Neil Burston has just completed his most exciting project to date - fully
restoring the bike that carried Jack Young to the World Title at Wembley in 1951. The Clem
Mitchell JAP will hopefully be going on public display in Australia in the near future, but
here's an early opportunity to take a look at it.
While stocks last, there's a credit crunch book sale on at Methanol Press.
The 2008 Yearbook is now exceptional value at £5 (plus P&P)
Shale Britannia is £9.99 (plus P&P) while Shifting Shale is £10 (plus P&P)
You can save on the postage by buying them from Jeff Scott's stall at High
Beech/Paradise Park (Sunday February 8th) or the Speedway Fayre at Ryton
(Sunday 22nd February)
"Time perhaps to introduce a revamped
INTERNATIONAL STAR CHAMPIONSHIP for all riders to enter. Let's find who really is the best rider in the World! These grand prix CIRCUSES are
just a financial magic circle for a select few. Those British riders who refuse to ride in Britain should have their track licences to race
"Why pass on a narrow
track if you can trap eh? And by the way I had the tape a metre up my sleeve when we measured it at the end, yes it was a bit narrow. By the way
who holds the track record? Paisley was a great time - the start of British summers as they are known now and a great team atmosphere with some
"Having looked at this top 20 in 1969, then
seen Tracy Holmes suggested supplementary list and read the obituary to Bob Kilby it made me realise that although speedway is a so-called
minority sport we have been blessed with some fantastic stars down the years, most of them showing a standard of class and sportsmanship
that would be a credit to any sport. Bob Kilby was never quite world class but that does not diminish the priviledge of having seen him compete.
"Awesome" is an over-worked adjective these days but it is the only word that genuinely describes Bob off the starting gate.
For a long
time now I have been getting tired of the moaners and groaners (probably "armchair" spectators who rarely see a live match ) who want to complain
that some detail about points or tatical rides or some other triviality has upset them. For my it has been its been a such a pleasure to
have seen Bob Kilby and many of the others mentioned, plus so many that still keep up the sports best tradtions, like Adam Sheilds, Dave Watt,
Bjarne Pedersen and many others. So come on Speedway fans, lets look at the positives and put the complaints to one side for a while.
Roll on next season !"
Who do you fancy for this year's Ultimate League? Midlothian Panthers or
Brighton Sharks perhaps? These are just two of the teams that will be
participating in the ninth consecutive season of the Sim Speedway online
This year the game's Ultimate League, its top level competition, will
be sponsored by Speedway Plus.
In this article you can find out more about this incredibly detailed management
simulation and find out how you can put your name down on the waiting list
for a place.
Former rider Marcus Williams recently organised Kyle Newman's successful
trip to Australia, giving the young Brit some invaluable experience - both on and off track.
Here he tells us about the trip and ambitious plans to extend the scheme to help more kids
next year. He'd also be delighted to hear from anyone that's in a position to help him in
his efforts to help others.
"Johnno has been a great guy for speedway
all over the world, and he has given a lot of his time to speedway in Great Britain. A very happy-go-lucky guy, always up for a bit of fun.
Always tries his hardest, and gives good value for money. If we could have a few more characters like him in the sport, it would be much more
interesting. Johnno well deserved a testimonial, a great guy, and a great sportsman."
"Loved the story about the lowly Lions hammering the then mighty Diamonds in 1975. Remember the meeting and some wins always gave you more pleasure than others, this one in particular being especially sweet-for all his famed magical abilities, Ian Thomas couldn't figure out what stunt had been pulled on him, other than he was certain he'd been conned-think there was an adjustable tape measure being used on the night in question. Wouldn't necessarily agree that there wasn't a lot of passing at Love St, as there were plenty of entertaining meetings there, but enjoyed the piece nevertheless."
"I rode speedway slightly later than Eddie, but I regularly attended Odsal in the late forties and fifties. I seem to recall that there was a period when he was a sales representative for Millers Oil of Brighouse, about three miles from Mirfield. Before speedway I rode on Grasstrack and I remember Eddie entered for one event. However, the surfaces were very different and he came off at the first bend. From memory he broke an arm or a wrist. He always came across as a nice guy and was popular with the Odsal crowd."
"I am probably from the same era as Dudley and can agree with some of the points in his first article. I do not know the history of Queensway Meadows or the money which built it but could not help but be amazed that a track which appears to be purpose built is so narrow and non-conducive to good racing. Even if the racing is good there are very few decent vantage points. The stadium has been built lower than the track. By the time a decent viewing height is reached the distance from the track is too great for atmosphere. I visited every year as part of the 'Grand Prix Weeknd' taking in a league match, Cardiff then the 'Welsh Open'. This must have been a great money spinner in the first couple of years. Unfortunately, the presentation and track preparation were pretty woeful and the quality of rider was not always of the highest calibre. I still continued to attend to the 'end' but the crowds diminished dratically - a golden opportunity lost. I hope that the new promotion can tempt back the fans (I recall that they had a large an noisy travelling support a few years ago. These people still exist but may take a good product to tempt them back.
Dudley's view of the Grand Prix Series seems to me to be a little blinkered. The 'I've never been because it does not agree with my opinion
so it must be rubbish' attitude is hardly balanced. I watched Fundin win at Wembley in 1967 and Penhall in '81 and Mike Lee in Gothenberg etc.
