Peter Roebuck brings us 46 pictures taken at the recent West Aussie Championships at Pinjar Park. Cameron Heeps walked away with the spoils in the solos.
Ian Presslie got in touch after we mentioned his vintage programme archive in last week's column:
"Many thanks for your kind comment in Plus Points. This site is part of Old Time Speedway. New sections will continue to be added periodically. Another section to view is Speedway In Print - Magazines - scans of publications from many seasons including those from the earliest days of our sport. Have a browse you won't be disappointed. "
"You'll have noticed two stadia in the top picture. White City is the one in the foreground, what you see behind it and at right angles to it is the Albion Stadium which was a dog track (like White City) and which (once demolished) became a training ground for Rangers FC whose Ibrox Stadium was immediately opposite. My only speedway meeting at white City was in Tigers' last season there (1968) when they lost 38-40 to Sheffield. My first memory of speedway from that meeting was a stray bit of shale flying up and hitting me in the eye !!!"
Another product to include in your letter to Santa. A great new DVD that looks back on the 1980s - the decade of Penhall, Carter, Nielsen, Gundersen and some of the sport's greatest controversies and tragedies.
Peter follows in the footsteps of his brother by taking part in this feature. His memories are largely from Wimbledon, so little surprise that the great Tommy Jansson features in his comments.
Malcolm Roe has put together a "what if" bike that could have been built in the 70s had twin carbs not been banned. RTS racing supplied the custom manifold and carbs and Les Collins was the source of the engine.
Jim Henry is trying to complete his comprehensive records on Edinburgh in the 1948-1951 period. He's still short of a few very specific bits of info - Can You Help?
"I can recall in the fifties at Belle Vue you got 3 pound a start and three pound a point and if you didn't complete at least one lap, machine breakdown etc, you got nothing. The promoter at around that time was the great Johnnie Hoskins."
"The shay was the best track the league has ever had, with its high banked corners and long straights it produced some fantastic nights and some incredable racing. Spent many happy Saturday night at the Shay with my Dad. Such a shame it closed, would have made a great Elite League track."
"My dad John (now deceased) used to continually tell me about how good Jackie Biggs was and how well he could get a bike going, from what l can gather they were quite good friends and used to always be at Tracy's speedway in Melbourne. In dad's latter years he would always tell me about 3 bikes that Jackie built, they were a bit different, from what he said they had the tank under the seat? Dad searched for one of those bikes for many years and thought he had finally tracked one down in Bendigo only to be disappointed once again. He gave up in the end, if anyone has any news or knowledge of these bikes l would love to hear about them. From what l can gather they were put together in a garage in Preston or a garage near the Flemington show grounds."
"It is so sad to see our great sport dying on it's feet. Maybe people don't feel they get value for money, 15 heats is not really much for £20 including programme in the Elite League, and not much less in the Premier. Trouble is, if we cut back to, say, 13 with a full second-half - remember the days when half the crowd vanished anyway after the league match was over? So, what to do? How about extending matches to 18 heats for a start. That would at least give supporters something to get their teeth into. Cut out guests for another thing. Imagine Rooney playing for Liverpool in a title decider versus Man City? Ridiculous. Increase the points limit to 50, that way each team can have enough decent point scorers to cover absence. And how about the most contentious of all - amalgamate urgently the Elite and Premier Leagues back into one British League. It worked in 1965 and can do so again. Oh and by the way, do everything we can to bring on the rising young stars. A successful England team would do wonders for the sport. We know we are up against it where press publicity is concerned, but if SKY do pull the plug after next season as is now being rumoured, speedway could disappear without trace in a short space of time."
