Keith Butler feels that the Craven Shield series, staged as a three
team tournament, needs a shot in the arm and outlines his proposed solution. He's even
gone as far as to produce a new raceformat that could be used.
These pictures, courtesy of 'Tiger Tom' Marriott, show the Owlerton training circuit a year or so
back. They were taken shortly after the track was closed down on safety grounds, primarily due to
the wooden fence that was deemed unsuitable. The fence in question was imported from Odsal after
the Bradford Dukes shut down.
Stocks are now running very low of Tony McDonald's biography of Kenny Carter, one of the items we featured in our Christmas Gift Ideas
article the other week. If you want to grab one of the last copies you'd better hot-foot it over to retro-speedway.com or give
Tony's team a call on 01708 734 502.
Sky commentator Nigel Pearson is much in demand these days, as demonstrated by the porfolio
of his current work on the newly launched nigelpearson.co.uk.
The website includes Nigel's own blog, a picture gallery and a (seemingly genuine) comment from
Bernard Cribbins in the guestbook!
Young rider Kyle Newman's new website
features a good overview of his career to date. It seems likely that he'll be lining up in next year's
Conference League as he already has two offers on the table.
Leicester V Coventry in the late sixties and early seventies - Ray Wilson and Nigel
Boocock would have a best of three grudge race and 3,000 extra people would turn
up to watch, the atmosphere was electric. Now some elite tracks can't pull in
3,000 people. Modern speedway seems to lack the excitement of the 60s and 70s."
"Each rider only raced for one club. When I tell friends that riders can "double-up" between leagues and that they may also race for clubs in Sweden, Poland, Denmark, Germany and the Czech Republic, they look at me as though I'm mentally ill! It would also be nice if there was more dirt on the track than in the car park!"
"Olly Allen is a very useful rider with the elite league champions the Coventry Bees. He played a very imported roll in the winning of the treble. I think Allen will be a better rider in 2008 with the Bees if they have him back. He is improving all the time. He has a good lot of lads with him who will coach him to be a better rider. Olly Allen is a useful rider to have in your team. He is a real gater from the start and can mix it with the top riders in the league. He played a very important part in the World Cup at Brandon and was useful rider."
Robert Rogers recently asked a question on our 'Can You Help?' page about the Americans
who rode in the 1951 test series in the UK. Cary Cotterman was able to
shed some light on the riders in question.
"Interesting to see the name Shane Hearty after all these years: as a Wimbledon fan of the '60's and 70's, I seem to recall that he also featured in their junior ranks for a while, plus...he had a 'bike goodies/clothing/accessories shop in Sydenham (I think!) which is probably how he came to sponsor P.C. Any chance of a feature/interview with Terri's dad in the future, please?"
"Lee's remarks about Gordon Kennett are so true, we at Wimbledon hated his guts, Why? because he was so good. He used to make the sport look so easy, as if anyone could get on a bike and score points. Too true he never seemed to get the recognition he rightfully deserved, a point I was able to discuss with him at Bradford in the early nineties. As for the stadium, it was a scarey place, at one meeting I had to answer the call of nature during a heat. Once below the stands you couldn't here a thing, very unnerveing when you consider the noise on the track and in the stands. I shall remember the Dons-Rebels clashes at either venue with great fondness."
"I just read your story and that is what I have been doing here in the US for the last few years, we Live Webcast from Industry Hills and also shoot the races at Costa Mesa Speedway, we post all the races on the website and chearge $5.00 per month for members to watch the semis and finals, and make the other clips free....take a look www.xtremespeedwayaction.com"
Some rather depressing pictures this week as we see the current state of the County Ground
in Exeter. The Falcons left the venue at the end of the 2005 and are still seeking permission
to open a new track. Their former nest is currently just wasteland. Pictures were taken by
Bob Cole earlier this month.
Rob's family were massive fans of Ivan Mauger and followed his career from Manchester to Exeter.
No surprise then that Ivan features in Rob's all-time favourite seven.
Over 200 programme cover scans have been added to the excellent
website. Well worth a visit to look at these and the other interesting bits and pieces
Philip Dalling has contributed a history of French speedway to
The article, written in French, can be accessed from the history link on the left hand
Andy Higgs and Dave Osborne are the men behind the brand new 'Speedway
Training Company'. They aim to provide the track time and equipment that will allow
new riders a chance to break into the sport. Training days are being arranged at Stoke
where Ronnie Correy will be on hand to provide advice and assistance. The lads are also
producing a DVD that will provide useful tips to new and intermediate learners. Find out
full details at
"Ah yes I remember it well. Used to support Stoke Potters in those days but made the trip to Ellesmere Port regularly on a Friday. Used to stand along the back straight right by the boards and frighten myself!!! John Jackson, Steve Finch, Phil Collins, Louis Carr, Eric (Bootsy) Monaghan were the team in those days. Correct me if I am wrong but was it not the great Frank Varey on the tractor between races and giving out sweets??? A quick pint in the Gunners before the meeting, Lungs full of methanol and Castrol "R" fumes and a stop-off for a couple of pints and a pie at the Tollemache Arms, Alphraham on the way home to Stoke. High as a kite for a week. The stuff legends are made of! I digress into nostalgic mode, Nice website by the way."
Tracy Holmes looks at the career of the 1973 World Champion, a rider that's seldom
given the credit that most other champions receive.
If you'd like to write an article about a "Rider to Remember" and it doesn't have to be meticulously researched or
cover every aspect of a rider's career, then drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
or use our new Online Form.
