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Updated on 30th April 2005

Tonight's the night for the riders in the 2005 Grand Prix series as the European Grand Prix is staged at Wroclaw in Poland. Chris Seaward completes his assessment of the line up in the second part of his Grand Prix preview.



Today seems a better day than most to add pictures of the Wroclaw circuit to the site. The stadium staged the first ever GP round back on 20th May 1995 and it was also the venue at which Gary Havelock won the 1992 World Final. Thanks to Andrew Davidson for the photographs.




"I feel I can go to Poland fully focused. I can't be more ready for it than now. I'll just go there and try to have fun and have a good time. I rode at Wroclaw in the World Under-21 Final last year. It is a nice track, shaped like Swindon's, and I hope it will be good for me. If there is a bit of dirt on it I hope I can do well. I'll just try and relax and do a few good laps. I get five rides, so I hope I can get one or two good ones."
Antonio Lindback on tonight's GP

Comment on the GP and the domestic scene can be found in Soundbites



  • Britain's Scott Nicholls kicks off his Grand Prix campaign tonight and has launched a new website to co-incide with the first meeting of the series. The address is www.scottnichollsracing.com.

  • New website Speedway 4 U offers forums for general discussion and for live updates. It doesn't seem to offer anything that's not available elsewhere on the 'net but it certainly looks good. Hopefully it will find its own unqiue selling points in the months ahead.

  • Simon Lambert's website is now live. You can keep up to date with the Boston rider at simon-lambert.co.uk.

  • Jim Carroll on Shelbourne Speedway:

    "I attended as a small boy the meets in Shelbourne Park. My hero was Ernie Roccio though I met Ronnie Moore too. A great pity it's gone for ever it seems, but with rising demographics etc etc is it not possible to revive? Anyway thanks for so many wonderful memories."

  • Wayne Dunworth on Track Photographs:

    "What a site. Good old days, remember riding at a lot of them. Keep up the good work."

  • Andy Moore on Track Photographs:

    "Excellent website. I've been browsing the stadium pictures and wondered if any are available of Lonigo in Italy and the old White City Stadium."

  • We don't have pictures of either of these tracks at present - would love to hear from anyone who does!

  • Time for another delve into the Speedway Plus archives. Do you remember the days when Workington were a club in seemingly terminal decline and Ron Bagley shocked the speedway world by taking them over? Find out more in "Bagley's Gamble".


     


     

    Updated on 26th April 2005

    Welcome to the first in a series of midweek site updates. These additional updates mean we'll be using up material more quickly than ever before and make your contributions increasingly important. If you'd like to submit an article then email us at speedwayplus@hotmail.com

    The 2005 Grand Prix series kicks off in Wroclaw on Saturday. Chris Seaward assesses the competitors in the first part of his 'Grand Prix Preview'. The second part will follow on Saturday.




    "Martin was tremendous, but I've had a lot of faith in him since the day I first spoke to him about joining Coventry. He's learning fast, he's getting Brandon weighed up and the fans love him."
    Peter Oakes praises Martin Smolinksi after his efforts on Sky last night

    Many more quotes can be found in Soundbites


     


     

    Updated on 23rd April 2005

    Bruce Penhall captured the imagination of the general public in a way that no rider has since. His talent and charisma gave the sport a very marketable personality, although sadly his career was truncated when he opted to join the California Highway Patrol. Steve Johnson has written a biography of speedway's very own 'blonde bombshell' and we're delighted to publish an extract today.



    The Lismore circuit in New South Wales was used as a venue during David Tapp's ISMS series a few years ago. These pictures are courtesy of Andrew Davidson.




    "Billy is a Witches legend and he was a brilliant rider. He had a flair about him and a big hunger to win things. His biggest wish was to be crowned world champion, but it did not happen. I can remember meeting him at Foxhall Stadium when he arrived as a 16-year-old and he went on to become an adopted son of Suffolk and serve the club so brilliantly. I still miss him and know a great many of our fans do as well."
    John Louis on Billy Sanders who died 20 years ago today

    All this week's quotes are in Soundbites



  • Adam Jennison is the webmaster behind a new photography site that aims to showcase the talents of track photographers. It will also afford fans the chance to purchase pictures online. The address is www.gbstockphotography.com.

