Norman selects his all-time favourite seven. He includes Darcy Ward and hopes that he'll be back riding in 2015.
It's 40 years ago this year since the Paisley Lions were formed. To commemorate the event a Birthday party is scheduled to take place in Paisley on Saturday 26 September.
A number of former Lions have already indicated that they will be attending, including one who will be flying in from the other side of the world, and the organiser is initmating that any ex riders and fans (of any team) who are interested in attending should contact Bill Elliot, as the level of interest will determine if the event will go ahead.
"Noticed a request for a photo of Mildura in 2015. It is taken from the first turn looking back down the main straight. There is more banking on the track, although the photo doesn't show it. The pits have been moved from behind bends 3 & 4 to now being behind the main straight. The pit entrance is now immediately behind the judging box at the start line. The spectator area also appears flatter, possibly to accommodate temporary grand stands."
"Anyone considered the derelict land out on Fields Farm Road near to Forbes Hole Nature Reserve? No-one is using the site (and it's been derelict for years), no houses right nearby as it's industrialised and right on one of the main roads into the town. Parking wouldn't be an issue as the Industrial units wouldn't be open in the evenings, and traffic could be managed (and a damn sight easier than at Station Road). I would have thought it was a perfect site!"
Tracy Holmes turns the clock back 41 years to recall a memorable pairs event at Palmerston North.
If you enjoyed Arnie Gibbons' series on Speedway's Civil War then you may be interested to read the Shawcross Report that led to the formation of the British League. It's now avalilable on the 1965 page of the Speedway Researcher website.
"Saw Rickardsson race a few times in Australia during the 1990's. The first was at North Arm in Adelaide when he was part of the touring Swedish team that defeated the Aussies 3-2 in a 1991 test series. Also saw him race a few times in the Series 500 (Australian Masters Series) during the mid-late 90's when the show visited the Wayville Showground. He won the inaugural Series 500 in 1995 from Simon Wigg and Sam Ermolenko and finished 3rd behind Craig Boyce (1st) and Ermolenko in 1996. He was every bit as good as people say he was."
"I started going in the mid fifties to Blackbird Road and I have to say it was one of the best Tracks in England. Racing was always good there but the team didn't have much in the way of home Team advantage, as it was such a fair Circuit. Nice to see these Photos again. "
"It's a shame for speedway these days to have so many sub-standard riders, back in the late seventies we had a GB team go to Oz / NZ to do the winter tour. As the Oz scene has died no one cares anymore, If the sport had bog standard motor from the factory untouched for the season unless it blows up then we would see a down turn in costs, no body cares about super fast times just a good old close race for 1st to 3rd, not enough passing like it was in the 1970s, "
"I think you will find that the Wayville track is big. I saw the 500 series there and they cut the laps down to 3 per heat, Reason given was that it was blowing up / making the engines too hot to work with. AGAIN the powers to be, need a good long hard look at Gillman."
"Because of its small size (142 metres or 155 yards), Pinjar Park is used for both senior and junior racing. It also has had a few American visitors in its short life as its very similar to the length of the tracks in California (such as Costa Mesa) where most of the motorcycle speedway there takes place. When at home in Perth (and he's actually racing and not taking time off), Pinjar Park is the home track of 2013 World Champion Tai Woffinden."
"More noted as a car track, regularly hosting Sprintcars, Speedcars (Midgets) and Super Sedans, Borderline has also hosted a round of the Aussie Solo Championship (2007) and also hosts sidecar racing. The track surface is clay and Borderline Speedway is 372 metres (407 yards) in length."
"Re;Australian GP 2015 It should have gone to Gillman in Adelaide in South Australia, it's just the place for great racing, Dave Parker has done wonders to the place and with MA and the council chipping in some money it would be THE place to hold the GP. "
"You can rule the ekka out as it fails to conform to FIM standards and due to the infra structure it is virtually impossible to carry out alterations. The ANZAC stadium was considered but there are transport logistics that rules this one out. The Wayville showground has similar problems to the ekkka to re construct the track to FIM. Victoria has a good base of vintage interest in speedway and I am sure that an inner city location is a wise choice. There are movements to have many speedway related events in the lead up and beyond the SGP date including Broadmeadow on the sunday and Mildura the following weekend."
After years of Danish domination, it was time for another country to take the spoils. Which nation would be wearing the Grin by the end of the evening?
