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Snapshots of Yesteryear
By Peter Colvin

 

This is Heat 8 of a 12-Heat challenge match between the Tigers and Bobby Beaton's Buccaneers. The riders are entering the third bend at the Blantyre Stadium during the last meeting to be staged at the track on 18th October 1981. Brian Collins leads from Charlie McKinna, Ray Palmer and Willie Mirtle. Charlie passed Collins at this bend on the next lap to give the Glasgow side a heat advantage. The final result was 44-27 with Charlie getting a 15-point maximum. The rest of the scorers for the Glasgow side were:- Ray Palmer 9, Kenny McKinna 9, Colin Caffrey 6 and Andy Reid 5. Brian Collins top-scored for the Buccaneers with 10, followed by Bobby Beaton 9, Wayne Brown 4, Jim Beaton 3, Benny Rourke 1 and Willie Mirtle 0. During the winter, the Glasgow promotion moved the team a few hundred metres to Craighead Park which was situated behind the wall that ran along the back straight.

 

A new chapter in the history of Glasgow Speedway began on Friday 30th April 1982 with the opening meeting at Craighead Park, Blantyre. Rye House Rockets were the visitors in a National League encounter at the fifth stadium to host the Tigers since the closure of White City in 1968. This snapshot shows Dick Barrie introducing Steve Lawson and Middlesbrough's Steve Wilcock to the crowd before the Silver Helmet match race.

 

This picture shows the start of the very first race at the 263-metre circuit which Steve Wilcock won in a time of 63�0. Steve Lawson won Heat 2 in what was to become the first track record of 58�8 and went on to win the Silver Helmet. Rye House complained about the track after a 60-36 defeat and the next meeting against Weymouth was cancelled. A Speedway Control Board inspection had to be carried out before any further meetings could take place.

 

This is action from a last-heat decider against Arena Essex on 14th September 1986. The Hammers needed a 5-1 in order to secure a win and had Neil Middleditch and Gary Chessell in this crucial Heat 13. No doubt the crowd were relieved to see Martin McKinna leading into the first bend. Bobby Beaton can be seen at the back but managed to pass the Hammers pairing to make the final score 42-35. For the Tigers that Sunday afternoon, Bobby Beaton top-scored with 10+1, Steve Lawson 10, Jackson Irving 7+3, Martin McKinna 9, Derek Cooper 4, Geoff Powell 2+1 and Kenny Brailsford 0. For the Hammers, Neil Middleditch scored 12 and Martin Goodwin grabbed 10 points, both from five rides. This was to be the last season at Craighead Park. The Glasgow side were on their travels again. Having moved a few hundred metres during the winter of 1981/82, they now moved to Workington for "the summer of discontent" in 1987!

 

This article was first published on 5th May 2011


 

  • Tony Pearce:

    "Some very good photos from the two Blantyre tracks. I only went to the first track once to see Canterbury ride in 1981. I did a couple of meetings at Craighead Park including an excellent 39-39 draw against Wimbledon in 1985. Some nice memorys of two short lived venues."

  • Ivan Blacka:

    "Good old Blantyre track. Like riding on a cow's field. Lawson was good round there. I must say though once you learned how to ride it getting the bike down in the turns I turned in some pretty good scores there. You only hate what you can't do."

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