Proud father Duncan Pemberton has sent in pictures of some marvellous speedway drawings that his daughter did a few years ago.
Stuart Towner has published the auto-biography of former rider Jim Chalkley who died in tragic circumstances in Spain recently. Jim was an occasional contributor to this website.
It has 72 pages A5 gloss cover and costs £7 plus £1.50 p&p (£4 to Europe, £5 rotw). If anyone would like a copy please send a cheque for £8.50 made out to "A Whiff of 'R' Promotions Ltd" and send to Stu Towner, 117 Church Lane, Chessington, Surrey KT9 2DP.
You may also find copies available on eBay.
The third issue of the Old Time Speedway Journal is now availble for free download. Gordon McGregor, Ernie Baker and the mystery of the Nazi armband are amongst the items included. Click here to view the pdf.
"It was nice to see Gary Guglielmi attending the reunion. Great place the Sydney Showgrounds were. I used to sneak in the place at night when I was there in 1979 and make all my long distance calls from the speedway trailer to my mother in the USA. The window was always left open and being the poverty stricken rider I was. I wonder if they ever found out..Little speedway story for you."
"re remark by Ian Graham. At no point did I say that my selection was based on a Newcastle Diamonds dream team. The purpose of the site, is to allow supporters to choose 7 riders as a "dream team" whether or not, that would be riders belonging to their "own club" or not."
"Damn!! My birthday was last week. Still, I think I know now what I want for Christmas. It sounds amazing, especially if the film / video footage is as good as the article suggests. Having read so much about the Fifties and attended the meetings with the Ruskies at White City etc. it has to be worth 16 quid."
"Not a success story from the sixties, but it's great to look back to the period and remember all the guys I came into contact with. There were 19 tracks in the league so we are talking of at least 180 riders plus non riders."
"Enjoyed reading this article, I was a regular in the late seventies before I could get into pubs. My mate was a bigger fan than me and used to drag me along every week.Bert Harkins was a big draw if I can remember correctly, he had a dirty yellow jacket and a distinctive upright style. Have been once to Armadale but it did not hold the memories as Powderhall. "
"Great place Powderhall. I am surprised the wall of death man never got a mention in the article. We all know who he is. I gave them every pennies worth of entertainment. I am only joking of course (no I am not). I remember the shacks at the back where the cold showers were cause I was always the last one in them. That was my wake up for the long trek home 220 miles. Beautiful place my beloved Powderhall. "
"Scott - a lovely and beautifully written and personal article. My late mother first took me to the speedway at West Ham in 1964, so I know how you felt when you started taking your own family. A very absorbing and interesting piece. Thank you for it."
"Great to see some of the people that raced at the Ekka when I was going there. Garry Rush was a favourite of our family, Sid Middlemass and Brian Mannion were others I saw race. Shame that our tracks are disappearing. Lovely memories. Thank you for sharing."
"In the late 80's I worked at Odsal as a cameraman/pit interviewer for Mike Bennett's MBi company. Have many fond memories. Gary Havelock, Andy Smith, Sean Wilson etc were always larking about having a laugh with the filming crew. The Ham Brothers were always very cooperative too! I believe the whole MBi back catalogue is now owned by Jan Staechmann. "
A bumper set of additional pictures of Terenzano - courtesy of Ian Presslie, Gillian Marks, Nick Pattison and Zdenenk Flajshanz. These have been added to those we published previously from Ian Adam, Harry Ward, Phil Rice and Craig Saunders.
"Odsal was a true racing circuit! Big, fast and steeply banked was one my all time favourite tracks alongside King's Lynn Peterborough and Sheffield (Not forgetting Exeter as well) Was a sad loss to the sport in 1997 when the plug was pulled would be great to see it back if the rumours are true"
"I have been looking for a picture of Jack now and this has made my day. I'm his older sister Gloria and I was with him when he used to race at Rowley Park. My husband Bill Harcus was his mechanic and used to push Jack off in the races, we used to stand on the mound down there and cheer him on. Especially when he raced neck and neck with Jack Young. Jack loved racing and went to England too and won some races. We saw him off on the huge ship and watched him as he waved good bye to us, I had a streamer joined to me and had a tear in the eye when the streamer broke. We used to get messages from him and what he did over there, nothing pleased us more than when we went down to the incoming ship bringing Jack home. We all watched when he came down the gang plank, and we all loved him up. He is a very likeable chap and all the family love him. He still loves to watch the bikes racing on the t v and I guess he relives all those boys who race now. I am very happy that you made a replica of Jacks bike and showed it to him. I reckon that made his day. "
"I readily accept and appreciate your comments regarding Ron Johnson. I am delighted to hear that my observation that he spent his last years confined to a wheelchair is unfounded and that he was active for so many post speedway racing years. My 2004 article in the 'South London Press' was based on extensive research with people in Perth, West Australia, who knew him up to his death. It was from there that I was given the information about him being wheelchair bound. The fact was also confirmed to me with a photo of him in a wheelchair where he was being introduced to Ove Fundin. The same information regarding him being wheelchair bound has been mentioned by others in reference works regarding the last years of his life. For my part, I am very pleased to see he was active virtually up to his death."
