This 36 page downloadable publication features some of the best articles to appear on this site throughout 2009.
It's in the popular PDF format and can be saved to your local disk, printed or read on screen. The file size of 1.2Mb
shouldn't trouble even the slowest internet connection.
Soren Kjaer tells the remarkable story of Svend Engstrom the 1931 Nordic Champion who celebrated his 100th birthday in March.
This article is in PDF format and is beautifully illustrated with pictures from the Engstrom family album.
Derek has been watching the Glasgow Tigers since they were based at either Hampden or Coatbridge, he can't quite remember as he
was very young at the time. He nominates the National League's all time top scorer as his favourite rider and a classic Brough Park cup tie
as his best his ever meeting.
We featured a Mystery Painting on the site a couple of weeks back but sadly we've been unable
to uncover much about its origins. The consensus seems to be that the picture shows Barry Briggs falling in heat 5 of the 1972 World Final
in which he lost a finger. Bernie Persson is the rider leading the race and Valeri Gordeev from the USSR is about to hit Briggs. The fourth rider
in the race is Grigori Chlynovski.
"Well said Matt Jackson, I
agree with almost everything you said (I was a Dukes supporter and well remember the Sheffield - Halifax derbies at the Shay, unfortunately we had a
habit of losing too often for comfort!). I also used to visit Owlerton starting in the Jim Airey/Arnold Haley days through to Dougie Wyer, Reg Wilson era.
My favourite memory would have to be the night Tommy Knudsen tried to "fence" Reg on the first bend when Reggie was sweeping round the outside of him.
Reg was so incensed he waited for Knudsen at the pit gate and landed a few punches before the track staff parted them! It was a shame when they stopped
fans watching from the back straight at Owlerton because the view from opposite the starting gate just showed what incredible acceleration a
speedway bike has."
"I would like to wholeheartedly
agree over the one off World Final issue. How can someone who is SELECTED for a Grand?? Prix after winning the Grand Prix series be classed as
World Champion - it beggars belief. MOST Speedway Riders have NO CHANCE of getting to be World Champion under this system. Who knows - someone MAY
have won it outside of the select few. I have been to Cardiff and there is no doubt that the British GP is a great spectacle and occasion -
BUT - so was the 'one off' World Final. Suffice to say that Jack Young as a Second Division Rider and Jerzy Szczakiel - a REAL surprise in Poland
1973 would AGAIN have NO CHANCE of winning the ultimate Title. They would not even be in it. At least in the old days any Speedway Rider who was
riding Club Speedway was in with a theoretical chance of being World Champion - there was always a chance of an upset. I believe that eventually the
SGP will split from British League Speedway and when that day comes, once again, we could hold Qualifying Rounds and end up with a TRUE World Champion -
NOT a manufactured one."
We're delighted to bring you a second extract from Jeff Scott's brilliant
Quantum of Shale book. The book covers Jeff's travels around the tracks in the 2008 season
and recently received an 'honourable mention' in The Observer's Sports Books of the Year column
(see here for the Observer article).
In this chapter he visits Redcar and elicits some fascinating insights from then promoter Glynn Taylor. Anybody ever considering running
a speeedway track should read this first.
Quantum of Shale and Jeff's other books can be purchased from MethanolPress.com with some titles now
discounted by up to 66%.
Harry first watched his speedway at Custom House but is now a devoted fan of the Rye House Rockets. He makes the point that
we're all watching two different sports these days - GP and domestic speedway. Difficult to argue with that.
Jim Blanchard has another of his stunning prints available, this time featuring Tai Woffinden. This is strictly a limited edition
with only 250 available, a number of which will be signed by Tai. Unsigned ones will be available at £24.99 and those signed by Tai will be £29.99.
Both prices include p&p in the UK. Size of the print is 640mm x 500mm (or 26" x 20") printed on 300gsm art media. Full details and ordering information
can be found at jbsportsimages.co.uk
Former Edinburgh rider Mike McLuskey would like to hear from those he used to ride with and against. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
if you'd like to get in touch.
"Thanks for a great article Bill.
I too have memories of Jimmy and Bill MacMillan and all the rest at Glasgow and Bertola etc at Old Meadowbank, Edinburgh. As to getting the Tigers and
Monarchs to amalgamate it could be like grasping fog! Alas I'm exiled in England but keep a close eye on the Scots. Roll on 2029!!!!"
"Can you show it at a larger scale so we
can have a go at dating it please? Also - has the signature been checked and correctly interpreted."
Larger versions of the picture and signature can now be seen via the original article.
