe Saints, Big Arthur Browning would not forgive me if I did not mention he was the biker stunt double on the Cadbury's milk tray adverts in the seventies. Keep up the good work with your site."
"This is just an awesome victory, not just for me personally, but for the Rebels as a whole and the fans at the Oak Tree Arena, the are just the best! To beat the League's best is just fantastic, it is just a superb feeling. After I won the Champions Chase last year, the team went on to collect its first silverware in the Premier League Fours, so I'd like to think that my win tonight can spur us on to even more titles before the season is out, and where better to start than back here in Sheffield on Thursday when the Rebels face Sheffield in the second leg of our Knock Out Cup
PLRC Champion Magnus Zetterstrom
Author Jeff Scott's "Showered in Shale" book offers the reader the
chance to 'visit' tracks they may never reach and 'meet' individuals to whom they
will never speak. The well written and entertaining tome turns a spotlight onto
the sport and uncovers its good, bad and ugly sides. Despite the universal praise it's
received and despite our own unreserved recommendation, it seems that some of you have
still not bought a copy!
You obviously require further convincing, so here's another extract from Jeff's book to
whet your appetite and give you an idea of what it's all about. This time Jeff is visiting
Sittingbourne Speedway Club in Kent and meets up with unsung hero Graham Arnold and Steve
Ribbons, a man with many strong opinions on the sport.
Steve has been watching the sport on and off since the eighties. He's a Swindon fan but
a number of his all-time seven have never ridden for the Robins.
Looking for something to do on Saturday? Why not head along to Stoke and attend Paul
Clews' testimonial meeting? Clewsy has never been a star, but he's exactly the kind of
reliable and loyal performer that the sport needs. If only we had a few more of his ilk
then one suspects travel and accomodation costs would be much reduced for many promoters.
The meeting starts at 6pm to allow all the events and entertainment to be squeezed in.
Have a good one Paul!
John Hyam wants to find out more about Alf Webster - Can You Help?
David Crane has set up a website to showcase the websites he produces and the action
photographs he takes. Plenty of pictures from Shaun Tacey's testimonial are on there at the moment.
The new "Turbo Sliders" online game seems to be proving popular in certain circles.
Find out what all the fuss is about at britishspeedwaysliders.com
"These photos bring back wonderful memories as I was a regular at Hyde Road from 1964 to the end in 1987. Wonderful cicuit,the best in the world, just the stands let it down."
Cary Cotterman :
"I discovered and fell in love with speedway during the days of black leathers, simple but distinctive race jackets, unsilenced exhaust pipes, and upright engines. I guess that puts me in the "old" catagory; I wish all those things would come back, but I know they won't. However, in all seriousness, I agree with Tracy Holmes' statement that "the magic is gone" from the World Championship. As I understand it, Jason Crump can take to the track this coming Saturday in Poland on a Vespa and parade around waving to the crowd, and will still be this year's World Champion. Or does he even have to show up? Perhaps they can simply ship the trophy to him. The meeting will be run merely to see whether Greg Hancock can retain second place. I've only seen one World Individual Championship Final, in Los Angeles in 1982. Even though the stadium wasn't sold out, there was incredible excitement in the atmosphere, built up over the entire season. Several riders had the potential to become World Champion, and the crowd saw it all determined in twenty heats, raced before their eyes that very night! I sincerely hope this twelve-year experiment is soon disposed of, and the traditional one-off system with qualifying rounds is reinstated."
"It was all doom and gloom at the time. I am very passionate about the club and found it
difficult to take.
It couldn't have been more frustrating and it even crossed my mind about resigning.
However, Poole and Team GB boss Neil Middleditch called me out of the blue to offer his
encouragement and told me not to let it get me down.
He said that all managers go through rough patches and that it would come right if I kept my head up and strived to go forwards."
Alun Rossiter reflects on Swindon's troubled early season
Somerset's Oak Tree Arena is the place to be this Friday when the sport bids a sad
farewell to Matt Read. Matt's career came to a premature end when he suffered
horrendous injuries in a French longtrack crash. Ian Belcher brings
us up to date with the latest meeting news.
Glasgow Tigers celebrate their 60th anniversary at Ashfield this Sunday. Ian Hoskins
was the man who named the team and promoted them way back in 1946. The world was a very different place
in that immediate post-war era and crowds averaged around 13,000 in the Tigers' first season. In this
article Ian recalls some tales from that first season, including the one about the deserter from the
US forces who fancied turning out for the Tigers!
The spiritual home of the Glasgow Tigers was the White City stadium on Paisley Road West. The stadium was
used from the sport's earliest days and was the first home of the Glasgow Tigers. It closed at the end
of the 1968 season to allow for the extension of the M8 motorway.
You'll notice that we don't have any photographs of Blantyre Greyhound Stadium. If you have, then we'd love to hear from you.