  • Nick Barber's exclusive range of souvenirs and memorabilia can now be purchased via his new website at www.enjaydesigns.com.

  • Wimbledon's Keith Yorke, given a ludicrous Grade 11 rating this season, has got a personal website that can be found at www.freewebs.com/keithyorke.

  • The VSRA are making good progress with their efforts to open a museum dedicated to speedway. Alan Hodkinson brings us up to date with the latest state of play.



    You'll be getting twice as much 'Plus' for the next few weeks as we'll be introducing a second weekly update. This will generally happen on a Tuesday evening when we'll bring you even more photographs and articles.

  • Barrie on The Programme Generator:

    "Thanks for the Programme Generator. I have been ill for many years, so unable to visit Belle Vue, or any other tracks to see Jason Crump ride except the once for the Peter Craven Memorial Trophy. Used to follow father Phil all over the country from his days at Crewe Kings, so was good to see him at BV. Thanks again, the Generator worked a treat."

  • John Hyam on The Eric Chitty Gallery:

    "Great to see the Eric Chitty photos. A really great rider who has not had the credit for his achivements that he so richly deserves."

  • Gerald Clark on Dudley Wood:

    "As an impressionable 11 year old in 1976 I used to support Cradley up until 1989 or so. Great times once Dan McCormack brought in Penhall, Gundersen etc. The 1981 World Final at Wembley was the best meeting I ever went to. So sad Cradley is gone now, these guys were my heroes and I still have fond memories of these times, but I could have swung for Penhall when he announced his retirement on the rostrum in 82 and we lost the league title after that. Arrr great days!"

  • Tom Marriott on Eric Chitty:

    "Super article Robert, Living in Canada it's good to see an article on our most famous rider. Eric's son and Grandson live here in Ontario and I know they will enjoy the article. It's a shame we don't know more of the other pre and post war Canadians that made their way to Britain.

    Eric was I believe an active member of the Riders Association and made a record with funds going to the association. I also received a photo of Eric and a Cheetah which Johnnie Hoskins had him race (never a dull moment with that man!) The injury which Robert refers to is I believe when Eric rebroke the leg he broke in Australia. I received the following note from his son on how he recollects his dad's retirement.

    'Dad retired finally I think it was 1952, he in his younger days wanted to become a jockey and just loved riding, he took my sister out one weekend and tho' not dressed for it got on a horse called "Skylon". All was well until the horse reared, slipped and came down with my Dad's left leg underneath it. Result - the same leg broken that he broke in Aussieland and that was that. One night in the third lap he just veered off into the pits and said that was that, as I have said I was in the pits and it was quite the night bikes and all equipment were sold next day and his career came to a stop.'

    As usual if anybody has information on The old Canadian riders please let me know. I have received quiet a bit so far and would like to once again thank everbody for their input and generousity.

  •  


     

    Updated on 16th April 2005

    West Ham legend Eric Chitty was one of the best speedway riders to ever emerge from Canada. Robert J. Rogers recalls his career in this new article.



    Our tribute to Eric Chitty continues with a gallery of pictures. The pictures come to us courtesy of Eric's son Raymond. There are seven pictures in all and they will appeal to all you nostalgia buffs.




    "We know we have to dig deep and every member of the team is doing their utmost to try and change things. I am trying to improve my own performance, but I have never been the quickest of starters to a season, and it normally takes me a few weeks to find my feet."
    Scott Nicholls of Coventry

    All this week's quotes are in Soundbites



    The 'submit an article' competition has now closed and the prize draw was made this morning. The lucky winner was...

    Philip Dalling

    We'll be in touch Philip to find out your address.

    Thanks to Norman Clark, Rod Young, Harry Ward, Chris Seaward, Robert J. Rogers, Steve Johnson, Steve Trickett, Ron McNeil and Bob Ferry who unluckily missed out. All the submitted articles will appear on the site in the weeks ahead.