The site relies heavily on contributions and assistance from so many people within the speedway family. In our final update of the year, we'd like to pay particular thanks to all those who have helped us make it through another year. With sincere apologies to anyone we've missed, here this year's roll of appreciation:
* Keith Avery
* Gerry Bates
* Ivan Blacka
* Neil Burrows
* Stuart Calvert
* John Chaplin
* Graham Cooke
* Ivor Craine
* Frank Crook
* Philip Dalling
* Ray Davidson
* Bill Elliot
* Reg Fearman
* Zdenenk Flajshanz
* John Fray
* Arnie Gibbons
* Ian Gill
* Paul Goodwin
* Michael Hansen
* Ian Harwoood
* Peter Heinzl
* Jim Henry
* Gareth Hinton
* Dave Hitchen
* Tracy Holmes
* Peter Hunter
* John Hyam
* Geoff Langley
* Nick Lee
* Gillian Marks
* Tony McDonald
* Charles McKay
* Paul Monroe
* Tom Newey
* Ken Nicholson
* Ryan Penhall
* Seth Perkin
* Ian Presslie
* Phil Rice
* Robert Rogers
* Jeff Scott
* Ralph Smith
* Stuart Towner
* Paul Waites
* David Walsh
* Tony Webb
* Howie Zechner
I'm sure nobody will mind us singling out Tracy Holmes for special thanks. Tracy contributes more articles than anyone else and always manages to raise a smile with his inimitable writing style. Tracy's other big love is classic TV series 'Auf Wiedersehen Pet', if you're ever struggling to work out what he's talking about, then there's a fair chance he's working an Auf Pet reference into the text.
"It was a pity Todd Wiltshire got injured like he did at the 1992 Aussie title at the old North Arm Speedway in Adelaide, that put a halt to his career for about 5 years. I was at North Arm that night and saw him crash. It looked fairly harmless until he didn't get up. And apparently (from what I've been told by others who were there in an official capacity) he would have been ok if not for a light tower located directly behind the kickboard where he hit.
As for Leigh Adams.....the best rider I've seen who never won the World Championship. Won 10 Aussie titles though (the record by 4 over the late Billy Sanders), plus 4 Aussie Under-21 titles, the 1992 World Under-21 Championship and a 3 time World Cup/Team Cup winner. And despite the injury he's reportedly doing well. He's even provided television commentary for World Series Sprintcars here in Australia so he is definitely recognised as an Aussie speedway legend by both the car and bike brigades."
"Thank you for this piece Gareth, I very much enjoyed it! He certainly won THE biggest events he could enter. On top of those 6 World Titles were 3 World Cups as you said, 3 CZ Golden Helmets, 2 ELRC titles and was World Pairs Champion. I never get sick of watching him beat Hans Nielsen and Craig Boyce in the 1994 World Final Gold Medal run-off, genius! A true Mega-Star of the modern era. Cannot argue with him being just as you say, 'The Best' !"
"Australia will finally see the return of international speedway with the 2015 SGP of Australia to be held on an artificial track in the 53,000 seat Etihad Stadium (another one with a retractable roof) in Melbourne.
While I can fully understand Etihad Stadium being chosen to stage the event (which has a 5 year contract), I do find it hard to understand that they are taking the meeting to a city which has had no regular speedway track since the Melbourne Speedbowl shut down in the late 1980's. The Sydney public didn't really show a lot of interest back in 2002 (though a crowd of 32,000 is nothing to sneeze at), but Sydney had not had regular motorcycle speedway racing since Liverpool shut down in 1989. Sure there is the poorly attended Nepean Speedway in the north-western suburbs, but motorcycle speedway in NSW had basically been running out of Newcastle and Gosford for 13 years (with the odd meeting at both the old and new Sydney Showgrounds).
For mine, the better choices would have been to use either the Ekka in Brisbane or the Wayville Showground in Adelaide. Both successfully staged meetings of the Series 500 that ran from 1995 until 1999 and both were known to draw big crowds to international meetings. For whatever reason the Ekka never really got a look in, but Wayville was considered by the SGP management in the late 1990's. Unfortunately they decided that Wayville wasn't up to standard and that was the end of that, though considering some of the venues the SGP has used over the years most felt that it sounded more like an excuse not to have to leave the European/British comfort zone than any valid reason.
But Melbourne, despite having run speedway for many years, has not had one for many years so who knows what the local attendance will be? I know there will be a number of people coming from interstate (Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane and Sydney) and there will be those who come from overseas....I just hope that the 2015 SGP of Australia attracts a good (30,000+) crowd and shows that speedway in Australia does have a future."
"Update on update; September 19. Vojens International Classic. Vojens, Denmark. I don't have heat details but Collins won with 14 points, beaten only by Ivan Mauger. 1st COLLINS 14, 2nd O.Olsen 13, 3rd G. Kennett 13. Simmons scored 4. So final score; Collins 12, Simmons 7."
