A tribute to the popular team-man of the fifties and sixties who passed away recently. Thanks to Matt Jackson
and Hugh Vass for allowing us to reproduce this extract from their A-Z book of Post War riders.
Those busy people at Retro-Speedway have just released another DVD - this time covering the life and times of Shawn 'Shooey' Moran.
Shawn was recently over in the UK to promote the discs and meet his fans. We'll do a full review of the DVD in due course, but here's
some initial details of what you can expect.
Peter Nice is looking for details of racing in The Netherlands in the 50s and 60s - Can You Help?
"Fantastic snaps and special memories for me as April
1974 was my first speedway meeting. It was the Rockets v Peterborough and I think the score was 40-38 in the Rockets favour. Could the picture of perhaps
Alan Emmett maybe be Les "Red" Ott?"
"Monday nights at the Chads was like walking
into a different world. I remember riders like Doug Surrurier, Angus Maguire and Charlie Oates who were our heroes. Those of us who had push-bikes
always cornered with a serious drift over to the left. I borrowed a neighbour's bike and wrecked it on a field which is now the site of the old Ford
factory in Halewood. If other towns can produce good teams, why doesn't Liverpool. It would give us break from Football."
"Sorry for the miss information on Christer Lofqvist,
they are correct, I did get the two Christers mixed up, I was, as pointed out, trying to make the point that both riders died young after being the
last winners at West Ham."
"Had the pleasure of meeting Terry on a
couple of occasions at both Hampden Park and at King's Lynn. Always found him to be the mould of the perfect speedway rider in that he was SO good as a
rider and an absolute gem off it-40 years on, can still remember him as the perfect gentleman at Hampden coming out to do the 2nd half draw after a big
score for the Stars, and equally as genial at Saddlebow Rd after his large return had once again done us out of any chance of a win-if manners and courtesy
were anything to go by, then Terry Betts would have been a World Champion with no difficulty whatsoever!"
Sheffield back straight...although I am not a Sheffield fan I can certainly remember it being open..I can vaguely remember standing there in the late 70's
but I can definitely remember standing there for a Sheffield v Cradley match in 1982 just after Penhall retired on the World Final rostrum...for some
reason that sticks in my mind as I remember seeing Simon Wigg at reserve flying out of the start all night when still a Weymouth rider in the old
National league...I am not sure when it closed though as it was closed around 1989 when I went back."
"Comment by Chris Stockwell......Really do support your
comment on this one. I have to say the first I ever heard of this GRAND FINAL & PLAYOFF stuff was when I emigrated to Canada....it seems all of North
America had and still does have this garbage.....In Ice Hockey you can have 16 teams qualify for the playoffs and the team that finished 16th could win
it all after 80 regular season games. I am still a firm believer that a 15 point max means YOU HAVE WON and the most points in a league means
YOU HAVE WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP. Poor Tai, I do feel very sorry for him."
Dave Train casts his mind back fifty years to recall his first impressions of Gil Goldfinch.
Steve Haire is after some info about the back straight terracing at Sheffield - Can You Help?
A new Long Eaton Invaders Supporters Club is being formed - further details available from from Simon Stanley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Latest from Bill Elliot on the Paisley Reunion:
"Venue is the Five on 5 Club (part of the ProLife
complex) at 98 New Sneddon St in Paisley on Saturday 22 October. It
couldn't be closer to the old Love St track-from the town centre,
proceed along Love St and instead of taking a left into the stadium as
it was, attendees go a few yards further and then take a right into New
Sneddon St, the venue being a mere couple of hundred yards away.
Apart from the attendance of many of the Lions from the mid 70's, the
night will feature 70's music only, in keeping with the nostalgic
element of the night, with loads of photos and a slide show with pics
of the Lions in action, and I suspect there may be the odd trace of red
and yellow about the place!"
"2011 is the year and the revival of LONG EATON has
risen from the ashes in what is now known as the Midland league. Long Eaton Invaders are now racing at Beaumont leys in the new Leicester Lions camp and
are facing Leicester Cubs, Exeter, Bradford and Hackney. I like many others carry LONG EATON in my heart and have many memories associated with Long Eaton
from the late Archers days up to the Rangers then Nottingham Outlaws and finally the INVADERS untill the untimely death of LONG EATON SPEEDWAY and
am always sad when passing Station road and Nottingham road."
"Robert Rogers claims that both Christer Lofqvist and
Kevin Holden lost their lives in track accidents. Christer died from a brain tumour in 1978. Kevin did crash at Poole, but the cause of death was given
as a ruptured aorta. It is likely that this event was the cause of the accident, occurring (naturally) a split-second earlier."
"One reader makes reference to Kevin Holden and Christer
Lofqvist both dying as a result of track accidents. Christer actually died of a brain haemorrhage not a track accident. He may be getting confused with
Christer Sjosten who was killed on track in Australia."
