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How to halt the decline
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Gerald Dunn's JAP
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1975 World Final. Heat 20.
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Peter Collins Autobiography
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DVD Review: 70s - A to Z
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Feedback Special


  • Ken Smee on Riders to Remember: Dick Harris:

    "Great to read that memory of Dick Harris, a true entertainer around Plough Lane. Great days."


  • Pat on From Ken's Scrapbook:

    "Enjoyed reading about the beginning of Scunthorpe. I knew that Ken McKinley had been involved in the club. I used to watch Ken when he rode for Coventry in the early 70's. I was trying to find out about a young rider who used to ride in the second half at Brandon - and I know that he rode for Scunthorpe and Long Eaton. His name is Chris Doyle - does anyone know what happened to him?"


  • Ken Naylor on Ken McKinlay:

    "Ken is along with T Gollob my all timee favouirite rider. I have many good memories Of Ken riding for Leicester Hunters which I will always treasure. Ken was always a true professional."


  • Lee Sharp:

    "I just love speedway, it's the most exciting kind of motorcycle racing there is. The only thing that bothers me is that they never show it on tv. It seems like it always takes a back seat to motocross. "


  • Harry Ward on A Suggestion of Handicapping:

    "In the right circumstances I am all for handicapping as it helps to make otherwise potentially boring races come alive. BUT it simply can't be used in a World Championship event. There were enough rumblings going on when Mark Loram was crowned World Champion without winning a GP but this idea would take it to the next level. However I do agree that under the current points system riders doing well during the meeting are rewarded enough without the need to assist them further with the gate choices. Yes the old fashioned ballot would add more to the racing I believe."


  • John Hyam on The Top 20 in '69:

    "Here's how I would rate in order the 1969 'Top 20' as selected by Ron Hoare at that time: I first saw speedway in 1946 and was privileged to see 14 of them in action. (1) Jack Milne (2) Bluey Wilkinson (3) Vic Huxley (4) Vic Duggan (5) Cordy Mine (6) Ove Fundin (7) Barry Briggs (8) Jack Parker (9) Eric Langton (10) Ronnie Moore (11) Max Grosskreutz (12) Peter Craven (13) Wilbur Lamoreaux (14) Bill Kitchen (15) Ron Johnson (16) Jack Young (17) Bjorn Knutsson (18) Lionel van Praag (19) Tom Farndon (20) Frank Charles"


  • Derek Watson on The Top 20 in '69:

    "Nigel Boocock
    Barry Briggs
    Peter Collins
    Peter Craven
    Jason Crump
    Vic Duggan
    Tom Farndon
    Ove Fundin
    Erik Gundersen
    Ivan Mauger
    Anders Michanek
    Ronnie Moore
    Hans Nielsen
    Ole Olsen
    Jack Parker
    Nicki Pedersen
    Bruce Penhall
    Tony Rikardsson
    Bluey Wilkinson
    Jack Young"


  • Dudley Jones on The Top 20 in '69:

    " I think the list is pretty well there, given the 1969 cut-off. However I think that three riders deserve consideration:

    Aub Lawson was a great rider over a long period, in my book a superstar. Hear was a man that never seemed to stop smiling, came third in the world chapionship when in his forties and during the period when the 'big 5' dominated it for a decade. Starting pre-war Aub returned after the conflict and was a star rider with West Ham and Norwich until he retired. He also promoted at Claremont, and saved Ipswich from closure in that role too.

    Second for me is Igor Plechanov. I was lucky enough to see him ride quite a few times. The best Russian ever, and he could mix it with Briggs, Moore, Fundin and the other greats of his era when they were in their prime, and this was a man who was virtually a veteran before he came to these shores. World number 2, he has got to be there.

    Finally Olle Nygren. First Swedish superstar, was a quality rider from the late 40s until the dawn of the 70s. many of your readers will not have seen Olle at his best, he was real good, and a team man to boot. Only third in the World Championship you say, but Olle didnt seem that bothered about qualifying, he was simply much better than his Championship record would suggest. At Norwich he made a formidable spearhead with Ove Fundin and Bettsy and, after the sad closure of probably the best supported track of the time he topped the Wimbledon score charts (and the BL averages) and was given so many guest bookings one year that reporters dubbed that year Olle's 'benefit season'.

    And because nothings final, how about Gote Nordin?

    Who to leave out then? Thats difficult so I will leave it to your readers, with the comment that Max Grosskreutz deserves his place. He was a class act pre-war and, even in 'retirement' as promoter of Norwich he would ride in the early races until the team were winning and then give his rides to others and 'hop over the fence'. Indeed, there were those who wanted him banned from the league for being too good. Max in retirement, like Ronnie Moore much later, could take on the current internationals and give them a race.

    One last thought - where was Ivan Maugers name? By 1969 he was already a very big name."


  • Bill Elliot on A Cricket Analogy:

    "Complicated systems in one sport don't justify similar unintelligible regulations in another-if they attract maybe 20,000 cricket fans, used to mathematical equations for working out how their team's doing, to speedway for that reason then maybe I could go with it, but it's simplicity which attracts the casual observer, not complication."


  • John Byrne on Some very old feedback on West Ham's Colours:

    "Claret and blue were not Thames Iron works colours - they were oxford blue because of owner Arnold Hills went to that university - claret and blue only got adopted after the club became west ham - the shirts were won in a bet and were originally Aston Villa shirts - the original 'red and blue' colours of west ham speedway were called claret and blue by the original owners of the club - the crowd even had a song at the time that was sang between races and sometimes accompanied by a brass band - one of the opening lines was 'West Ham through good or bad, old and new, West Ham the Hammers in claret and blue'"


  • Robert J Rogers on Fear & Loathing at Love St.:

    "Fantastic item, and a good laugh. I 100% agree, even with the best racing, it's the matches with the off-track fun and games especailly between our (West Ham) Dave Lanning and Hackney's Len Silver, that are best remembered."


