This new book, available on a CD only, is a remarkably detailed work that contains full biographical and statistical
details of every rider that made their league debut in the 1940's. Further volumes are planned to cover every single rider that
has appeared in British League speedway since 1946. Read our review to find out more about this publication
that's a team effort between Matt Jackson and Hugh Vass.
Matt Jackson has kindly allowed us to reproduce some pages from his new publication. In this PDF
file (which comes in at a hefty 3.9MB) you can read the biographies of Junior Bainbridge, Keith Gurtner and
Tony has been a Belle Vue fan since he was seven and watched many of the sport's greats blast
around Hyde Road.
The auction for this magnificent Jim Blanchard painting of David McAllan continues
on David's website.
You may remember that David was badly injured in a track crash last season and that a benefit
meeting for him is being staged at Glasgow on Sunday 7th September. Full details of the
participants can also be found on the website.
As you may have noticed, the site has been given a bit of a makeover. We'd be interested
to hear your opinion or of any problems you encounter. You can find our contact details on
the Contact Us page.
Thanks to Steve Hone for the photograph of Kevin Doolan that appears at the top of the page.
You can view more of Steve's pictures on his website.
Geoff Scales was intrigued by Rune Holta's engine in last Saturday's Grand Prix - Can You Help?
"What a shame one of the best racing ciruits in the country has been left to go to rack and ruin by the (potentially libellous description removed) council.
Latest news is it will be demolished for housing. What happened to the loss of a football pitch, one of the reasons given when Graham Drury tried to
restart it a few years ago?"
"An excellent piece this. Jack Young is one of my heroes, even though I never saw him race. It is a matter of history that
he won the World Championship as a Second Division Rider. What a great shame that neither he, nor anyone else could do that
from the lower Leagues these days.
The Grand Prix Series is all very well but at the end of the day - only one of SIXTEEN Riders can win it. They are chosen
(qualify??) before the Season even starts. In the good old days of the one off World Final - anyone racing Speedway COULD win it.
Jack may have been the only Second Division Rider to win the Championship - but at least he and all the other Riders had a chance as well.
Grand Prix is just a money making machine. It does not have the same, if you like, charisma as the old World Championship. History means nothing
unless we learn from it. In years gone by - even Ivan Mauger had to qualify for the World Final - he could have missed out. Nowadays you know
before the Season starts who is most likely to win as there are no surprise entrants. Before anyone should mention 'wild cards', they can only
win one Grand Prix NOT the Championship itself.
It is little wonder to me that Speedway is losing (has lost) it's credibility. The JOKER in the World Cup makes the Sport look like 'It's a Knockout'.
In the Leagues - a lower team can be racing against a top team and can build up a bit of a lead early on and then 'HEY PRESTO' out comes the Black and
White Helmet - 'YIPPEE' 8-1 - lower Team loses match.
THIS IS INHERENTLY WRONG. It is like saying that if Manchester United were losing by 2-0 then they can play with an extra player to help the Match be
more exciting. RUBBISH - it would NEVER be allowed, and yet Speedway embraces ideas like this. Why can we not get back to a simple Sport with simple
rules that Supporters and Managers can understand, exciting racing, Matches being won by the Team who rides the best over fifteen Heats, and
NOT the Team who can score an 8-1 in one Heat.
EVERY YEAR THE RULES CHANGE - EVERY YEAR THE CROWDS DECLINE. THAT SURELY SHOULD TELL THE POWERS THAT BE SOMETHING."
"Despite our on-track success and the steady development of our stadium, Scunthorpe Speedway has been through a torrid time recently. We have suffered a series of break-ins and attacks perpetrated by individuals who are camped on the adjoining land. The damage to date has already cost the club £7,000 whilst a pensioner who helps the club was attacked with stones.
Promoter Rob Godfrey is at the end of his tether as the council are now considering making the site a permanent 'travellers' site, a move that would almost certainly spell the end of the club. The club is now urging anyone who would like to see Scunthorpe Speedway continue to register their objection on the North Lincs Council website at http://www.northlincs.gov.uk/gypsyandtravellersites. It may also be useful to lobby MP Elliott Morley. His e-mail address is EmorleyMP@aol.com.