Bert Harkins on Previous Feedback:
"Re. the anonymous letter about Sverre Harfeldt which appreared in Speedway Plus
recently. Sverre lives near Oslo in Norway and is still very fit. Despite problems in walking any great distance owing to the horric leg injuries he
received, he still cycles around the Norwegian countryside every day. He has had a replacement knee fitted and reports that it is working well
and he still keeps in touch with many of his old Speedway friends. In November 2009, he was one of the guests at Olle Nygren's 80th Birthday party,
the 'Motorfest Dinner' in Norkopping, Sweden along with other stars from Speedway, Motocross and Road Racing. Sverre is also a regular visitor to
Teneriffe for the annual winter Wimbledon Get-Together organized by former Dons' fans, Darryl & Sue Mason. He also visits the UK to attend the annual
WSRA (World Speedway Riders' Association) Dinner & Dance at the Leicester Marriott every March.
Incidently, Sverre's daughter is a qualified airline pilot
flying passenger planes for Norwegian Airways, so speed runs in the family! Sverre says, "She went on a school trip to be shown around the airport
and all the other girls came away wanting to be Air Stewardesses, but she wanted to be a pilot and eventually she succeeded"."
"It would be a real shame to see Costa Mesa go. It's a living
legend. So lets hope it does not die."
Richard Austin has reported the following update on Costa Mesa: "Yesterday, in the LA Times, it appears a number of elected officials who
originally voted for the auctioning off the Orange County Fairgrounds, now have changed their collective minds, and will vote against the auction.
(who knows). Keeping my fingers crossed."
Matt, one of the authors behind the marvellous Speedway A-Z cds, is next in line in this series.
He nominates The Shay as his favourite venue and is willing to solve all speedway's ills if we pay him enough!
Dave Jones wrote to Blue Peter back in 1974 and received a very nice reply from the legendary Biddy Baxter.
He's sent it us so that all of you can see it as well.
Norman Jacobs and John Chaplin have written a book about the legendary Tom Farndon.
It will be published in February and we'll hopefully bring you extracts prior to its publication. Further details can be found on the
The History Press website.
Ian Gill's marvellous Trackin' Down book is still available and falls into ideal 'stocking filler' territory. The book includes lengthy
interviews with four former Long Eaton riders and don't forget that the proceeds will help injured riders. More details and an extract from
an interview with Vic White can be found here.
Marcin Rygielski is looking for information on Ole Hansen - Can You Help?
Cliff Ellis is still looking for a copy of 'Circuits of Gold' and has DVD longtrack action to offer in exchange - Can You Help?
"I'm just devastated to find out, after
all these years, that Charlie Monk and Reidar Eide aren't Scottish!! I'm away to burn my flag!!! I cannot believe that Ian Hoskins would have tried
to pull the wool - maybe he did not know."
"I was interested to read the article by Soren Kjaer about
Norwegian rider, Basse Hveem. 'Way back when I was a wee schoolboy in Glasgow, I saw Basse racing in a World Championship Round at Glasgow White City
and became a Basse Hveem fan on the spot. White City was a difficult track to ride, with long M1-style straights and very tight corners and I remember
that Basse was so very fast down the straights, probably the fastest rider I had seen at White City in my schooldays, but not so quick on the tight
corners. I can't remember his point score for the meeting but I think he was up there in the top three and he left a very big impression on me,
both with his speed and with his exotic name as he was the first foreign rider I had seen in Scotland.
That was the only time I ever saw him
race although I ocassionally saw his name featured in the Speedway press and read about his early exploits in Norway when he hid his
Speedway bike from the approaching Germans during the Second World War. Real 'Boys' Own Comic' book stuff! Glad to see that his Speedway bike
survived and that it is in a Museum in Oslo which will make a good excuse to visit Norway even if they don't have a GP there any more! "
"Can I just comment on Ian Harwood's comments on my
recollections hee hee. I was just saying that in the 70s you had plenty of passing and an odd bad meeting/race whereas now we have no passing, gate and go
and an odd good meeting/race....they were better days, especially when wearing my rose tinted specs!!"
"Any news on any Speedway track is fantastic.
Even if it was in the middle of the Serengeti National Park. Nice article."
"For Gods sake stop going on about the old world championship versus G P. I have been a fan for 60 yrs
and have to say the GP is better, a rider can have a bad night and still win but with a one off as Ivan will tell you a 2 bob washer can stop you. So I am
70 and let's stop moaning and get in the 21st century. And thank God for Sky TV."