Terri is a Belle Vue fan of relatively recent standing, but her family has strong links with the sport as
her father Shane used to sponsor Peter Collins.
Richard Austin is trying to locate or purchase a Liverpool Chads team photograph -
Can You Help?
Our recent "Wouldn't It Be Nice...?" feature was a wish list for the future
of the sport. Here are the additions to the list that our visitors have suggested.
Wouldn't It Be Nice If.....
The man who finished as top scorer from his heats was the winner of the meeting, without having to go out and prove himself again? (Cary Cotterman)
The sport could be controlled by a body independent of the promoters, who all have their own agendas, and who have been responsible for most of the crackpot ideas that give the sport a "Mickey Mouse" image. To name a few, guest riders; playing a joker; double points; strengthening down! (Steve Standere)
GP riders wore race-jackets with their Country's flag and their number on the front so that they were instantly recognizable and didnt look like sandwich boards? (Tracy Holmes)
We returned to the old 13 heat formula? (Duncan Pemberton)
You could look at a result, see a riders points and know how many rides he may have had to get them! (Duncan Pemberton)
Riders were only allowed one foreign team outside Britain? I don't care if it is restricting their trade! (Duncan Pemberton)
Leicester Lions return to the track in the Premier League in 2009, with David Howe as Number 1? (Duncan Pemberton)
Belle Vue's Kirky Lane track produced some decent racing? (Duncan Pemberton)
We got a proper second half and not just ripped off with only 15 races which equals 15 minutes of time? (John Watson)
On the subject of the lack of press coverage mentioned in the original article, the following points were made:
As a supporter of over 47 years standing - Aldershot > Redcar via a lot of tracks on the way - I know you will never get the mainstream media to take a sport seriously that uses guest riders. Until we operate in the same or simliar manner to Sweden and Poland, we will get second rate coverage for what is rightly perceived as a non-sport at club level. (John Sutherland)
The press won't take any interest until most of the other points are sorted out. Fans won't come back either until most of them are sorted out. (Matt Jackson)
A visitor named Roger came up with a six point plan to improve the sport
Yet another year of poor press coverage. My suggestions to improve speedway in general are:
1. Admission prices reduced to £12 adult, £5 OAP and children for Elite League.
2. Free car parking (or at the most 50p).
3. Tracks should not be slick, but deeper to improve the racing.
4. Bring back the Golden Helmet match races for Elite League.
5. Improve spectator facilities.
6. Revert back to the white helmet colour instead of the hideous green.
This week brought sad news of the death of American rider Steve Bast. Steve spent a little
time in the UK with Wembley, but was best known for his exploits on the other side of
In one of life's strange co-incidences we had already planned to bring you this selection
of pictures that feature Steve in racing action.
Cary Cotterman took them at the Irwindale
Speedway in 1970, a short-lived venue near Los Angeles that lasted only one season.
Cary's fascinating photographs also include early shots of Scott Autrey amongst others.
As a tribute to Steve we've decided to continue as planned and publish these photographs,
including a few more of Steve that Cary was able to unearth after the sad news broke.
Graeme first watched the sport at Old Meadowbank in the sixties, he now spends his Saturday
evenings at the Hoddesdon Raceway watching the Premier League champions in action.
Dublin historian George Kearns is looking for information on a Bruce Simmons
or Semmens who rode for Shelbourne Tigers in 1950 - Can You Help?
2007 GLASGOW PICTURE DVD NOW AVAILABLE By Ian Adam
Now that we have completed another Speedway season I thought I would let you all know
about my new Picture DVD.
Titled Ashfield Action 2007 this year's DVD contains approximately 3,000 colour
images, yes 3,000, over 25 meetings which can be viewed on your Pc or Mac, you can print copies for your own use, you will also be able to view them on your TV if you have a DVD player that can handle picture files.
The price will be the same as last year £18 which includes postage to any UK address.
The DVD is available now and will be posted out by First Class post.
Once again a percentage of all sale will be passed onto a Glasgow rider at the start of
the season. In previous years David McAllan (twice), James Cockle, Robert Ksiezak
and Trent Leverington received a donation towards their bills.
"Great pictures, takes me back a few years seeing them. They'll never be another Stadium like Hyde Rd. The Greyhound Stadium isn't a patch on the ol' Hyde Rd, even though it's where the Mecurial Aces started out from.
Hyde rd was one hell of a place to get entertainment, my family and I spent many a happy hour cheering the Aces along as well as the International matches, individual meetings etc. I used to watch the meetings at the Pits bend till I saw sense and moved to the straights, I ended up a lot cleaner as well, use to sit in C Stand when I took my family.
Best Race? There was that many I could fill a book about them, mostly about PC & Mort, Ivan was Ok, but he wasn't a racer, he was a gater. Soren was great also, he's entertaining JC now winning races in Heaven. I'm 60 now, but I used to go when I was a nipper, but took my family when I got married. Don't go as often now though."
"Well John having read the extract from your book I will definitely be a buyer having seen you in action "close up" during my years as a spanner man to Luigi (Billy as you know). I must say I/we did not always agree with your comments but I felt you were at all times professional if sometimes a trifle caustic but by and large one of the best in the job. Good luck for the future down under."
"I am a fan of 58 years, I started at Harringay in 1949 so I've seen them all! I would like to know what has gone wrong with our great sport. I like many others watched the World Cup this year and had to hide my face after telling my friends to watch England. I can remember in the late 60s & 70s we could have put three teams in and won with any of them. I spoke to Gary Havelock and he said 'you know who to blame', so come on promoters get the training schools going to make England number one again as it always should have been."