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Snapshots of Yesteryear
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Snapshots of Yesteryear
By Peter Colvin

 

This action shot, taken at Oxford on 3rd June 1965, has always been a particular favourite of mine and is possibly one of the first speedway photographs that I ever bought. It shows Nils Paulsen leading Bluey Scott. My first speedway meeting had been at White City the previous evening, when my brother took me to see Scotland beating England 62-46. Another photograph of this race was used the following month for the front cover of the Glasgow v Wolverhampton programme. The caption read, "Nils and Bluey in 5-1 mood." The heat details show that in the three races that Nils and Bluey rode together at Oxford, they lost two 4-2's and a 5-1. However, Nils Paulsen did get a maximum heat win with Bruce Ovenden in heat 8. Indeed that was the only heat winner for the Tigers who were mauled by the Cheetahs 48-30.

 

The first time that I saw speedway in Edinburgh was at the Old Meadowbank Stadium in August 1967 for the British League match between the Monarchs and Poole Pirates. This action shot, taken at the second bend, is from Heat 4 and shows Oyvind S Berg trying to take advantage of a gap between Geoff Mudge in white and the veteran Tony Lewis in yellow & black. Bill Landels is the other Monarch in this race. A couple of seconds later all four riders were in a heap when Berg, according to the match report in the Speedway Star, "came off in a shower of sparks and smoke."

In the re-run the Pirates grabbed a 5-0 with Geoff Penniket, in place of Mudge, winning from Lewis. Oyvind had been stretchered off with concussion and was not allowed to ride again. Bill Landels fell and did not complete four laps. The Monarchs won the match 45-32 with a 12-point maximum from Bernt Persson. Gote Nordin was the top scoring Pirate with 10 points from his four rides.

 

It is the beginning of July 1969, the first season at Hampden Stadium and the Tigers are up against Wolverhampton Wolves in the British League. This is the start of Heat 11 with Geoff Ambrose, on gate one, against Jim McMillan, Tommy Sweetman and Bobby Beaton. McMillan won this Heat from Sweetman and Ambrose. The Tigers secured a comfortable 48-30 win against the Wolves, a team that had yet to win at Glasgow since the inception of the British League in 1965. Bobby Beaton, when he was aged just 16, had ridden three matches for the Tigers in 1968 and although he was struggling for points the promotion persevered with the youngster throughout the 1969 season and he missed just one match, finishing with an average of 2�78. Bobby's best season as a Glasgow rider was during the Tiger's last year at Hampden in 1972 when his average reached 8.57.

 

This third bend action shot at Hampden Stadium is from Heat 7 of the match against Wolverhampton Wolves in July 1969. Russ Dent is being put under pressure from Peter Vandenberg, while at the back, James Bond is about to be passed by Jim McMillan.

Russ Dent won the race, which resulted in the first 5-1 of the match. The Hampden circuit was his favourite track and he scored a paid maximum in the first meeting to be held at the national stadium. The only reason I was able to get this particular viewpoint was because the public address system for the north enclosure had failed and spectators were allowed to walk round the third and fourth bend terracing and sit in the main stand. Hence the rather sparse looking crowd.

 

This article was first published on 2nd December 2010


 

  • Jim Henry:

    "Re the photo at Old Meadowbank - Edinburgh v Poole. My memory of this one wasn't of sparks etc, rather it was of Ovyind flying up some height in the air before hitting the deck, some way down the back straight, very hard indeed. He didn't ride again that night."

  • Bob Ferry:

    "Good to see my good friend Russ Dent in action around Glasgow in 1969. Photographs of Russ in action for the Tigers are very hard to find. I'm putting together a book about Russ, any action pics of him at Glasgow would be very much appreciated, if anyone has any. (bobferry38@aol.com)"

  • David Smith:

    "Great seeing old photo's from the past likes of White City, Hampden park and Meadowbank. I've been to all Glasgow's tracks apart from White City, only time I went to Meadowbank was to run on the running track in the 70's"

  • Ross Dow:

    "More cracking photos. The photo of Meadowbank revived many memories of great race meetings. Although I worked at Hampden and have some good memories, I do not feel the same affinity as with White City, Coatbridge and Meadowbank. Peter, please keep posting as the memories come flooding back."

  • Anita Welsh:

    "Just found a photo of my Uncle Tom Sweetman, (my father's brother) who I remember as a little girl in UK when he was a speedway rider. He moved to New Zealand with his family, and I have never had the opportunity to see him again, as I moved to Canada with my family. We get the opportunity to talk by Skype now, as he is in his 80s. Nice to see a photo of him. I am now 70, so many years have gone by, but I still remember watching him ride, although I would have only been about 13 years old at the time. I noticed that he is not on your list of Riders to Remember, so hope you will put him on it."

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