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Snapshots of Yesteryear
By Peter Colvin

This photograph was taken at Old Meadowbank Stadium on 5th August 1967. It shows action from Heat 6 of the British League encounter between the Monarchs and Poole Pirates. This race finished in the order shown with Geoff Mudge winning from George Hunter, Bruce Cribb and Bert Harkins. It is to my eternal regret that this was the only visit that I ever made to Old Meadowbank. The stadium was demolished at the end of the season to make way for the 1970 Commonwealth Games in the Scottish capital. The last meeting was the Scottish Best Pairs Championship held on 14th October which was won by Oyvind S Berg and Wayne Briggs. In the second-half of the meeting, Brian Collins became the Scottish Junior Riders' Champion in what I presume to have been the last race at the venue.

The tapes are up, the clutches are out and the riders are heading for the first bend and in doing so, are creating speedway history. This unique photograph shows the start of the first race at Scotland's most northerly speedway track, Central Park Stadium, Cowdenbeath. The riders in Heat 1 are, left to right, Alec Hughson, Dave Gifford, Willie Templeton and Bluey Scott. This challenge match took place on Wednesday 5th May 1965, the Fife Lions winning 44-33 against the Colonial Tigers. For the Lions, Willie Templeton scored 10+1, Bert Harkins 9, Bill Landels 8, Bill McMillan 6+2, Jimmy Tannock 6+2, Red Monteith 4 and Alec Hughson 1. For the Tigers, Bluey Scott scored a maximum 12, Ross Nickisson 6+2, Joe Hicks 4, Kevin Torpie 4, Kevin Russell 3+1, Eric Hanlon 3 and Dave Gifford 1. I am indebted to Fiona Crawford for sharing this snapshot with us.

This is the Glasgow side that rode during the first half of April 1968. The riders are, left to right, Bo Josefsson, Oyvind S Berg, Bill McMillan, Willie Templeton, Brian Whaley, Lars Jansson and Jim McMillan - along with promoter, Les Whaley. Russ Dent was soon brought into the team in place of Brian Whaley in order to strengthen the second-string department. Charlie Monk, with an average of 10•72, had moved to Sheffield and Jim Airey, who had been allocated to the Tigers, refused to come North. The only rider that could be considered to be a recognised heat-leader was Bo Josefsson on an average of 7•24. Not surprisingly, during the next two months, Glasgow lost four out of five home matches and the wooden spoon beckoned. This was to be the last season at White City. The Tigers were about to begin their nomadic existence when they moved to Hampden Stadium in 1969.

This unique image shows the historic moment when the sound of speedway bikes first reverberated around the massive arena that was Hampden Stadium. This snapshot was taken by Ian McLean at the start of the first practise session in April 1969. It shows Charlie Monk leading into the first bend with Oyvind S Berg sandwiched between Russ Dent on the outside and Jim McMillan on the inside. "It's the Hampden roar - Tigers style" was one headline in the papers. Promoter Les Whaley said, "It's a wrench leaving the White City. But the Tigers' move to Hampden is the biggest thing that could happen to Scottish speedway. . . now Scotland can boast of having probably the biggest speedway stadium in the world. That means we can - and will - stage the World Championships ourselves." Hampden Stadium hosted the biggest ever meeting in Scotland when the Nordic-British Final of the World Championships was held there in 1971.


This article was first published on 12th February 2012

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