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The Mittagong Flash
The Keith 'Buck' Ryan Story
By Tony Webb

The release of my publication, The Mittagong Flash - the Keith "Buck" Ryan story is planned for Sunday June 10 at the opening of Ash Suttors new Speedway Museum at Bathurst in NSW.

The 90 page publication contains over 70 photos from Keith's personal collection, full details of his test matches and details of his time at Glasgow 1947-1949.

The Museum is located at 2/10 Bradwardine road, Bathurst. Phone 0414 240 164 opening at 10am - 4pm.

The Mittagong Flash is available from binbooks@iinet.net.au at $25 posted in Australia or $35 worldwide.

Here is a short extract from the book

 

KEITH BUCK RYAN introduction

The Keith Ryan story is a wonderful tale of one of the first post war Australians to ride in Great Britain. After three seasons in Britain he returned home to become one of Australias best test team riders and Australian champion. Keith rode with all the legends of the past, in fact he grew up with the famous names, Duggans, Warren, van Praag, Le Breton etc, they were his friends and on the track his fierce rivals. Throughout this story is a woven thread of friendship and mutual admiration. A journey into a golden history.

I have to admit that I knew little of Keith's career after his three years in England. When I began researching through the Australian newspapers and the Oscar Lind reports in the Speedway World it soon became clear that he enjoyed star status in Australia from 1950-1954. No wonder his signature was on the shopping list of many British promoters for years after his departure from Glasgow.

Keith was actually banned from riding for the Glasgow Tigers for a while in the turbulent year of 1949, when a limit was imposed on the number of overseas riders in one British club. How times have changed as the British scene is dominated by riders from other countries!

Keith had a remarkable period as the number two Australian Test rider for three seasons. His partnership, and remarkable team riding with the great Aub Lawson was one that struck fear into the hearts of the English teams that came to Australia.

A regular interstate traveller in his time as a rider, he also has the distinction of being assocciated with the two most famous promoters, Johnnie Hoskins and Frank Arthur. He held the track record at Claremont in Perth and was also a firm favourite with the Brisbane crowds. His mechanical skills and pride in his equipment was the hallmark of his success. During 119 matches for the Glasgow Tigers colours he only suffered three engine failures. However, it was his team riding skills that made him a powerful force in the test match series. He learnt these skills in those early days at Glasgow from old timers such as Joe Crowther and Will Lowther. During his retirement he has always been a staunch supporter of the Veteran Speedway Riders Association of Australia of which he was a past President. The training and progress of young riders is another area of interest for Keith. For the researcher there are only a few known survivors of those years, Arthur Payne, Allan Quinn, Bruce Croxon, Don Cuppleditch, Keith Cox and Dick Seers in Australia. Domociled in England there is Huck Fynn, Willie Wilson, Billy Bales, Derek Close and Johnny Hole among the riders Keith would have come up against in 1947-1949 and of course his promoter at Glasgow Ian Hoskins now in New Zealand.

I hope you enjoy my biography of an Australian speedway legend. My greatest pleasure was meeting Keith and his son Keith Junior at his Sydney home in October 2011. I was given acess to their vast collecction of memoribilia from a brilliant career.

EXTRACT Chapter 1

.............A feature of the 1946 season was the staging of some robust inter state matches between NSW, Victoria and Queensland It was at the Exhibition track on December 21, the final meeting prior to his return to Sydney with Hugh Geddes and Keith Gurtner for the Christmas break, that Keith suffered a serious neck injury. It seemed would halt his career before he started. The event was a staging of the Vic Huxley handicap final postponed from the previous meeting. He had shown excellent form in the previous meeting beating Hugh Geddes in a match race series.

The accident happened in a handicap race when the front runners, Bruce Campbell. Norm Burke and Cyril Romaine fell, Keith who was on a 130 handicap, ran over a fallen machine to avoid a rider, his machine somersaulted and landed on his chest. He received fractures to his upper chest and kneck that sidelined him for four months. Keith had became a strong favourite with the Queensland public returning for many seasons in future years. It may be of interest that the author met Cyril Romaine now living in Darwin, aged 92, he remembered the "Southerners" coming up to Brisbane. in 1946.............

 

This article was first published on 27th May 2012

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