Tim May started his speedway life watching the Canterbury Crusaders.
Thanks to television he rediscovered his love of the sport and he's once again a regular
around the circuits. His 'Dream Team' includes some old Crusader favourites, some stars from
the past and some current heroes.
We're sure many of you are listening to BBC Radio Oxford's "Planet Speedway" each Wednesday at 7pm. This week's show included interviews with Ales Dryml, Greg Hancock, Chris Neath and Gary Havelock. If you missed it you can use the "listen again" function on the Radio Oxford website to catch the show.
John Miller has heard that there was once a speedway track at Swaythling in Southampton. He's looking for confirmation of this - Can You Help?
Hugh wants to know more about Charles Blakelock. It's believed he died in a track crash at Nottingham in the early twenties - Can You Help?
"Reading these memories certainly takes me back. I agree, Hyde Road was the best speedway stadium/track that I ever visited including Wembley. To see Sjosten and Mauger flying round there is a sight I will sadly never see again. Only in my memories. Belle Vue Aces were lucky that they could move to Kirky Lane. I am a former Sunderland Speedway Supporter, and have no home Track to visit now since the final closure in 1974. I go to Redcar regularly and Newcastle now and again to get my fix. Excellent pictures, thank you for making me think back."
"Wonderfully nostalgic to see the shots of Old Meadowbank, no palace, but what a reacetrack!! Happy days!"
Ray Bysouth on West Ham's Colours:
"Robert Rogers was right about the Hammers other race jacket, they used it in the War years and in 1946! I must admit I have found some small errors in Brian's book 'Hammerin Round' but still found it a great read if a little flowery!"
Harry Ward on West Ham's Colours:
"I was interested to read Robert Rogers on Brian Beltons interview. Just to expand a little on the club colours of West Ham United. It is a very interseting subject as it actually pre dates even 1895 and the Thames Ironworks. I shan't bore you with this but the development of the West Ham speedway colours is just as interesting. A great illustraion of the Team Colours in 1937 are those to be seen on the John Player Cigarette Cards of speedway riders 1937 as worn by such greats as Bluey Wilkinson, Phil Bishop and Tiger Stevenson. I wonder does anyone out there know why the Red and Blue was reversed later? Regarding Brian's book which was obviously well researched and written I did have one major dissapointment. 1965 an important year for British Speedway was completely dominated by West Ham and considering this I was surprised to see so few pages devoted to this great season. Equally the Lokeren disaster that is comparable in its own way to the Munich Air disaster should, in my opinion, have received more attention. On the question of Speedway books. I wonder after so few coming out in the recent past are there now too many being released? I suppose it's market driven but I do feel that it's a tad overkill at the moment "
"After losing the World Championship to Tony Rickardsson last year, I knew I had to make
some tough decisions if I was to progress. And those decisions have paid off.
I changed my machinery, restructured the whole operation of the team and set some goals and
we have achieved the desired results. And to achieve the goals with two Grand Prix rounds
remaining makes it all that more satisfying."
Jason Crump - 2006 World Champion
David Walsh rode for eleven different clubs in a career that lasted eighteen years and saw him capture league medals with Newcastle,
Ellesmere Port, Glasgow and Bradford. Walshie took time to talk to us about his career and the crash that brought it all to a sudden end.
Mick is now an Eastbourne fan but in the past has followed New Cross and Wimbledon. He's recently
returned to watching the sport and is hooked once again. His team includes riders from both
the past and the present.
Jeff Scott didn't make it along to Stoke last weekend, but he'll be there
promoting "Showered in Shale" this Saturday
night. In the week ahead he'll also be at Mildenhall, Scunthorpe, King's Lynn and
Sheffield. Take your cash along and snap up a copy of this excellent book.
There's a new website that celebrates the history of the Long Eaton Invaders.
It's mainly images at the moment, hopefully some words will follow.
Pablo Cruz is looking to recruit riders for the Argentinian championship during the winter.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
for details of the opportunities available.
Bennie Ludolphy needs help in identifying an unusual engine - Can You Help?
Mark Dell is looking for heat details for the Ipswich v Leningrad meeting
in 1972 - Can You Help?
"A very interesting item, but one small question? Why are the colours incorrect in the book "Hammerin` Round"? The front cover of the book is Claret and Blue, and one of the chapters is called "Claret and Blues". While I accept the point being made in this Chapter is of Claret being the Wine of Success, and the Blues to point out the problems in the 1930's, this would mislead anybody who is unawre of the SPEEDWAY COLOURS as opposed to the FOOTBALL COLOURS.
Sorry to get the Anorak out, but, West Ham first rode in a plain White Jacket, then Blue and Red halves before these were reversed and the world famous crossed White Hammers were added. These colours finally ended up with the words West Ham and London on them in the Dave Lanning era of the late 60's.