"Absolutely agree, Elite League is on its knees, the vested interest the promoters' have in running the sport has to be removed and an independant body with a viable mission statement to grow the sport and British talent should be established. Also, in my view, Britain should adopt the Polish and Swedish models with a single race night and only one home and away match against the other teams in the league. This would hopefully encourage larger crowds and reduce the fixed costs such as stadium rent etc. I note that Poole were due to race Lakeside on consecutive weeks before the dubious postponment; this probably sums up the chaos in the administration of sport."
David is/was a staunch fan of the Exeter Falcons, but continues to enjoy his speedway as a neutral. Lots of great memories here and remember that this feature is open to anybody who wishes to contribute.
We almost exclusively concentrate on solos, but these pictures of sidecar racer Harry Taylor were too good not to share. Thanks to his son Ralphy Taylor for sending these in.
Here are some familiar (though older) faces enjoying the recent Legends Night at Costa Mesa. From left to right we have Sonny Nutter, Dennis Sigalos, Danny Becker, Bobby Hill and Steve Columbo. Thanks to another legend (Ivan Blacka) for passing on the picture.
The fabulous 'Where are they now?' section on Facebook continues to go from strength to strength. A recent contribution from Danny Dunton is particularly recommended. Bernie Collier, Andy Reid and Craig Boyce are amongst the latest additions and remember, you don't need to be on Facebook to view the page. Check it out here.
"I remember Ken from the glory days at Leicester Hunters. I and my classmates from our school spent copious amounts of time at Blackbird Rd during school holidays. Many of us having crushes on the riders. Joy had a crush on Ken. We used to spend our time polishing Leathers. Happy days. I now live just down the road from the new track. "
" This is a very good article, I enjoy reading about Ove Fundin. I would like to say I had the pleasure to be picked up at his friends bungalow in Thorpe St. Andrews By Ove ( sorry I have forgotten their names ). I think Ove driving a yellow Mercedes - Benz he than took us to London for the world finals. What a great day I had thanks to Ove and his friends. I would love to see Ove open a new track in Norwich soon! "
"I was interested to see the bit about Basse Hveem - he did ride for a spell for West Ham but only for one season. He had meetings in the UK in his quest for World Championship glory. I was interested in the mention of Huskvarna as I'm sure I saw a Huskvarna engine at a BMF Rally at Peterborough and it looked for all the world like a copy of a JAP. It belonged to the late Richard Forshaw so I don't know who owns it now. "
"At the age of 71, I remember the Roger brothers. Don Hardy, Bronco Slade and many others. As a young lad I went and got some black boot polish for Norman Clay to clean his leathers with, this was also back when the Falcons had an old railway carriage to keep their bikes in. Over the years of following the Falcons, I've seen many a great riders, but for me the one rider who lit up the County Ground was Ivan, the ultimate professional. The man who took Exeter to the top. I've done a fans view of the last meeting, plus the demoliton of the stadium, to the building of the new estate. If Ivan wants a copy I'll send him one."
"I remember the old Odsal Tudors in the 1950s. Ron Clarke died in 1981, Oliver Hart died in 1983, Eddie Rigg died in 1991 and Arthur Forrest died in 2000. Speedway is due to return to Odsal in 2014 under the team name of the Bradford & Halifax Dukes. It is Tony Mole who brought speedway back to Birmingham who is behind its revival."
"Your statement about Ron being confined to a wheel chair from 1969 was false. He was just fine in 1969. Walking, bending and doing mechanical work on his own motorbike and mine. I visited him on a number of occasions until his death and although his age and past injuries kept him using a walking stick, he was very mobile and independent right up to 1981 when I last saw him. It amuses me when I read stories about this speedway idol. Never let the facts get in the way of the reality hey. "
We certainly hear more conflicting stories about Ron's post-speedway life than any other rider.
Some rather depressing pictures of the decaying remains of the Machowa circuit in Poland. It was a professional circuit from 1991 until 1993 and was used for training until 2008. It's now fallen into a state of disrepair. Thanks to Zdenek Flajshanz for the photographs.
Nigel Boocock will be guest of honour at an event in Sydney next Sunday. The celebration day is linked to the recently published "Ghosts in the Bull Pens" book. Steve Magro brings us details of what promises to be a great day out.
"Anyone knows where former Mildenhall riders of 1990's and early 2000's are, including Geoff Powell, Wayne Broadhurst etc. My book 'Vol 2 of Mildenhall's History (1994-2013) will be launched at the National Pairs Meeting at Mildenhall 30 June. It would be nice to see some of the ex riders on that day"
"Much as I dislike defending Dudley Council, as you say they have done nothing for Sport in the Borough, but they did not give planning permission for Barretts to build on Dudley Wood. They turned it down more than once, but Barretts took it to appeal, where despite all the available evidence, they prevailed."
"I thought it was a tidy little stadium and saw two meetings there: Newport v Glasgow when Frank Smart wiped half the Tigers team out in one meeting and a very eventful Conference League encounter between Newport Mavericks and Scunthorpe Saints. I know the track had its critics but the meetings I saw were superb and I cannot believe how quickly the deal was done to sell to a haulage company. I think the Mallet family had done everything possible to make Newport successful. I saw the Wasps riding at Redcar in what proved to be their final season and they were superb that night and looked like they had a potent team for the following year. Reports that crowds were as low as 200/300 for some meetings then you can maybe understand why the Mallett family sold the land to the highest bidder. A great loss to the fabric of UK Speedway though. "