Home Contact Us Stadia Pix Articles All About You Riders to Remember
DVDs Books Pictures Archive Dream Teams Programme Generator
28/02/2021
2020 Review - Part 4
Still Flying High
Your Feedback
 
21/02/2021
2020 Review - Part 3
Harold MacNaughton
Your Feedback
 
14/02/2021
Olle Nygren
2020 Review - Part 2
Your Feedback
 
07/02/2021
2020 Review - Part 1
Your Feedback
 
31/01/2021
Debut: Joe Screen
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
24/01/2021
Review: Blood & Cinders
Your Feedback
 
17/01/2021
Tai Deserves a Gong
The J.A.P is Modern Art
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
03/01/2021
Snapshots of Yesteryear
Snapshots of Yesteryear
Snapshots of Yesteryear
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
27/12/2020
The Polish Problem
Mauger, Nielsen. World Finals.
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
16/12/2020
Simon Wigg Racing Plus!
 
10/12/2020
Review: Saving Speedway
 
06/12/2020
Great Races of the 70s/80s
The BLRC 1984
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
22/11/2020
Book Review: Dave Jessup
The BLRC 1983
Leif "Basse" Hveem
Your Feedback
 
15/11/2020
When Did it Start to Decline?
The BLRC 1982
Tracking Down the Swagman
Your Feedback
 
08/11/2020
Review: Before Air Fences
THE BLRC 1981
Dagenham
Your Feedback
 
01/11/2020
Review: Who Gates Wins
The BLRC 1980
Owlerton in the Sixties
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
25/10/2020
Doyle's Triple Crown
The BLRC 1979
Your Feedback
 
11/10/2020
New Cross Album 1936
The BLRC 1978
Your Feedback
 
04/10/2020
Sheffield 60s & 70s
The BLRC 1977
John Pilblad
Your Feedback
 


West Ham - An Alternative Perspective
By Dudley Jones

West Ham Hammers 1966

Dudley responds to our recent article - My West Ham Memories by Jim

 

I first saw speedway at Norwich in their final three or four seasons. About the time of closure of Norwich my mother moved to Great Baddow, Essex and I first went to Custom House during the Hammers second season after re-opening.

The stadium had more in common with Wembley than Norwich, it was big and impressive. Crowds did not fill the stadium, but it was a large stadium. I had a different view of the stadium to Jim. Yes it was getting on in years but it looked pretty good and support was enough to make the place look reasonably busy. There were a fair number in the main stand but I frequented the third bend where, initially, there was generous covered accomodation.

Things were done fairly well. The bikes were pushed out by staff in red, blue, white or yellow outfits. Things were still done, I suspect, in the manner of the 1950s, this was a proud place.

Having missed the intial reopening season, I had to get used to Ken McKinlay as captain, which was no hardship at all. Ken was a great rider, immaculately turned out and one of the best racers the UK had, as well as one of the best captains.

I was privileged to regularly support on Tuesday nights, even though I had to commute there from Chelmsford. The Hammers had some great riders, including Sverre Harfelt, Malcom Simmons, Brian Leonard. The Hammers achieved the triple in one of my years of support, I think it was 1965, and I was (almost) as enthusiastic about them as I had been about Norwich.

As Jim says the track was very wide and fast, but the racing still managed to be excellent.

In 1968 I went to work in Carlisle and lost touch. Things went down a little I think and by the time I was back the Hammers were no more and so started a few very pleasant years supporting Rayleigh.

I am sorry that Jim was not impressed, the place is still dear to my heart, along with Norwich, Rayleigh, Ipswich, Kings Lynn and Long Eaton.

 

This article was first published on 20th November 2016

[ Use Mobile Version ]


 

  • Barry Whiffin:

    "Dudley is quite right, the old Custom House was and excellent place although, as he says, showing its age in later years. Despite it in theory being too big by modern standards in terms of likely crowds for regular meetings (something that can be said for many sport stadiums) the nature of the old contruction allowed the sounds to reverberate around as well as containing the famous speedway smell.

    As for the track I am as bemused as Dudley with Jim's comments. Yes wide and fast (because it was a big track) but also very competitive allowing for close racing and overtaking. I do not recall seeing all four riders racing side by side right to the last bend on any other track. The racing standard might have had something to do with the specific red shale but, I understand, most likely also, from the very earlly fifties, as a result of the transfer of Jack Young, not a notable "gater" and needing to race from the back, who insisted as part of the transfer terms that the track was adjusted to make the bends wider and overtaking more possible. I also believe that the Kings Lynn track was based on the design of West Ham.

    Unfortunately old films do not really do justice to the racing standard but this is down to the past technical difficulties of filming speedway before the equipment now available existed. Its demise was really just another case of inner city land being worth much more for other uses, not an original story!"

  • Robert Rogers:

    "Briggo said the West Ham Track at its best was the best in the World, and who are we to argue with Barry!"  

     

    Comment on this Article | Contact Us | Go Back to Main Menu

  •    Please leave your comments on this article or on the site as a whole