Also included in the times of Lanning, were an attempt to race with the West Ham football jerseys (these were Claret and Blue) over the racing leathers, these were soon disgarded as being too hot to wear during racing, plus an attempt at wearing the high coloured jackets as worn by road workers was also soon kicked out (Dave Lanning was definitely of the same stock as Johnny Hoskins, trying anything to get the crowds to come and watch the Hammers!)
There was a second type of race jacket in the thirties, which showed seperate Hammers with a number between them. There has been some disagreement over these colours, but at no time has anybody ever said they were Claret and Blue (or has Doctor Brian found something we have all missed?)
On the subject of Hammers, they originally come from the crest of West Ham Council, and are two differnt Hammers which are crossed. One is a Railway Hammer to represent the Railway Works at Stratford, the other is a Shipbuilders Rivit Hammer which is for the Thames Iron Works who were at Canning Town.
Final point on the colours, Claret and Blue were the House colours of the TIW, and it is for this reason, as West Ham United Football teams roots are in the firm's club side, that they adopted the colours and are also known as both the Hammers and the Irons.
Finally, yes this is item does have a ending! The books Brian has wrote are fantastic, and both my copies of Hammerin' Round and Bluey Wilkinson are well read and have been recomended by me on the local Newham Council history website, plus his latest book on the Baseball Team has already produced some interest and questions have been asked on how to obtain it."
I am pleased to announce a new Photo CD from Glasgow Speedway. This 60th Anniversary
Photo CD will feature all the action from the 60th anniversary meeting along with a
look back through my photo records to 1988 and the Shawfield years. This Photo
CD will be packed with over 500 photos to view and use on your PC or Mac.
The CD will be available from the track shop at Glasgow the week following the 60th
meeting at a cost of £6.00 and as usual a donation from the profits of this photo CD
will be made to one of the Glasgow riders. CDs can be posted to any UK address for
You may pre-order this photo CD by e-mailing me at email@example.com and your
photo CD will be ready for collection on 24th September 2006.
Please note if you have previously purchased my Glasgow Action 1988-2002 photo CD
this CD makes up the historic photos on the new CD but you will of course have all
the action from the 60th meeting.
When the legendary Hyde Road circuit closed down at the end of 1987 the famous
Belle Vue Aces made the short switch to the nearby greyhound stadium. It's now
been their home for the best part of twenty years, though it will never replace
the original track in the hearts and minds of most supporters. Some of these
pictures appeared in our recently published downloadable magazine, but here's the
Paul Clews stages his testimonial meeting at Stoke on September 23rd with a 6pm start.
Confirmed riders so far are: David Howe, Chris Schramm, Nick Simmons and Shane Parker.
£10 to sponsor a rider's Fuel
£30 to sponsor a rider's Tyre
£100 to sponsor a rider's Travel
£150 to sponsor a race
£25 to visit the pits & watch a race from the centre green!
We talk to one of speedway's most prolific authors about his background,
his work and the world of speedway publishing in general. Brian's most
recent publication is a biography of Fay Taylour and in the past he's written
histories of West Ham and Bluey Wilkinson.
Edinburgh fan Scott Frame nominates his all-star seven
this week. He includes popular ex-Monarchs like Kenny McKinna but finds some
room for some of the sport's biggest names also.
Shaun Tacey stages his testimonial meeting at Mildenhall on 10th September and you
could be the assistant referee on the day. There's also a chance to be a "start tart" for the
afternoon or to sponsor a rider. The meeting will feature a 16 heat individual competition
that will conclude in a 12 lap final. Full details of the event can be found at
Don't forget Matt Read's upcoming farewell meeting either. Matt has been forced to
retire through injury and a benefit meeting will be staged at Somerset on Friday 22nd
September. Danny Bird and Magnus Zetterstrom are the latest additions to an already
Jeff Scott is still on tour promoting his fabulous Showered in Shale book.
You can catch him at Plymouth and Stoke over the weekend. Tell him that SpeedwayPlus sent you!
Steve Brock, track photographer at Newcastle for many seasons now, has launched a new website.
It's a very impressive affair and features loads of great pictures of the Diamonds and their visitors.
Ann & Jeff Dooley sell memorabilia and collectables via the web and specialise in speedway items. You can check out
their stock at hanleycollectables.com.
Riders looking for crankcase filler plugs, throttles or other items may wish to visit the unusually named
On the other hand, if you're looking for a complete bike, either new or second hand, then John Carpenter's
speedwaybikes.co.uk should be your first port of call.
"I wonder whether it was the same Australian "speedway" film which included scenes of former Edinburgh Monarch Bill Landels and others practising at Sydney Showground. I can remember watching this one Friday after coming home from Powderhall, which dates it to late 70's or early 80's. Can anyone help?"
"Just to echo Garry Clegg, having watched speedway at Belle Vue since 1969 until closure, I have seen some epic battles over the years, not only the Collins/Mitchenek 1973 KO cup battle but classic BLRC championships. I also had the privilege to race there in the 80's. Kirky lane is not the same!"
