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The Non-Essential Guide to....Scunthorpe Speedway

Ken McKinlay
Nicky Allott

When was Speedway first staged in Scunthorpe?
The first meeting was held in May 1971 when the Scunthorpe Saints defeated the Hull Vikings by 39 points to 38. Top man on the night was Geoff Bouchard who scored a flawless 12 point maximum for the Saints. A further 14 meetings were staged that year as the circuit operated on an open licence. The Saints also made a solitary away appearance at Boston.

What happened next?
The Saints were admitted to the British League Division 2 in 1972 but the campaign was not a huge success. The side finished bottom of the table and won only five of their thirty two league matches. The side lacked top end strength and number one rider Brian Maxted averaged only 6.36 in a season punctuated by injury.

Did things get better in the years that followed ?
They did to some extent. The side typically finished in the lower reaches of the table but the teams they fielded were never as weak as in that first season. Riders like Ken McKinlay, Tony Childs and Nicky Allott proved to be solid scorers and added a degree of respectability to the results.

Where did they race?
The Saints raced at Quibell Park from 1971 until 1978. This was an athletics stadium with seated accommodation for more than 1000. The track was actually used by both the athletes and the bikes. The condition of the circuit was a regular subject of heated debate and these arguments eventually led to the Speedway being evicted.

Rob Woffinden
Kevin Teager

Was that the end for Scunny?
No, a new circuit was built from scratch at Ashby Ville. Facilities were virtually non-existent but it remained home until the club closed down in May 1985. Incidentally the team were nicknamed the Stags throughout the Ashby Ville years. Riders like Phil White, Julian Parr, Kevin Teager, Rob Woffinden and Andy Buck were big terracing favourites in that era. Woffinden was once memorably described as "probably the most famous person to ever come from Scunthorpe".

Were the Stags any more successful than the Saints?
Not really, with the notable exception of the 1983 season when the Stags finished fifth in the league. That was the only year in which Scunthorpe ever finished in the top 12 of any league! Nigel Crabtree led the way that season with an average in excess of nine points a meeeting.

Why did the club fold in 1985 ?
The numbers coming through the turnstiles were simply insufficient. It was rumoured that around six hundred pounds were lost at each meeting in that aborted season. Strangely enough the facilities at the track were better than they'd ever been as some cover had been added.

Is that where the Scunthorpe story ends?
No, although for many years it looked like that would be the case. In 2003 Norman Beeney and Rob Godfrey launched a junior side named the Scunthorpe Scorpions. They raced meetings at Hull's Craven Park and at least a team wearing Scunthorpe racejackets was back on track. This exercise was solely a means to an end and the objective was always to open a new track in Scunny and see a side competing in proper league racing.

Carter
Compton

Have those objectives been achieved?
They certainly have. The Scunthorpe Scorpions will line up in the Conference League this season (2005) racing out of their new Normanby Road home. The new stadium was built on a site previously used by a model airplane club. The facilities are still developing but the track has drawn praise from all who have raced on it. The team looks strong and is led by former Wolves rider Wayne Carter. He's a guaranteed high scorer at that level. Carter will be supported by David Speight, Benji Compton, Danny Norton, Richie Dennis, Dean Wilson and Grant Hayes.

Where can I find out more about the Scorpions?
At their website - http://www.scunthorpe-speedway.co.uk.


Thanks to stevedixonphotography.co.uk

 

This article was first published on 26th March 2005


 

Gaz Butcher:

"I go past the new track every day! Can't wait for them to get going again, it will be very emotional after all these years."

  • Paul Newcombe:

    "I live in Doncaster and can not wait to go to speedway in Scunthorpe in March. I went to Scunthorpe speedway in the 70s and am looking forward to going back on a Sunday - the only day I have off work"

  • Brian Buck:

    "As a long-time supporter of Birmingham Speedway (since 1953) and a speedway enthusiast in general, I would like to wish the new promotion at Scunthorpe every possible success, and look forward to the day when I can also see my team back on the tracks again.

    I hope that for your opening meeting your turnstile operators are swamped with queues stretching back a couple of miles, that you sell out of programmes and that your bar runs dry!

    I hope to get there for the opener, but if I can't I shall be the poorer for missing it. Good luck to your team for the new season."

  • Jim Henry:

    "As joint editor of The Speedway Researcher I am impressed by the historical items in this web site. We like to publish items on history related topics and would be happy to publish a back history of Scunthorpe (Quibell and Ashby Ville) if anyone fancies getting their pens out.

    Did you know of the pre war venture in the Scunthorpe area - at Thorne in 1930?"

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