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The VSRA Speedway Museum
Progress Update
by Alan Hodkinson

Are we going to see one of those fantastic last bend overtakes? With the end of the season rapidly approaching the figures are £19.000 guaranteed. £15.582 raised so far. A total of £34.582, leaving us £20.418 to reach our target of £55.000 the figure needed to build 'The History of Speedway' a museum dedicated to this great family sport which is long overdue, Speedway being the only major sport not to have such a centre. True, there are many splendid private collections around all worthy of a visit as I am constantly being told by enthusiasts, but to have our own centre which has not only exhibits but archives supported by technology giving as much realism as possible.

It will be realised that the figure we have quoted is to build the structure and as much else as the money will cover. We have the advantage of Peter Sampson's connections in the construction industry to look to in order to get as much as we can for as little as possible. Patrick Bowens is offering to pass on up to date display items that he frequently acquires. Dave Sear is offering to install a fire alarm system, whilst his colleague is keen to provide fire extinguishers. Darren Boocock has promised paint, whilst Peter Billingham has said he will be available to do any rider paintings. Exhibits we don't have to worry about because there have been so many offers. Let us get the building first.

How will we raise the remaining money? For a start there are track collections which we hope is the intention of all venues. Wimbledon, Rye House, Isle of Wight and Peterborough have all held their collections and all have done very well from our Speedway fraternity. Somerset, Newport, and Exeter are next in line with Workington and Sittingbourne certain dates. Sadly our collection at Poole was rained off, but promoters Matt Ford and Mike Golding are going to arrange this themselves. Belle Vue, Scunthorpe, Sheffield and Ipswich have stated intention to go ahead also. We hope all promotions will be able to fit in a collection before the seasons ends, and where possible able to carry this out without needing our presence. However, should we be required we will be delighted to go to any track in order to collect and would appreciate if there are any former riders who would give us a hand. At Peterborough we had the help of John Strong, Richard Greer and Peter Seaton which worked much better than just the two of us.

Whilst we are selling badges, draw tickets and Malcolm Brown CDs. So Wally Loak is selling his CD or DVD "48" (which I think he now realises should be "49") a recording of Speedway events and personalities some now passed over. Alan Hodkinson too is selling "Once a Jolly Swagman" a recording of the film made so many years ago featuring Speedway with the riding sequences filled by well known Riders. Both are selling and donating to the Speedway museum fund. Wimbledon and Rye House track shops are also selling the Museum fund badges. Not to be outdone Alan's wife Jackie is organising the VSRA and museum website featuring the Museum fund badge.

As you can see we are not entirely alone in seeking funding but we do need help especially on collections. Of great value is the input of the programme writers, and even more so the efforts of the announcer. The announcer can really inspire people with the importance of this project to our sport and mean the difference of many pounds in the kitty. Craig Saul at Rye House and Peterborough and Bryn Williams at IOW were inspirational. Derek Barclay's assistance at Wimbledon was invaluable.

Please don't leave it to the people mentioned above. We are a big family, possibly the most complete sporting family worldwide and we can all play a part. Then when we have completed our fund raising from within Speedway we can follow up our negotiations, already underway, with the Charity Commission and the Lottery Fund. Please! Our Speedway museum needs just one good push from us all to turn a dream into reality.

George Barclay 41 Lodge Avenue, Dagenham, Essex RM8 2JD

VSRA Website


This article was first published on 16th September 2005

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