Glasgow Tigers - 60th Anniversary Photo CD
By Ian Adam
I am pleased to announce a new Photo CD from Glasgow Speedway. This 60th Anniversary
Photo CD will feature all the action from the 60th anniversary meeting along with a
look back through my photo records to 1988 and the Shawfield years. This Photo
CD will be packed with over 500 photos to view and use on your PC or Mac.
The CD will be available from the track shop at Glasgow the week following the 60th
meeting at a cost of £6.00 and as usual a donation from the profits of this photo CD
will be made to one of the Glasgow riders. CDs can be posted to any UK address for
You may pre-order this photo CD by e-mailing me at email@example.com and your
photo CD will be ready for collection on 24th September 2006.
Please note if you have previously purchased my Glasgow Action 1988-2002 photo CD
this CD makes up the historic photos on the new CD but you will of course have all
the action from the 60th meeting.
Premier League speedway will feature on Motors TV (Sky Channel 413) on
15th October when a new magazine style programme is shown for the first time.
The show will be fronted by broadcaster Mike Bennett who has a wealth of experience
in speedway presentation and programme production. Meeting highlights will include
live commentary from the current Danish Team manager and former top class international
rider Jan Staechmann along with Ken Burnett from T2TV.
"Ah, those were the days, I remember them well, everyone used to call me footpath! Good article and a fond memory but what is not mentioned is the actual reason for the Monarchs losing. In my opinion the reason was the track itself, it was almost unrideable, wet, heavy and totally impossible to turn the bike on. The dirt must have been a foot deep. I don't know if the weather hampered the preperation or not but the outcome was a very poor advert for speedway. Fortunately the Berwick riders were able to adapt a bit better and we won much to the dismay of the Edinburgh promotion. Oh dear, how sad, never mind."
Tracy Holmes on Dudley Jones' comments:
"Yes mate, you are getting old and so am I. That's why I agree with you 100% re the World Final v the GP. I am a big fan of the CZ Golden Helmet. The prize is priceless and it is Speedway the way it is meant to be, one day, one off magic. If this prize was decided over a season of meetings I wouldn't bother. The only reason I follow the GP so closely is because the eventual winner is crowned Champion of the World. Yes, the riders are heroes and deserve big money for the way they entertain the public but the public is being robbed of the essence of what Speedway should be all about. The magic is gone.
Why is Grand Slam tennis so hot? OK, tennis is played by millions BUT, the competitions, Wimbledon, French-US and Australian Opens are one offs. Champions and favourites sometimes go out in the first rounds. There are injuries, upsets, controversies ... but the magic is there. Imagine if these were held over a series. Imagine if the Wimbledon Champion was crowned after he or she had won the quater final in the penultimate round?! So the best player over the course of the year would be found but it would sink the guts of it all as far as a spectacle was concerned! And thats what has happened to the World Speedway Championship.
Great racing, thrills and spills....BUT THE MAGIC HAS GONE!!! Of the 46 post-war World Finals, there were only 2 'naf jobs', the '83 Norden fiasco and the 87 Amsterdam two-step. Even the Bradford Finals were magic because the World Final was the biggest event of the year and every Speedway follower eagerly awaited the result. Wasnt always the best rider of the year, did not matter. It was THE event and we have been robbed of it for 12 years now. And nearly 90 GPs have not made up for one single year!
And dont get me started on the race-jackets. At least in the World Finals, you knew who you were looking at. These days, the riders are just advertising displays. Yes Dudley, we are getting old. But we can treasure our memories and scrap-books far more than this cell-phone generation ever will!!"
Dave Bayliss :
"An excellent site , well put together and one i'll definitely be adding to 'my favourites'. Keep up the good work."
"I have been a Glasgow supporter since the 60's and the latest descision to stop Danny Bird from riding must take the biscuit. It's obvious from my point of view that the 'southern' based promoters are hell bent on closing Glasgow. As the Glasgow promotion have already stated I hope they can live with themselves if Glasgow do close at the end of the season."
"It's a great result for me.
We've been working so hard all year and we've made a few silly mistakes and had some bad luck,
but it all came together on the night.
I've been struggling a little recently, but it looks like we've solved our motor problems.
The silver medal is what I have to go for at the moment, but the World Championship itself is
what it's all about and I still feel I have another one in me."
Greg Hancock on his Latvian GP victory
The Glasgow Tigers are celebrating their 60th anniversary with a special
meeting this weekend. They spent their most successful spell at Shawfield
Stadium in Glasgow, a venue that was amongst the most palatial in the sport
when it first opened its doors to the sport. These pictures show the
stadium as it was a couple of years ago. The safety fence has gone and
new spotlights surround the greyhound track.
In this new series we look at the first meeting staged at circuits throughout the country.
We start with Powderhall Stadium in Edinburgh. The first meeting there was staged on
15th April 1977 when the Edinburgh Monarchs tackled the Berwick Bandits in a challenge
It's a double dose of Powderhall this week with these 'new' black and white pictures. These show
the stadium shortly before the speedway moved in and join the pictures we have of the venue
during its speedway life and after it was demolished.