"There are more surprises in store when you consider a whopping 15,848 are into knitting, while a measly 314 enjoy going to pubs and nightclubs. Are we turning into a nation of couch potatoes? However, when you consider The Guardian readers are over represented by a factor of 30 and 15 in relation to The Sun and Mirror, then maybe we shouldn't worry too much about the few respondents who like speedway! "
"Just some info. Claremont Speedway opened on 14 May 1927 and had its final meeting on 31 March 2000 making it Australia's longest running speedway. The track was some 561 metres (614 yards) long. It was initially used for bike racing and the biggest star in the early years of the speedway was Sig Schlam. Due to its size it also catered to car racing with Speedcars (Midgets), Saloons and Super Modifieds (which in the 1970's became Sprintcars). The track was a regular host of the Western Australian Solo Championship until its closure and saw many great home grown riders such as Chum Taylor and his son Glynn, David Cheshire and Glenn Doyle. Claremont also hosted the Aussie title of just about every category run in Australia from Solos, Sidecars to Sprintcars, and in 1987 hosted the only official World Sprintcar Championship ever run. Claremont was promoted as "The National Capital of Speed" and with its sheer size few would dispute that claim."
"I found out recently that Wayville was considered as a venue for the Speedway Grand Prix of Australia back in the late 1990's. From what I have been told (by someone who was involved in the bidding process), the SGP management decided against it because they felt the showground was not up to scratch with its facilities (it wouldn't have needed much work to change that and for an World Championship event the South Australian Government would have definitely funded most of that). Considering some of the venues the series has used since 1995 I think that sounded more like an excuse not to have to have to travel outside of Europe for the series than any sort of valid reason.
Pity really because Wayville has a rich heritage of speedway dating back to 1926. In fact, the main arena/speedway still looks the same today (2014) as it did 80 or 90 years ago. Its been preserved extremely well and is one of Adelaide's major outdoor entertainment venues. It's centrally located less than 2km from the CBD and within a short walk (less than 10 minutes) from train and bus services. Just about everyone who rode there loved the place. It's big, fast with wide open turns that allows for good racing. And when they had the international meetings annually from 1986-1999 they always got capacity crowds so the public support was definitely there."
"I lived in Cornwall for 3 years and never missed a Trelawny match. I loved the place. Chris Harris, Matej Zagar, Ben Barker - I watched them all when they were Trelawny Tigers. Very sad when it had to go. Matches against Exeter were always great."
"How it took so long for a Speedway World Championship Final to be held in Australia I'll never know. Not only did we give speedway to the world back in the 1920's but we had some brilliant speedways that could easily have hosted a World Final or two or more....Sydney Showground, Rowley Park, Claremont Speedway, Brisbane Exhibition Ground. But when we got one it was at.....Liverpool, the only major speedway in the country that didn't have a safety fence on the outside of the motorbike track!!!
In 1974 they actually needed special permission from the NSW State Government to build the track without a fence on the infield of the original speedway after the "D" shaped track had a surface change from dirt/clay to asphalt (following the American trend for saloon car racing). I guess it helped that the promoter of Liverpool, Mike Raymond, was also a motorsport television commentator with Channel 7 in Sydney (notably being the lead commentator at the Bathurst 1000 touring car race for over 20 years). He could guarantee first class television coverage for the Pairs Final without any problems. Strange, after the 1982 WF in Los Angeles, LA got a few World Team Cup Finals during the 1980's, but Australia had to wait until 2002 when the SGP series raced in Sydney before they returned. And even then it was a one-off. We haven't had one since, though that will change in 2015."
"It was Malmo Stadium that they used for the World Final in 1961 I believe. I guess that's what you are referring to. The very same stadium where local football team Malmo FF used to play. As far as I know the track they use now was built at a later time."
"Billy Sanders knew after his last ride (another win) that his fall against the West Germans had cost he and Gary Guglielmi the title, you could see in his reaction. He's won his heat yet hung his head on the handlebars knowing that all England needed was 4 points against the Kiwis. Shame really, Billy deserved to win more than one World Championship (he was part of the Aussie team that won the 1973 World Team Cup). The referee at the meeting, Sam Bass, was a police detective and later a state parliament politician in his home town of Adelaide (also my home town). Bass may have been straight as a dye as a speedway referee (I believe his son or brother actually rode solo's at Rowley Park), but for a number of years there were heavy rumours that he was a bent cop...all denied of course and nothing was ever proven."
