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Snapshots of Yesteryear
By Peter Colvin

First featured in the Glasgow Tigers programme in 2012

The shadows are lengthening as the last rider comes out of the pits gate to prepare for a race at Cliftonhill Stadium on a sunny evening on Friday 23rd May 1975. This scene is from the New National League encounter between the Tigers of Coatbridge and the Brummies of Birmingham.

The Tigers had recently lost the services of John Wilson, Paul Heller and Alan Grimshaw and were using rider replacement for John with the junior rider Jim Beresford at number six and introduced Mick McKeon from Newcastle at number seven.

Heat 1 produced a 5-1 for the home side but it proved to be a false dawn as the Tigers could manage just two more race winners in heats four and six. This photo was taken prior to heat three. Grahame Dawson is adjusting his goggles with Brummie Carl Askew next to him waiting patiently for his partner, Arthur Browning. Jimmy Gallacher is the other Tiger in the background.

It turned out to be an eventful race with Dawson excluded after falling and bringing down his partner whose engine failed during the re-run, gifting the visitors a 0-5. Arthur Browning won the race in the slowest time of the night and went on to record a full maximum as the Brummies went on to win 34- 43. The Tigers lost a further three home league matches in 1975 and finished twelfth. Birmingham went on to win the league and joined the British League for the 1976 season.

 

On 1st April 1964, after an absence of eight years, the roar of bikes was once again heard at the White City Stadium when the Glasgow Tigers took their place in the Provincial League under the control of former Wembley Lion and New Zealand Test star, Trevor Redmond.

I believe that this snapshot was taken at Hackney on 24th July 1964 and shows the Glasgow promoter on the inside of Tigers' captain, Maury Mattingly. The side were struggling in the league and from the end of June they had Chris Julian out with a broken arm. So former World finalist Redmond decided to come out of retirement and join the stripes for the remainder of the season. He proved that he was still good enough by finishing third in the team's averages after scoring 144 league points in his 18 matches.

Unfortunately, his efforts were not enough to stop the new Tigers from finishing the season right at the bottom of the twelve-team league. This was their worst showing since 1947, scoring no more than 44 points in any league match!

Photograph by Alf Weedon, courtesy of the John Somerville Collection.

 

This first bend action shot, taken at the White City Stadium in August 1950, shows Ken McKinlay in second place behind Ashfield Giant Bob Lovell with Larry Lazarus in third and Jack Hodgson at the rear. John Robert Vickers McKinlay began his speedway career in 1948 on the British Army tracks in occupied Germany. On demob, he joined Glasgow and during his first season in 1949, scored 26 points from 18 matches. Ken improved his average in each of the subsequent four seasons as a Tiger, culminating in 1953 with 277 league points from 32 matches and an average of 8.66, making Ken the sixth highest points scorer in the National League. Glasgow's own "Atomic" Tommy Miller was the league's top points scorer with 333.

The following season saw Ken as the Tiger's top rider when Miller moved on to join the Lanarkshire Eagles at the Milton Street Stadium in Motherwell. Lack of support saw White City close down in 1954 after only six North Shield matches and Ken left the Tigers to start a new chapter in his speedway career with the Leicester Hunters.

Photo courtesy of Christine Liddell.

 

This article was first published on 10th February 2013


 

  • Peter:

    "I am a 65 year old male who came from England in 1965. It's good to see some old photos and news it takes me back when I was younger."

  • Jim Henry:

    "Re photo at White City - Tigers v Giants. Have any of you noticed the two men standing at what appears to be the entry to the pits and that there doesn't appear to be any gate or fence at that spot."

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