"Really takes me back. I have been trying to think of the guy who sold the Citizen (and, possibly, Speedway Stars). I think his name was Rab - he seemed to be part of the furniture at White City. Edinburgh had The Evening News Speedway Special - I seem to recall it was pink. There was a publication of some sort at Paisley for a while which may have been linked to Dick Barrie and his wife, Wendy Fisher which published interviews and speedway updates. Even the midweek editions of the Daily Record / Evening Times / Citizen (Glasgow) and the Scotsman / Evening News (Edinburgh) included a reasonable amount of Speedway news back in the seventies."
"The National Library of Scotland has fairly good set of the Speedway Specials from the Edinburgh Evening News and the Edinburgh Evening Dispatch for the 1960s era. The are held as microfilm copies. Can I suggest Bill gives the National Library and, maybe The Mitchell Library in Glasgow the opportunity to photograph his collection of Glasgow newspapers. I would urge anyone who has Speedway Specials from other tracks to give libraries local to the track the Specials covered the opportunity to copy them. Plus - don't bin old programmes = offer them to local libraries / heritage centres. West Lothian heritage centre in Linlithgow will accept Armadale and Linlithgow / Lathallan programmes."
"I was browsing through an old 1960s Speedway Star recently and came across an advert, in which Barry Briggs was selling his Ford Consul Capri and his Speedway Bike as a package. I can't remember if his bike was a Jap,ESO or w.h.y. The ad.would have been in a pre.1965 Speedway Star. Now....if someone can say that they bought "the package" and still have still have both the Bike and the Ford I will gladly send them a bottle of "scotch", or for that matter, either one will do. Proof necessary!! Seriously, it would be interesting to get some feedback on this. The "package" was quite expensive even for these bygone days and I can just imagine the amount of Riders who must have been thinking...if only!"
Bill Hamilton shares some "Speedway Special" newspaper wraparounds from 1971. Did your local paper produce something similar on speedway nights?
Issue 67 of The Voice is now available from Friends of Speedway. Independent sources have told us that Charles McKay's article on fixed race nights is worth the cover price alone.
The ordering details remain the same as ever:
Send a cheque for £12 for four issues to Stuart Towner ( Friends of Speedway; 117 Church Lane, Chessington, Surrey KT9 2DP) or ring 0208-397 6599 for more information.
"I thoroughly agree with your comments John although I wasn't around when the pre. war greats were racing. I did see some of the post war top riders in the 1960s at Glasgow Tigers (White City) especially when Glasgow Tigers were included in the new British League.
Who could forget...Barry Briggs, Ivan Mauger, Nigel Boocock, Tigers own Charlie "maximum" Monk, Edinburgh's George Hunter and many, many others that I'm sure you will all remember.
When I worked in the Pits at White City I always liked and admired Nigel Boocock who was always focused on his Racing but still had time for other Riders. I'm sure many will agree that when Nigel appeared at your track you were in for a hard nights racing. Eric Boocock also for that matter.
We could go on forever mentioning our favourites and the many second string Riders who gave it their all, often on substandard Machinery and having driven the length of the UK in their vans and cars just to ride for their team up in Glasgow or Edinburgh. Hats off to all these heroes too.
On attendances...I don't visit Glasgow Ashfield as often as I would like and last time I was there, a month or so ago, the attendance was quite poor I thought. Glasgow/Scottish weather has always been a problem for the promoters and another thing I could never quite figure out was an almost complete lack of "bikers" attending meetings even as far back as 1964 onwards. I know most of the "bikers" don't really connect with the Speedway Bikes unlike the TT Races, Moto World Series. etc., etc., etc. where they can see Motorcycles "similar" to their own contesting at ultra high speeds.
Speedway, I believe, will always be limited due to the confines of the Track dimensions where Track Records can take years to come down a second or two. I know a lot of fans will say that Speedway Racing can still be enjoyable and competitive and I agree to a point but attendances at meetings dictate if the Promoter can pay the Riders and costs of the meetings.
Another problem I see is this...very fast speeds are available to all drivers and riders nowadays therefore the excitement that the spectators of the past felt may not be there today. Remember the days when we thought that 60 or 70 mph was amazing in a car and bikers trying to do "the ton" was considered crazy!
I'm beginning to sound pessimistic about the future of Speedway in the UK as we know it I but can't see any reason to be optimistic. Perhaps, in the future, people will hop into their Global Transport and "nip over" to Poland etc. to see the Speedway Racing with large crowds in attendance and the much needed ATMOSPHERE that is so desirable in our sport.
Im sure many will agree or disagree with my comments, perhaps that's what's needed to stimulate our vision of the future of Speedway. Just sayin.... "
"John, Agree wholeheartedly with your comments on:
What are the worst things about speedway? The present governance of the sport. The way teams are constructed - it has long since seriously ceased to be a genuine team/club sport.
I am involved in running Sim Speedway (a management simulation) and many of our managers are getting more out of this than visits to the track.
What one thing would you do to improve speedway? Go back to 1946 structure. Have a complete pooling of the riders, ensure that there are no guests, rider replacements. Use the old well proven eight rider teams (six team men and two reserves). Have the old 14 heat leagues matches, then six second -half races. No guests or rider replacement nonsense.
Who needs the BSPA, lets all vote for John, these are the most commonsense thoughts on our current crisis in our beloved sport. Simple philosophy, fans will be able to get to know their riders and clubs could flourish.
What does the future hold for speedway? The way the sport is losing impact year on year sadly I can envisage no long-term racing under the present form in the UK. Eventually I think team racing will cease and meetings will be rather akin to another format as used in the USA.