If anyone has enjoyed their visit to Scunthorpe (to watch or ride), is looking forward to visiting in the future, feel we are a welcome addition to the sport or worthy ambassadors for our town I would urge you to let the council know. Whilst we are lucky to have had speedway for the last four years a little of your time could go a long way to ensuring we survive."
Trevor Davies' new book on armed forces racing is a valuable addition to the
sport's written history. The stories and pictures from over sixty years ago are captured in this
extensive and well presented book.
Ivan Mauger has been amongst those praising the book:
"Congratulations on doing the book. I have always been intrigued with Wartime speedway, when and where it took place and how a lot of the
post-war riders got started."
"Congratulations to Geoff Langley on his Riders to Remember article on Jack Young. We all discover speedway at a different point in time, and have different favorites from that time. Also, many of us just missed greats who, looking back, we would loved to have seen. I first saw speedway in Norwich in 1962 and consider that I just missed two great riders who I would love to have seen ride, and who retired just a little while earlier. Those two were the great Aub Lawson, and the legendary Jack Young.
For me there were others too, such as Split Waterman (still fondly referred to by Terry Wogan). Looking on the bright side I treasure the clear memories I have of Peter Craven in full flight at the Firs, doing battle with Ove Fundin and Olle Nygren, both heroes of my times, not to forget Terry Betts, whose skill I was able to enjoy for many years. Thanks Geoff, great article, with several things I did not know about Jack, and Jackie Biggs."
"I remember watching the Chads at the Stanley Track in the late 40s,early 50s. Another rider, apart from Reg Duval and Harry Welch, was Charlie Oates, who had a motor-cycle shop not far away. Speedway had folded by the mid-50s, I think, but revived as has been said for a short time in the late 50s. We had big crowds in the 40s/50s period, with a thriving supporters club and they were exciting times. I still have my speedway programmes, although Football and LFC was and is my first love, and I remember those days very fondly. From 'The Penketh Pedant'"
More pictures from super-contributor Charles Mckay, this time from another
You'll find Jeff Scott from Methanol Press
selling his fabulous speedway books at the following meetings over the next few weeks:
7th August Peterborough
8th August Lakeside
17th August Swindon
25th August Scunthorpe
27th August Somerset
14th September Buxton
20th September Berwick
21st September Sheffield
Matt Jackson and Hugh Vass are producing a complete record of every British League rider since 1946 and are making
this available via cd. The first volume is available now for £9.99, full details are available at
Mark Coombs is looking for photographs from the 1972 meeting at Hackney when he raced against
John Noakes and Peter Purves from Blue Peter - Can You Help?
"Just a couple of points about an
EXCELLENT summing up of Speedway. First of all Andy there are some FAIR Tracks around. I am a Redcar Supporter and we do see some very good
racing at the South Tees Motor Park - so you cannot tar all Promotors with the same brush.
I agree 100% with you about the Programmes - why sell an A4 Programme that does not fit the average Programme Board - Stupid. I also agree that
if you see how much you pay per minute of action (about 15 minutes at a normal Meeting) then Speedway is expensive - however - Speedway machines
are also expensive, Fuel, Rider's Pay, Maintenance of Track, Marketing etc. ALL cost money. All in all I think for this day and age - the cost is fair enough at most Tracks.
Where I most certainly agree with you is that the development
of the actual Bikes themselves has, to my mind, caused more trouble than enough. By and large the shape/length of Track has not changed in
eighty years - however - the Bikes themselves have got faster and faster. It is, to me, no surprise that we seem to be having a lot more
injuries these days than in the past.
I think, and I know it will be controversial, that the Bikes are now way too powerful. The Sport will learn eventually that you can only go
so fast on a Speedway Track. SPEED DOES NOT IMPROVE THE RACING - and it is RACING we want to see - it is the skill of the Riders
that do that. I think that the Sport needs a total re-think. If necessary EVERYONE should go back to the old two valve engines. In the old days
there were not as many injuries (Rider safety should be paramount), the engines cost a lot less to buy and maintain and the EXCITEMENT
(which sells tickets) was in many ways greater than it is today. Certain Motor Sports are always striving for more speed but Speedway lends
itself to watching skillful Riders racing each other in an enclosed environment. THERE IS ONLY SO FAST YOU CAN SAFELY GO - I think
we have passed that point NOW. REMEMBER - IT IS THE RACING THAT COUNTS - NOT THE SPEED."