    The competition is over but we always welcome unsolicited contributions here at Speedway Plus. If you'd like to share your thoughts, memories or research with our readers then drop us an email at speedwayplus@hotmail.com.


  • Tony Smith is hoping to get in touch with Sid Sheldrick - can you help?

  • Roger Stevens needs someone to confirm whether programmes were ever issued for a couple of meetings - can you help?

  • Bob Ferry is looking to buy a copy of "The Champions Book Of Speedway No.5, by Richard Bott" - do you have one you'd be happy to sell?

  • John Hyam has some supplementary questions on French speedway - do you have the information he needs?

  • Lyn McPherson wants to invite John Jackson to the Halifax reunion. Do you have contact details for Jacko?



  • Boston's Ben Powell has launched a new website and it looks good. The address is www.benpowellracing.com.

  • The extremely promising James Wright is also now online. You can check out his website at wrightyracing.co.uk.
  •  


     

    Updated on 9th April 2005

    The Marketa Stadium in Prague is one of the regular GP venues. We have pictures of the track supplied by Trev Picken and Vladimir Kovar.



    Would our promoters benefit from studying the methods employed over the Atlantic? Harry Ward believes so, as he explains in his new article 'Time to Copy Speedway USA Style'.




    LAST CHANCE!

    The fantastic "World Speedway Champions of the 1980's" DVD (above) could be yours if you win our "Submit an Article" competition. Send us an original article on any speedway subject (clubs, riders, competitions, personal memories) and your name will go into the hat for our prize draw.

    All articles submitted will be considered for publication on the site and one lucky winner will receive a brand new copy of this nostalgia DVD.

    Articles should be sent via email (as plain text ideally) to speedwayplus@hotmail.com.

    Closing date for entries is Friday 15th April 2005. The winner will be announced here on 16th April 2005.

    N.B. The DVD is only suitable for use with DVD-R compatible players.


    Soundbites brings you reaction from riders, managers and promoters to this week's events. This week we have comments from Ryan Sullivan, Ross Brady, Scott Nicholls and Alun Rossiter amongst others.



  • Dave Torley on Keith Bloxsome:

    "As a Diamonds fan I can remember Keith having a superb spell for us including an 18 point maximum from reserve. He certainly entertained me and at the end of the day that is what I pay my money for. In 7 man teams, not everyone can be a star but KB tried which is more than can be said for some of the foreigners currently clogging up the middle order of many a Premier League team (no names, no pack drill)"

  • Scott White on One Eye on the Ball:

    "A brilliant article. I have thought the same for years. I have always thought that there is a distinct lack of effort from promoters to actively go out and promote speedway, there is a huge amount of people out there who 'used to go to speedway' I don't think it would be that hard to get them back in.

    They need to be shown information before they can act upon it, the success of football is down to the high level of media coverage, yet nobody is campaigning to get more coverage for speedway.

    The attitude taken by most promoters is just to plod on, it's a very short sighted option and I feel that one day speedway will end up with just one league, a sky sports league, which is a shame."

  • Chris Baldwin on Elfield Park:

    "I have some rather sad news regards Elfield Park. I recently visited the site for part of my University research, and the site has been flattened ready for development, the whole place is just mud. It was quite upsetting when I visited, and went to the shopping centre with muddy shoes. There is nothing remaining to remind anyone of what was once there, except from the signs at the entrance road, which in some way I wish I could have taken."

  • Jim Henry on Scunthorpe:

    "As joint editor of The Speedway Researcher I am impressed by the historical items in this web site. We like to publish items on history related topics and would be happy to publish a back history of Scunthorpe (Quibell and Ashby Ville) if anyone fancies getting their pens out.

    Did you know of the pre war venture in the Scunthorpe area - at Thorne in 1930?"

  •  


     

    Updated on 2nd April 2005

    Chris Seaward's first article went down well and he returns today with another entitled 'One Eye on the Ball'. Chris wonders whether we speedway fans are actually too nice for our own good?



    Harringay Greyhound Stadium staged the sport from 1928 until 1961. These pictures come to us from Norman Jacobs the respected speedway author.