"With regard to Robert Rogers photographs of the
England-v-Australia Test Match at Lakeside and in particular Adam Shields crash, the good news is that Adam did not break any bones although he has
unfortunately sustained quite serious ligament damage to his knee and is likely to be out for at least a month. Elsewhere on the site last week it
was mentioned in connection with West Ham that both Christer Lofquist and Kevin Holden died in track crashes but this is no entirely correct. Christer
actually died as a result of a brain tumour, although it was at a tragically young age (I think he was only about 27). Kevin certainly died after a track
crash but the cause of death was said to be a ruptured artery and it could not be medically proven whether the crash caused the artery to rupture or
whether there was some pre-existing weakness in the artery that caused it to rupture and that in turn caused the crash. However as it was such a simple
and innocuous looking crash, the balance of opinion seems to be that the artery ruptured first and that caused the crash."
"Eastbourne has an open pit policy before all meetings; until
the bikes start. It was introduced, I think, by Jon Cook - now at Lakeside. Eastbourne pits are also open after the meeting, once it is safe to let
"I'm led to believe that some so-called
Middlesbrough fans let Reg's tyres down after one meeting in 1964. It can't have done us any favours when Reg was looking at Halifax long before the
1965 season kicked in and had relocated the team to The Shay. I wonder if Reg can remember this as my interview with him took place about seven/eight
I only recently discovered Middlesbrough applied
to join the National League in 1948 but their application was rejected on the grounds that it was too difficult to get too in the days before
motorways had been constructed. At that time six of the eight member clubs were based in London with Belle Vue and Odsal (Bradford) the only
northern clubs. It's ironic though that both Bristol and Norwich were regular visitors in the 1940s. I cannot begin to imagine how many hours it
must have taken riders to reach opposing tracks in those days.
Another interesting couple of anecdotes regarding Middlesbrough. One involving Ron Wilson who promoted at Leicester, Middlesbrough & Milton Keynes
(between 1968 and 1979 at Cleveland Park). Ron always made sure he picked up a box of cream cakes for the journey back to Leicester. One night
he pulled over on the A19 and opened the box and some wag had replaced the cream cakes with dog biscuits - I can't tell you who got the blame!
Also an interesting story about the late Tom Leadbitter who rode for Bristol, Middlesbrough, Leicester & Wolverhampton. Tom rode originally at
Cleveland Park between 1968 and 1970 and was a bit of a hero back in those days to me. The team turned up at an away track and the team manager
Henry Atkinson informed the heat leaders they would be taking an extra ride tonight as they were using rider replacement. Tom immediately turned
round and refused to co-operate so Henry insisted he would take the extra ride. Tom went out, rode through the tapes and got excluded. Funny bloody
lot speedway riders!!"
Ian Gill is back with issue 3 of his excellent "Trackin' Down" series of books. Once again
he's out to raise money for good causes by providing highly detailed interviews with former Long Eaton favourites.
The men in the spotlight this time are Geoff Bouchard, Paul Evitts and Phil Whittaker. In this article you can
find out more about the book and read an extract in which Geoff Bouchard recalls how his riding career began.
A preview of the latest publication from Retro-Speedway: Alan Carter - Light in the Darkness. Alan is of course
the younger brother of Kenny and enjoyed considerable success himself in a different motorcycling discipline. This book
promises to lift the lid on what life was really like in the Carter family. We'll bring you more on this one in the near future.
Bill Elliot's worthy efforts to stage a Paisley Lions reunion later this year made the local press and elicited comment from
Lions' promoter Neil McFarlane. Check out at the article on The Paisley Daily Express website.
"Really enjoyed your piece on Terry
Betts. Aged 8 to 12 years old, Terry was my hero. My father would drop us off at Saddlebow when we were home from Prep school. In my view Bettsy was the
best and I saw him beat the best - Mauger, Briggs, Olsen etc. I hadn't seen speedway for near on 40 years until saw Lynn stars racing on Sky sports. I
suggested to my brother we should go and see a meeting and went to the stars v Coventry Bees. Whilst by the pits I got talking to a man and discovered
this was Buster Chapman, the owner of the Norfolk arena. He told me Terry was here and it was his first visit for years.
We ended after the meeting going
to the bar and whilst waiting to be served I saw Terry behind us. I went over saying ' you won't know me but you were my hero 40 years ago - can I buy
you a drink'. Terry accepted my offer of drink and joined us for a good 1/2 hr chatting about old times. Often you can be disappointed when you meet
your childhood heroes. But Terry was charming and I think would have chatted for much longer. Thanks Terry you made our night. All the best to you."
"Isn't it time Speedways governing body got rid of this ridiculas GRAND FINAL RACE. Once again in the
British Final the best rider on show doesn't become CHAMPION. Tai Woffinden battles his way through the pain barrier and scores a tremendous 15 point
maximum and ends up third!! CRAZY. No wonder Speedw ay is considered a JOKE. The longer the B.S.P.A. continue with this SHAM the worst light Speedway
will be shown in. OR DON'T THE B.S.P.A. CARE ABOUT THE WAY SPEEDWAY COMES ACROSS? OBVIOUSLY NOT!!!!"