Dudley seems to blame the irregular race nights on SGP and makes the example of Ipswich. Surely the main reason for irregular nights is to
suit the Sky TV filming. GPs are always on Saturday night with practice on the Friday so I can see how tracks on these nights will suffer.
However, were they so much better off when their riders had to compete in the world championship Q Rs, the British semi finals, British Final,
Inter-Continental Final, European Finals etc? I have been to every Cardiff GP and have thoroughly enjoyed every visit. Dudley's opinion
is that these riders are not world champions - presumably Lewis Hamilton is not a world champion (or Damon Hill / Schumaker /
Ayrton Senna - Manchester United have never been the top team in England etc). I well remember world finals with many of the Eastern
European contingent having no chance of points except from each other or other riders misfortunes. The track was so alien to them
that it would have been more fruitful to have thrown in a couple of British League reserves."
Another former speedway stadium is no more this month. Love Street, the former home of the
Paisley Lions (and St Mirren FC) is being flattened to allow construction of a supermarket
to go ahead. John Callaghan recalls a most memorable meeting staged at
Love Street in 1975, the night when Newcastle Diamonds came to town and kicked up a fuss
about the tight dimensions of the track - leading to some adhoc track alterations before
the meeting could go ahead.
Some of you may remember John from his legendary columns in the Milton Keynes programmes and
his 'NL90' book.
"I would only drop 2, Grosskruetz and Kitchen. These 2 would join the 2nd list that would be Freddie Williams, Igor Plechanov, Nigel Boocock, Andrzej Wyglenda, Sir Ole Olsen, Anders Michanek, Peter Collins, Malcolm Simmons, Mike Lee, Bruce Penhall, Erik Gundersen, Jan O Pedersen, Sam Ermolenko, Per Jonsson, Tony Rickardsson, Leigh Adams, Jason Crump and Nicki Pedersen. The 2 that would take their place? Ivan Mauger and Hans Nielsen. "
"First time look at website; Garry Middleton story fascinating, Brought back many memories of the late 60's early 70's for me. Always interesting to learn about a prominent riders life after speedway but of course in this case very little is known, which makes it even more intriguing. Keep up the good work."
"I only discovered this site this week and it is excellent for 'old timers' like me though I do want to keep in touch with current events as well. Shame Australian speedway is in an even worse state than it was when I first came here from London. Now I spend more time in Singapore than Sydney but makes no difference as there is no league racing in either country to speak of and at least I get six nights a week football in Singapore unlike Australia which shuts down during the week LOL Keep up the good work."
"I would like to see the top 8 riders from last season handicapped 15 yards in all GPs next season. Plus no choosing gates in semi final or the final, gate positions to be drawn out of the hat. They're bound to moan but that's tough, they will have to accept the terms or get out of the Grand Prixs and let the young guns in who will ride their hearts out just to be in the GPs"
We turn the clock back forty years to see Ron Hoare's list of the
twenty greatest riders ever - as published in a 1969 edition of Speedway Star magazine.
We welcome your thoughts on the list, both in terms of whether our view of these early
stars has changed and on how the list should be amended to reflect events since
it was compiled.
"Great article Tracy.
Rick (Fred) was probably my all time
hero behind Hans Nielsen and Simon Wigg. When I was a kid I used to meet Rick at his workshop at the Stadium
to help him clean his bikes and sweep the pits
out. Rick was a 'Superstar' Tracy. Anyone going out in a race risking their life for us is a 'Superstar'"
"How I agree with Dudley on the things he had to say,
Todays promoters seem happy with the crowds they get, as the numbers go down so they put the admission price up. As for the grand-prix yes it's
good in some
ways and not in others, British speedway should start to move on, and run meetings on Saturday nights if that is their race night,
most speedway followers
today have means of recording the grand-prix. The main problem for the change of race-nights is Sky, and their Monday
nights. The answer is to race on one
set night of the week, and to cut down on the amount of overseas riders in English speedway, so that the
supporters have English riders which they feel are
part of the make up of the club, and to cut the admission prices. "
"While Mr Jones is obviously entitled to his
opinion, I think he is falling into the trap of seeing the past through slightly rose tinted specs. While I agree with his points about the nature of teams
building and meeting presentation, I find his views about GP speedway to be a little out of touch with reality. Sure, it is a limited group, but so is
formula one motor racing. Is Lewis Hamilton therefore not a worthy World Champion? Also although the "Old System" World Championship was open to all, the
'best rider in the world' in any particular year, could be stopped from being World Champion, by being knocked off by someone or having any manner of
unfortunate mechanical or health issues.
Certainly it is a fact that the GP interferes with league racing in this country at the moment, but the direction
that the B.S.P.A. are pushing the sport in at the moment, largely makes that an irrelevance, as they reduce the points limit, and insist on racing so many
matches each season, the GP racers will largely be absent in any case. Thus the impact of the GPs will be removed, for better or for worse, depending on your
point of view. For my part, I would rather see four guys of roughly the same standard, battling for four laps each race than see Leigh Adams (with no
disrespect towards intended him personally) running half a lap clear and the race being for second and third place. I realise that there will be many in our
sport who will disagree with me, but also there will be many who disagree with Mr Jones. The GP vs World Final argument will be around as long as speedway
survives I reckon, so long may it continue!"