The Eleventh California-in-England Speedway Reunion Report
Sunday, October 9, 2016:
A bright and sunny day dawned for this the eleventh reunion for the organisers, Friends of Speedway and they were so pleased that their prayers were answered.
They had organised a line-up of speedway machines to span the over 80 years that the sport has been in existence. The line of machines started with a BSA from 1928, a pair of Rudges, a Harley, two Staride JAP's (when did you see two of those together last?). Then on through the years with a variety of JAP's, and Jawas. Also something different and now a regular feature was an Mk III rotary Norton engined speedway machine. Various machines were started during the afternoon so that the assembled throng could savour the different sounds from one era to another and the intoxicating aroma of Methanol and Castrol R all on open pipes. All in all there were 23 machines on display.
The Friends of Speedway stall was busy with enthusiasts looking for a bargain amongst their goodies on display. All profits generated go to sponsoring the British Youth Speedway Championship series (formerly the Under 15's Championship).
As part of the attractions there is an organised trip up to the old track where Bryan Horsnell used to sweep the concrete starting grid (and it's still there and the only known one in existence). As this year he was unable to attend so this was done by Roy Allison instead. Now that the track has been cleared of the undergrowth Richard Seal again came in with his machine to cut the grass.
This enabled enthusiasts to continue to walk an entire lap of the old track which had been cleared with the council's permission. We, the organisers are indebted to Richard for doing this all free of charge! He is the grandson of Mr. Coker, the original track designer who used a horse and plough in to cut out the track back in June 1932.
Only one rider was in attendance from the 1950s era at this track which was Jim Gleed. Pete Rogers was sadly missed who passed away only weeks before the event. Other riders who visited were John Hammond, Barry Duke and guest of honour Mike Broadbank. Also in attendance were the family of Poppies Captain, Ron Sharp.
Many photos were taken, so many past good times were re-lived, and folk in general were there also soaking up the tales of do and dare. A great day out in a wonderful setting by the lake was had by all.
The organisers wish to thank all those who displayed bikes, some coming considerable distances.
All photos by kind permission of Friends of Speedway
This article was first published on 16th October 2016
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