"Interesting to read Dave Gifford's comments about the
"secret" 2-minute buzzer. From reading some of the current day retro speedway books, I thought it was Alan Morrey who used to activate the 2-minute buzzer."
"@ Dave Beecroft You are correct in
identifying Lonsdale Park next to the Reds ground Borough Park. The new road and temporary bridge over the river to replace Northside Bridge so tragically
washed away in the infamous floods now crosses over part of this old stadium"
"You lucky devil,Ken. I really envy you on your new
lifestyle. In my younger days I regularly went on "speedway tours " with my mate, trying to get in a different track every night for a week, sleeping in
the car, having a few beers at each track. The friendliest place we visited was Long Eaton where we parked near a school playground and at 8.00 am the
dinner ladies brought us a cup of tea for our breakfast. Longest trip was Poole, where I think we were the only Halifax supporters there (it was midweek)
so we tried to make enough noise to make up for it (we were drunk). The locals seemed to find 2 drunken Yorkshiremen quite amusing, especially as we were
getting a pasting."
There must be many more tales out there from speedway tours over the years. Get in Touch if you've a story or two to tell.
Dudley Jones appeals to us all to do our bit to preserve Cowley Stadium, in the hope
that speedway will one day return to Oxford.
Jim Blanchard's latest work is this impressive painting of Coventry's Emil Sayfutdinov. Prints are available
from Jim's website.
Bill Elliot is arranging a Paisley Lions reunion for October/November this year. A number of former riders
and officials have already been invited, but he's still seeking more. If you wish to attend, want further details
or can put Bill in contact with former Lions then drop him an email (email@example.com) or give him a call (07854 724184).
Alison Byatt is looking for information on Sydney Scadding a former Grasstrack/Longtrack rider in New Zealand
- Can You Help?
"The last meeting was in 1972 when the defunct Romford
Bombers moved to West Ham. The club wound up after only a handful of meetings and the last ever race (second half final) was won by West Ham's captain and
track record holder, Kevin Holden. "
"The Jack "Red" Monteith memorial salver was donated by
Chemtec UK, Jack's employer at the time of his death ( 12th Jan 2010 ) The salver is awarded to the winner of the reserve's race ( Spring trophy Glasgow v
Edinburgh ) Matt McKie , work colleague of Jack and Glasgow supporter."
Mark has been watching Belle Vue since he was five years old and selects his favourite Aces
and visitors down the years.
Geoff Mardon (now 83 years young) was inducted into the New Zealand Speedway Hall of Fame on 28th May.
Here's Geoff with his old pal Bob Andrews. Thanks to Bob and Jim Henry who both sent us this picture.
Sheffield Tigers have now got a club song - "Here Come The Tigers". You can listen to it on
"I saw my first speedway at Odsal in 1946 and I remember
Eddie a few years later usually riding in heat one with the great Max Grosskreoutz getting the boomerangs off to a 5-1 start. Sadly there is no longer
any speedway at Bradford due to a short sighted council. So I have purchased a small camper van and at ripe old age of 76 I am travelling to places
like Belle Vue, Sheffield, Redcar and Newcastle etc. "
"Does anybody else remember in the mid 50's going by coach from
Stanly Stadium to Strothers Music shop in Wallasey and recording the Liverpool Chads fan song 'We're here to cheer our lads, we're here to cheer the Chads'
etc. which was played over the Tannoy system at the beginning of each meeting. I was one of about eight kids who were chosen/volunteered after the
Saturday kids matinee at the Casino cinema. Does the record still exist? Be interested to know!"
"What a great article on Gary. While
he was at Bradford I was working on the gate doing the tape magnets. To see him ride from inside the track was a great privilege and we were all always
jostling to be the one to wheel Gary's bike out for the parade. When he came back from Wolves to ride in an invitation match he would always chat to us
all, while doing the long walk from the clubhouse to the pits. A great bloke, a great rider. I was there working the night he did Maury Robinson over the
grass.It was obvious to a blind man but it would have been a very brave ref indeed to go against Bradford's hero on his own stamping ground.He was
a great loss.Interesting to read Mike Sheldrick's comments as his brother Sid was always great value at Bradford as well."
"I notice Tony Webbs comment on the Plymouth item about
Race Jackets, I think he is 100% correct. I went to Lakeside last week for only the 2nd time after a long break from watching racing, I did notice with
the Kings Lynn team, unlike the Hammers, have no real racing colours (Race Jackets), and it was hard to spot they were called the `Stars`, amongst
the adverts. I know a team, like riders, need the funding from Adverts and Sponsors, but I think in the case of Kings Lynn, they have gone too far.
I also notice when Sky TV were there (vs Wolverhamton), the Hammers proundly wore Royal Navy Race Jackets to support our Lads and Lasses in the
armed services, so it is not a case of not having racing colours so it is easier to see the adverts on the TV, as these would have been too small
to see anyway."