"Update; June 28. Westernapolis. Exeter. Heat 11. SIMMONS, COLLINS, D. Wyer, K. Holden. Semi-Final. COLLINS, SIMMONS, C. Morton. K. Holden. Final. COLLINS, SIMMONS, D. Morton, R. Eide. So going into the World Final was closer than I thought; Simmons 6, Collins 5. And that makes the final score; Collins 11, Simmons 7. "
"The End of Wimbledon. News, that AFC Wimbledon have officially submitted a planning application for a new football stadium on the Plough Lane site. The application is for an 11,000 seater stadium which can be extended to 20,000. The proposal also include 600 residential unitsm retail and commercial space, and a leisure club. The football club have carried out extensive public consultation over the summer with positive feedback. If approved by Merton council, it would spell the end for any lingering hopes of speedway returning to Plough Lane. "
"Eric & I were old buddies from late 1946 when we started a cycle speedway team in Southall , Middx --- Ascot Aces & later the Southall Hammers . We graduated to REAL speedway. Eric bought a bike ( JAP engine ) which I shared with him just before he went into the army. I decided to buy a bike and we tried out at Aldershot track along with Eric Hockaday. I crashed so many times & removed flesh & bones too often so I quit & left the country! I reconnected with Eric Jolly & Eric Hockaday a little over a year ago & I wished I'd done it sooner."
"re Cleveland Park don't remember him commentating at Cleveland Park - in fact I don't remember anyone commentating! You had a friend who ran the Fiesta and you went to the speedway once. Am I missing something?"
Something rather special this week to help lift the end of season blues. Ian Gill dives into both his memory and imagination in this piece which tells the tale of an incredible meeting from 1973. He imagines how it might have looked through the eyes of the Sky TV cameras.
Chris Morton partnered old friend Peter Collins in the 1984 final in Lonigo. Tracy Holmes talks us through the action is his latest installment of doublespeak.
Thanks to all who responded to last week's query about the true identity of Liverpool's Gary Lindsay. Reg Fearman has confirmed it was Ken Sharples. A 54 year old mystery solved.
Derek Hindle is looking for a copy of a video called "Ronnie Moore - The Legend Lives On". His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Coventry fan Alan Boon has put together a list of demands for the 2015 season that is well worth reading. Check it out on his
Friends of Speedway (a non-profit making organisation who are proud to sponsor the British Youth Championship - formerly the Under 15's) are pleased to announce the 55th edition of their magazine the Voice which is packed full of interest and enjoyment. This issue is a big 24 pages, which will keep your interest for hours!
In this issue David Telfer gives his inevitable views on speedway in general and the best televised meeting to date; Annette Maybach gives her thoughts on the past season; 'Slider' gives his views on speedway; Tom Newey describes his speedway collection; Charles Mckay reports on Ambulance and Medical cover; Sue Towner reflects on the last season; Roy Delaney says 'just love mouldy old dough'; John Hyam on the Pirates and Midget cars v speedway bikes; John Chaplin on the Second Noel and Geoff Bennett and Editor Stuart Towner reports on the California Reunion and much more too.
Available from Friends of Speedway; 117 Church Lane, Chessington, Surrey KT9 2DP.
Please send your cheque for £10 made out to the above for four issues of the Voice to Stuart Towner at the above address or ring 0208-397 6599 for more information.
"I was a "pusher" then colour marshall at Sunderland in Jack's early days. While his on track image was macho and agressive, back in the pits he was a guy with a great sense of humour and generosity. I remember him riding at Teesside (Middlesborough) appearing wearing a viking style helmet and black cape in the introductions. He insisted on speaking on the mike while he was being introduced and confidently announced that he was "too good for this place", to a chorus of loud booing from the home fans and cheering from us visitors. He went on to score a 12 point maximum. What a character!"
"I was in the entertainment business for forty-five years, during which I met Colin Hutchinson, the general manager of the Fiesta Club in Stockton. Colin and I became friends and he told me he commentated at Middlesborough Speedway, hence at his invitation I paid my one and only visit to the stadium. Following his managerial expertise at The Fiesta, Colin moved on become managing director at Carlisle United Football Club. His next move was to take over as MD at Wimbledon Football Club, but his main claim to fame was being offered the position as Managing Director at Chelsea FC under the chairmanship of Ken Bates. It was Colin who first introduced such great Italian players as Vialli and Gianfranco Zola to the Premier League, also Dutch ace Rudd Gullet. There is another motor cycle involvement that involved Colin Hutchinson, he was the announcer and commentator for the televised Sunday afternoon scrambling meetings that became so popular in the sixties. "