"I have read Ken Nicholsons' remarks concerning the World Championship and whether it is easier to win under the present system. I have never attended a GP, notwithstanding the fact that I live just a few miles from Cardiff. I did, however, attend every UK held championship from the mid '60s onwards under the old system. What always struck me under the old system was that, notwithstanding the fact that there were perhaps a dozen riders present good enough to win, in fact probably no more than three of the contestants really stood a chance on any occasion. This was not primarily down to ability, but self belief, the will to win, and nerves. I strongly suspect that the same is true today, and that the degree of difficulty is about the same, as Ken implies. The main thing that has always worried me about the GP system is the fact, again raised by Ken, that the GP is a club for a limited number of last year's best riders. Perhaps, indeed, this years event should find the 2005 champion, not that for 2006! Of course, its all about money and, to be fair, perhaps the most consistent rider over the year does deserve the title. For me though, the excitement of being at Wembley or Bradford (or anywhere else) knowing that a champion will be crowned in twenty or so heats, and its all to play for, just isn't created by the GP system. My choice has got to be the best rider on the night, perhaps I am just old."
"I've long searched for information about Liverpool Speedway at the old Stanley Stadium. Thanks, Richard, great article. I started supporting speedway at Belle Vue's Hyde Road track in 1966. Saturday nights meant the train from Liverpool Central with Graham and Roy, two schoolmates from the Liverpool Institute, the bus along Hyde Road and into the great old stadium, crowds often 10,000 plus, occasionally 20,000, no silencers, the smell of Castrol R, one fantastic atmosphere. Jim Yacoby, mentioned as riding for the Liverpool Pirates, was the regular reserve in the Belle Vue Aces team of 1966. As a kid, Graham used to attend the Stanley. He told me that the Chads closed at the end of the 1953 or 1954 season, and that top riders were appearing during the brief life in 1956 of Liverpool Eagles, he mentioned Peter Craven, Doug and Willie Templeton. Graham also attended Liverpool Pirates matches during the 1961 provincial league season. In the late '60s, the remains of the Stanley Stadium sadly disappeared under a wholesale fruit and veg market. I recently found out that my father-in-law used to go to the Stanley speedway, and he still has a team photo of the Chads, I don't know from what year. In the 1970's, I also used to visit Ellesmere Port Gunners, a great little track with an enthusiastic following. "
Issue 5 of our FREE downloadable magazine is now available. The magazine is
is in PDF (Adobe Acrobat) format and 900KB in size.
Inside this issue:
We have an exclusive interview with David Walsh. Walshie rode for 11 different clubs,
some more than once, but never failed to make himself a fans' favourite. We follow his story from the terraces
at Halifax right through to the crash that brought his career to a sudden end.
Mike Bennett shares some tales from the British tour of Australia in 1988. Find out why the party was thrown
out of a shopping mall and which rider ended up swimming in full riding gear!
There's an exclusive extract from Jeff Scott's brilliant "Showered in Shale" book. If you haven't already got a copy then
read this to get a flavour of this most excellent tome.
Chris Seaward urges us all to look to speedway's future and predicts brighter days ahead.
We get a most interesting insight into Torbjorn Harrysson from his old friend Dave Gifford. Read about the 'special tuning'
that was essential when racing against Barry Briggs.
There's more of our ever-popular track photographs. This time we turn the lens on Belle Vue and Parken.
Dave Green bucks the trend and praises the ladies and gentlemen of the BSPA.
We also turn back the clock several decades as Don Maddocks shares his memories of the Liverpool Chads and Peter Craven.
"I'm really pleased to be joining Stoke again after such a long time and I'd like to think
I can bring a lot of qualities to the team. It's very much a case of going back to my roots.
I've generally had a good rapport with the older supporters who remember me from my
time here previously."
Paul Thorp on his return to the Potteries
The Boulevard was the home of the Hull Vikings from 1971 until 1981. The stadium
was shared with Hull FC, a Rugby League side, who continued to use
the stadium until 2005. These pictures were taken by Richard Watson
after the Rugby club had moved out. The stand on the back straight was added after
the Vikings had moved out, but the home straight remains much as it was back then.
Is it fair that Hans Andersen is unable to win this year's World Championship?
Has Tony Rickardsson's medal haul come easier than Ivan Mauger's or Ove Fundin's?
Ken Nicholson shares his thoughts on both topics in this
"Re: Ray Davidson's recollection of the Blue Peter episode: It was actually staged at
Hackney and a two page photographic record is in the Blue Peter annual (number 10 I think). Noakes and Purves raced against two Hackney juniors, and Purves fell off
(excuse being a late change of bike just before the race). The training was organised by Len Silver.
I was at Wimbledon Stadium in the late 1970s when they filmed an advert
for Mars. (I think) it was Eddie Jancarz and Stefan Salomonsson shown blasting from the tapes and into the first bend whilst a lad munched on his bar of chocolate to the
immortal line of 'A Mars a day helps you work rest and play.'"