  • Bill Hollifield on Fear & Loathing at Love St.:

    "Brilliant, just like I remember speedway used to be. Well written and so interesting. All the excitement appears to have disappeared nowadays except for Nikki Pedersen. Lets have it back again."


  • David Cohen on A Tribute to Bob Kilby:

    "Very sorry to read about Bob Kilby. I always thought he was a good rider, but he never quite made the top, a bit like, Martin Ashby, I suppose, but still a rider who was very cocnsistent and definitely had his momenet in the spotlight."


  • Jeff on Rim, A Lithuanian Legend:

    "What a fantastic story! Love hearing of all the old time escapades and characters. Certainly makes the modern, sanitized speedway life look decidedly boring!"


  • Phil Rogers on Jack Young's Restored 1951 World Final Bike:

    "Nice Pictures of a nice Restoration job ........... Well done Sir! "


  • Ross Dow on Jack Young's Restored 1951 World Final Bike:

    "Nice job. It would have been nice to see the drive side as well. though. 5 - 0 to the timing side! Is it a 4 stud or a 5 stud?"

    It's a four stud. Click here for a picture of the drive side.


  • Chris on Crisis, What Crisis?:

    "How true, How true, I agree with all you say Ken. Trouble is will the B.S.P.A. listen? And if 2009 Speedway Season goes belly up or worse, they'll blame it on the CREDIT CRUNCH."


  • Alan Elliott on SGP Needs a Revamp:

    "I agree with a lot of comments about the SGP. It was not necessary to change from upright 2 valve engines. It caused many to to give up the sport as it became exclusive to those who could afford to pay for the points they had by what they could throw at tuners and equipment. Before that anyone could purchase a machine which was equal to the world champions mount and they won on merit.The cost has caused speedway to charge more entrance fees, with no advantage to the supporter whatever. Supporters pay to see racing and on standard equipment to sort out the best rider not the one with the biggest purse.

    The trouble with our sport is that some people on the control board can't help meddling with something which over many years has been proven to be a successful formula. That goes for the world championship as well. That is now an exclusive club. We the fans should tell the SCB what we want from our sport not what they want to introduce for what they see as advancement. "


  • Richard Tyrrell on Newport / SGP:

    "At last a reasoned and unbiased view on the present SGP system written by someone who is, obviously, after my own heart. Unlike Mr Jones I have been to most of the Cardiff GPs in the past, mainly because I like speedway racing and live in the eternal hope of the next exciting meeting which, thankfully, occasionally happens. The Cardiff weekend always gives the chance of additional racing at Somerset and Newport and even Swindon sometimes on the way home. (we live in Oxford) But I always leave the Millennium Stadium wondering just what the fuss is all about. The racing can be exciting but what does the winner actually win? Not a lot I'd wager. Something akin to the old Kings of Oxford Trophy in the old days at Cowley maybe, an 'open' meeting with often a good field in a big stadium.

    I've often wondered what people get excited about at Cardiff, and as for being a World Championship it's hard to quantify when the riders are there by invitation only. If I'm honest with myself it's more akin to a travelling circus with accompanying acts included! I'd almost made up my mind not to go in 2009. For me, my speedway world is in decline due, in part, to reasons mentioned by Mr Jones (you always knew when Greg Hancock was due to ride in a GP at the weekend) and my nearest outlet, Reading, has subsequently closed as well. I went there and back last year after the demise of Newport and the escalating cost of accomodation.

    I'm glad to see Newport back and hope that there will be enough programmes to go round for the Glasgow match and the Welsh open, should those meetings take place, and with the GP start time now 5pm I again have three choices. Which will I take? I do hope speedway survives. It has given me many years of fantastic entertainment, taken me around the country and introduced me to many friends and I currently miss all those things with ever decreasing hope of seeing racing at Cowley in the future. And as for the Cardiff GP, I guess its a case of "whatever turns you on!" "


  • Dudley Jones on Newport / SGP:

    "My comments on SGP seem to have created some response. Several respondants have compared speedway with Formula 1. I am also a follower of F1, and I do not think the comparison applies. In F1 there is a class of racing where only 20 entrants compete, and every one has a chance to be world champion. OK, there is F2, Formula Renault, BTCC, etc, etc, but these are separate sporting events. The fact remains that SGP is an exclusive club divorced from the vast majority of speedway racers. Why can't we have both, SGP with a 'series champion' running alongside a knockout event where all speedway riders have a stake and the best man on the night is world champion.

    I concede that SGP is not the sole, perhaps not the the prime, reason for the disjointed approach to racenights, but the fact remains that regular racenights do assist most supporters. We are in a recession, perhaps a slump, but speedway seemed to be heading in the wrong direction even before this. Times have changed, and many foreign riders have equal rights to compete in UK teams. My concern is first the cost of these people, and second the need to bring on British talent. I see the new National League as the way forward, perhaps here are the seeds of the next re-birth that speedway goes through now and then. The old Provincial League of 1960 was probably the best thing that happened since the boom 50's. A lower cost NL, bringing forward the next generation of star UK riders? - lets hope so. The key has always to be entertainment, good racing, and a feeling of identification with our team, whichever team that may be." 

    This article was first published on 5th February 2009

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