Home Contact Us Stadia Pix Articles All About You Riders to Remember
DVDs Books Pictures Archive Dream Teams Programme Generator
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
 


Early Memories
By Graham Davis

Junior Bainbridge

My first ever speedway meeting was back in August 1955 at Foxhall Stadium, Ipswich when Ipswich took on Rayleigh. I was only 10 years old and I used to stay with some friends of my mother's during the summer holidays for 2 or 3 weeks. They happened to be speedway fans and rather than leave me at home, they invited me along.

I remember ducking as the riders came round spraying shale over those not far from the perimeter fence and it did sting. I cannot recall the score although I think The Witches won and, from memory had riders such as Junior Bainbridge, Bluey Scott and Len Silver in their ranks while Rayleigh had Pete Lansdale, Gerald Jackson, Jack Unstead, Les McGillivray, Peter Clark, and, I think Reg Trott (although I might be mistaken there).

Those were the days when a 10/11 year old boy was not let loose to attend a speedway match by himself and it was another 3 years before I went again. As I lived in SW London, Wimbledon was the obvious choice and many a Monday night, I could hear the roar of engines from over 1.5 miles away when the wind was in the right direction. My next door neighbour took his two sons and myself to Wimbledon every Monday night and it was truly the highlight of the week.

We went to the first meeting of 1958 - Good Friday, 4 April versus Belle Vue. From then to 1961, which doesn't seem a long time now but was a lifetime's following at that age, every Monday saw us seated just as the first bend straightened out along the back straight. What excitement! I can still feel the excitement of walking across the expansive car park and to go up one of the aisles and see the vista of a track with the emerald green centre. The bikes in the pits were warming up with a cacophony of noise frequently peaking as throttles were tweaked. Although Wimbledon Stadium had glass panels which muffled the roar of the engines a little.

At 7.45 p.m., the strains of "Blaze Away" came over the louspeakers and in true military fashion the army of track graders and other officials came out smartly dressed in red jerseys and black trousers, arms swinging high (left, right, left, right) and with the precision of a parade drill stretched out in a straight line across the green centre facing the main stadium.

At that point, the roar of the engines faded away very quickly and for a split second silence decended upon the proceedings until the strains of the National Anthem were played. People rose, and sang and when finished, the announcer sparked into life with a welcome and announcing the riders for Heat 1.

In those days, Wimbledon were invincible and, to be honest, it was a little tedious seeing the Dons emerge as runaway winners more often than not. As a young boy, it was good to be associated with such a strong team; it gave you the "feel good" factor.

Regulars in the line-up were Barry Briggs, Gerald Jackson, Ronnie Moore, Peter Moore, Ron How, Cyril Brine, Cyril Maidment, Jim Tebby, Gerry King and we even saw a young unknown get a ride called Ivan Mauger.

We saw many world class riders every week and were rather spoilt. I remember the thrilling , energetic technique of the diminutive Peter Craven working his machine down the straights, round the bends looking for that bolt hole that he exploited just getting the chequered flag by a tyre's width. I saw the likes of Ove Fundin many times. Didn't like him as he wouldn't sign autographs, Aub Lawson, Olle Nygren, Jackie Biggs, Howdy Byford, Nigel Boocock, Ron Mountford, Rune Sormader, Bert Crutcher, Dick Bradley, Bjorn Knutsson and, perhaps the lesser known - Slant Payling, Arne Henrickson (who I believe lost a leg), Peter Van der Bergh, Guy Allot, Jimmy Gooch, Jimmy Gleed, Johnny Chamberlain to name but a few.

They were the days when riders had nice clean shiny black leathers and a glinting race jacket. Inevitably sponsorship has marked these with something akin to graffiti now. Any who were around in the late 50s and early 60s may recall those days which gradually went into decline a bit following the huge post-war boom. The smell of cinders and ethanol are still as evocative as ever.

 

This article was first published on 1st September 2013

[ Use Mobile Version ]
 

 

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