Don't forget Shaun Tacey's testimonial at Mildenhall this Sunday. Leigh Lanham,
Jason Lyons, Craig Boyce and Chris Neath are amongst those riding. It's an individual
event that will conclude with a 8 rider, 12 lap finale. There's also a mini-match
between Wimbledon and Sittingbourne as well as 500cc sidecars. It gets underway at 2pm.
Latest news can be found on
Dudley Jones' article on racejackets generated a shed-load of feedback. We never knew
people felt so passionately about these things - see the feedback section.
Remember that your contributions are always very much appreciated. If you've got an
opinion to express, a memory to share or some pictures to pass on - then drop us an
email at firstname.lastname@example.org
"Totally agree Dudley. But hey, Oxford Cheetahs race suits are superb. The race jackets that really annoy me are the GP ones. All adverts and a tiny flag of their country. Come on BSI lets get back to a full flag race jacket."
"I fully agree with Dudley Jones about the present day race jackets. They are meant to identify who you support, they mean something to the supporters, "look they are riding for us, that's our team they are riding for". Todays race jackets are meaningless, simply a hotch-pot of advertising. They are really bad at international level with only a tiny little flag on the shoulder to signify which country the riders are representing. Quite often this can't be seen as it is too small. If a rider is proud to represent his country, then he should be proud to wear his countries colours, big and bold. Or at club level, again big and bold. Today the fans want something more to follow than just a helmet colour during a race. With riders and bikes looking more and more alike, we need a race jacket that can be clearly seen."
"I totally agree with Dudley Jones's comments. Although I accept that speedway needs sponsorship to survive, the traditional colours and logos should still be prominent. It is what identifies the wearer with the club he represents. Mind you, I wouldn't hold my breath expecting the BSPA to do anything about it any time soon. The worst offender in my opinion is the body colour worn by the riders at the GPs. What are they supposed to signify I wonder?"
"Yes I totally agree with your race jacket article, a sense of identification works wonders for team support (just look at Reading Bulldogs), it has not worked. Bees should be BEES, Wasps should be WASPS and so forth. Let's keep this sport simple and bring back the crowds, in the best interests of speedway let's do it."
"I agree with the content of this article whole heartedly, but whenever I bring the subject up my comments meet with a stony silence or I am acused of living in the past. Having been introduced to speedway at an impressionable age the thought and sight of old, instantly recognisable club colours evoke memories of excitement with the visit of such great teams and riders to the track I supported then, and still do today, Oxford.
The green and yellow of Norwich Stars and the red and white stripes of Southampton, such a basic design, can be added to the writers list, even along with the original Oxford colours of a yellow sash on a blue background. Not only do the team colour designs seem to change every season but we are now faced with the spectre of 'team suits'. On the face of it this is a step forward especially on the first night when the 1 to 7 are dressed the same although there are still those who think that riders should have that individuality of wearing their own suits. But it is better that wearing football shirts under the body colour, which is something that used to happen and quite inovative at the time.
But what happens when your number 4 gets injured or your star foreigner is away on some championship round or other? The guest or Premier League replacement appears in your team lineup wearing what? - a football shirt. So the spectre is immediately broken with some of the team now wearing suits and others football shirts. Throw in our team last season and you not only have suits and shirts but sometimes a Conference League race jacket as well!! What does that do for our great sport?
For me a set of race jackets is paramount. In club colours with the club logo prominently displayed. All riders look as if they belong, if only temporarily, all the time. What can be more rewarding that being handed your race jacket, just before the meeting begins, with a word of encouragement from the Team Manager? Or is it true, I do live in the past?"
"Couldn't agree more with Dudley Jones' article. The race jacket pic in the article sports all the corporate graphic design blandness of a European rally car. Speedway must exploit its obvious uniqueness amongst other motorsports with big bold team logos. They exhibit camaraderie and the romance of "going into battle" with another team. Surely team sponsors can just occupy the back of a jacket?"
"It's a disgrace. Myself and fellow directors, Stewart Dickson and Gordon Pairman, can't believe it.
Danny missed a meeting due to illness and, under the rules, a non-related speedway injury means a rider has to receive permission to race again. The ruling body have refused this permission which has totally incensed the promotion at Ashfield.
It's an outrageous decision and one that has prompted us to put the brakes on our involvement with speedway in Glasgow,
We will put the club up for sale at the end of the season and if no buyer can be found, the club will die - I hope the management committee can live with this."
Glasgow promoter Alan Dick on the Danny Bird controversy
Gary Havelock, World Champion back in 1992, dropped down into the Premier League this year
when he signed for Redcar Bears. It was a brave move to join a brand new club and to ride in a league
in which he would be a target for all he races against. Ken Burnett caught up with him for the
BBC's Planet Speedway show and found out that Havvy has no regrets so far.