    "It is very upsetting. You get yourself ready for the season and then something stupid happens. I have had my fair share of injuries as they come with the sport but when accidents happen that are not your own fault, it makes it a lot more frustrating."
    Danny Bird

    All this week's quotes are in Soundbites



    The VSRA are hopeful of building a museum dedicated to speedway, but they need your help. Alan Hodkinson gives us a run down on the plans and lets you know how you can assist them.



  • Coventry newcomer Martin Smolinski can boast an impressive website that features an excellent intro sequence - although those without broadband may struggle with it. The site is, quite reasonably, written in German and the address is www.smolinski-speedway.de.

    Second generation rider Luke Bowen has launched a personal website. You can find the impressive site at www.lukebowenracing.co.uk.

  • Junior racer Lee Madgewick has got a new website. The address is www.freewebs.com/madgersracing.

  • Peter Nielsen was able to answer David Smith's recent question on the current whereabouts of Anders Nielsen the former Peterborough rider.

    "I understand that a number of speedway fans have interest in Anders Nielsen the Danish speedway rider. I can tell that after a break of nearly nine years, he is now on the bike again and I can tell you people that he has not forgotten how to ride the speedway bike. I have recently been at a training weekend in Sweden, with Slangerup Speedway Klub and had the opportunity to be together with this great guy. I know that he will do everything to get back to the top of speedway very soon."



    The fantastic "World Speedway Champions of the 1980's" DVD (above) could be yours if you win our "Submit an Article" competition. Send us an original article on any speedway subject (clubs, riders, competitions, personal memories) and your name will go into the hat for our prize draw.

    All articles submitted will be considered for publication on the site and one lucky winner will receive a brand new copy of this nostalgia DVD.

    Articles should be sent via email (as plain text ideally) to speedwayplus@hotmail.com.

    Closing date for entries is Friday 15th April 2005. The winner will be announced here on 16th April 2005.

    N.B. The DVD is only suitable for use with DVD-R compatible players.


  • John Hyam has probably come up with the most ambitious request for help so far. He's looking for information on French speedway on either side of WWII.

  • We also have Trevor Hunter looking for help this week. He needs heat details from some Poole v Bradford meetings over the years.



  • Tony Gillias on Quibell Park:

    "Happy memories of my spell as a 'Saint' in 1975 and 1976, except when I had a coming together with Jack Millen, resulting in a broken collar bone and in the my first meeting back colliding with Kevin Jolly and ending up on the cycle track and another broken collar bone. It does not seem like 30 years ago it is all so vivid. At the beginning of each meeting the bikes were lined up on the track, in front of the grandstand, the riders then marched to the tune 'While the Saints go marching in'. Whenever I hear that song it reminds me of Scunthorpe Speedway."

  • Richard Woods on Normanby Road:

    "Looks tidy, good luck and wishing the new promotion all the best."

  • Chris Wilson on Normanby Road:

    "Superb pictures, thank you very much!"

  • Pauline Holmes on Ron Johnson - Fallen Idol:

    "Thank you for including the article about Johnno. Some of his old fans can be found each week at Wimbledon, looking at old photo albums etc between races and remembering his past glory. Ron may be gone, but he will certainly never be forgotten."

  • David Hinsley on The site:

    "Just found your site today.....wish I'd found it sooner....great site.

    From an old Aces fan in the 70's now living in Canada. I also got to race Speedway and did some indoor ice racing here in the 80's.

    Keep up the fantastic work. :)"

  • Tony Wilson on Glen Johnson's Dream Team:

    "Great to see the Brummies getting a mention. As far as I know work is still going on to bring speedway back to Birmingham, but nothing concrete as yet. Keep 'em crossed. "

  • Sara on Long Eaton History:

    "I have just nearly screamed my head off lol and my mates I love speedway. I was 12 when I went first time and have been a long supporter of the Long Eaton Invaders - had jumpers everything. When they closed it down it was sad and all was forgotten. When I heard the track was being rebuilt I couldn't believe it, so had to see it for myself

    You have made a girl of 20 very happy and I will be there again to watch.

    I love the noise the smell and the atmosphere it's a shame that so many tracks are being closed down due to funding. Thanks for cheering me up."

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