"Where have all the fans gone? There all stopping at home. Like pubs and clubs, speedway is too expensive for an evening's entertainment. Unless you offer people something special/extra they're going to stop in doors and watch speedway or socialise, it's a lot cheaper and convenient. The problem with the running of speedway is firstly, as Ivor says people want to be entertained for the full 2-3 hours, not have to stand around for ages waiting for a re-run whilst medics return to track or riders sort their bikes out, secondly supporters don't want rules changed every season, they don't want second halves, just take a look at how many people are still on the terracing at tracks that do have a second half. 7 riders a team, 15 heats, double tactical with no restictions when used, luck will happen no matter what format is used. Lastly, no points limit, let promoters build a team they can afford! No sport has suffered spectactor wise because of a dominant team/individual, if anything crowds increase. In short promoters need to keep their product simple, cheap and entertaining, then people will start coming back."
"But this is NOT the well known Wiener Neustadt Speedway Stadium, which once hosted a SGP and many international meetings in the 1980s and 90s. That former speedway stadium in Wiener Neustadt has since been transformed into a football only stadium. Shown on these pictures is the former training track of the Wiener Neustadt club, which in the last couple of seasons has been upgrated and is now used for race meetings. The track is located at Eggendorf, several miles out of town. "
"I was just a kid about 12, when Jackie used to arrive at the track at Poole in mid sixties I think. I can remember him taking his bike off and he used to carry his bag and he let me push his bike to the pits. Then he would sit on his stool and i can remember him cutting the corners off the grips of his brand new tyres. Because I was only a kid I asked him why he was doing it and he said to get a better grip. He would let me stay there until racing started, give me a couple of programmes and some elasticated goggles that they wore so that meant I got in free. I used to do that quite often when he was riding at Poole. I can see his bike now. All the chrome was lovely and shiney. By what i can remember he was a bit of an idol amongst the fans. With the money I saved from getting in I would spend on chips and eat them on the bus on the way home. Also I used to do the same with Ronnie Moore when he used to come down to Poole to ride. Two great speedway riders and men. "
"In reply to A.Williamson's comment about Ray Wilson, I know for a fact that the race he mentions Ray Wilson did let Trevor Hedge win to get his maximum, he promised your brother that he would and he did."
"Derrol Keats was total bonkers. I saw him jump onto a training bike at Sheffield training track with only a pair of jeans and a no sleeves vest kind of top and no helmet on, all this was in front of youg lads who wanted to learn speedway , HA HA guesssss what HE FELL OFF big style in a big heap on the third bend and took off a load of skin right down his left shoulder and arm, the dafty was near the point of crying with pain."
Pictures of the surprisingly basic Wiener Neustadt track in Austria, courtesy of Nick Pattison. Regular visitors may have spotted that Nick's pictures frequently involve wet tracks and umbrellas - an all-too common feature of the season just gone.
"Think the dvd will be on my "preferred Christmas present" list. Ivan was without doubt the greatest rider I've ever had the pleasure of watching, bar absolutely no-one, even when he was beating my team's favourites with annoying regularity. Amongst all the giants in the sport he is, for me, head and shoulders above the rest!"
"Re: The Mauger Interview It was most interesting to read the review of the DVD interview with Ivan, and in particular the almost league championship with the Vikings. Ivan is not alone in feeling a little aggrieved at that. As a staunch Viking fan and regular traveller to support the team at just about every away match, and being one of the couple of dozen Vikings fans at the said Wimbledon meeting, I can say that Ivan is not alone with such sentiments. The riders concerned, and they know who they are, only had to score four points between them, and Vikings would have won that night. Wimbledon dodged a bullet on that occasion, as the Viking team that year was undoubtedly the strongest in the league, when they turned up. And make no mistake, Coventry did not win the league in 1979, the Vikings lost it. Simple as that."
"The reply that stated Tai Woffinden chose to be British. Fact check, born in Britain to British parents! How much more British can you get? If I emigrated to say USA, would that make my eight years old son American in say ten years? Absolutely not! "
"I went to Lonsdale Park Stadium in the mid 1980s when they were running greyhound meetings. It was a nice friendly little place but crowds were sparse. Workington's three stadiums were all grouped close together."