HALIFAX - The Shay
Home of Halifax Dukes from 1949 to 1985
Picture Courtesy of David
Picture Courtesy of Reg Fearman
Picture Courtesy of Graham Morris
Pictures Courtesy of Adam Lees
This article was first published on 29th March 2007
"I only went to Halifax once, when the wife and I were staying in York, yes I know that's miles away from Halifax, but it's closer than Sidcup in Kent where I live. I remember being awestruck by the high banking, almost like a velodrome it appeared, and the sheer size of the track. It was a nothing meeting some sort of challenge match, but Michael Lee was there that night, and although I was never a Lee fan, I didn't like Carter much either. But once the racing started - wow - the sheer speed and spectacle, particularly between Lee and Carter was tremendous. Lee took the honours on the night and beat Carter in the three races in which they met. Shame they appear to have put a stand on top of where the banked bends were."
"The Shay was awesome, I only saw two matches there, but they were good ones. Halifax v Belle Vue and GB v Denmark. A track sorely missed."
"I went to the Shay quite a few times, mostly for the Dukes v Aces matches. I saw some great racing there, and the banking certainly added to the thrill. I was in the crowd when Eric Boocock parked his bike across the start line because he disagreed with the ref's decision ! Great days."
"I was a Belle Vue fan in the 70s and always looked forward to going to Halifax when Belle Vue were there, the racing was always fantastic."
"Interesting to see Lynne Bardsley (Belle Vue fan) say how good the track was at the Shay, it brought back memories of a league match against Belle Vue when I had a terrific argument with a couple of Aces as to which track came up with the best racing. Obviously, being a Dukes fan I preferred the Shay and they were anxious to point out that I was talking rubbish. As we were getting a hammering at the time I was in no mood to change my opinion, but they were getting smugger as each race passed. We agreed to differ and in proper speedway fashion called it a truce without violence erupting. I also remember the meeting Mick Cast talked about (I think it must have been the same anyway) Michael Lee brought his "gold top" Weslake to try out at the Shay, before the 1983 world final and it was like a rocket ship .K.C. had no answer for once."
"Good to see that the Shay holds happy memories for so many speedway fans the length and breadth of the country. It certainly was a fantastic race track, like it's successor Odsal and it really is a shame that speedway is no longer run at either venue. I can only hope that if a suitable site is identified for a rebirth of the Dukes, the track produces racing as good as that seen at their previous homes."
"The Shay was a good track, and not far for away matchs to watch Belle Vue. Always top class racing and good banter with the Dukes fans. Meat pie and mushy pees on the way home in the Punch Bowl pub on the way back to the M62. Even got Peter Collins and a young Andy Smith to stop one night. Biggest night must have been the meeting after the '85 World Final."
"The shay was the best track the league has ever had, with its high banked corners and long straights it produced some fantastic nights and some incredable racing. Spent many happy Saturday night at the Shay with my Dad. Such a shame it closed, would have made a great Elite League track."
"I live twixt both the Shay and Belle Vue so it was alternate Saturdays between as both rode on that day at home. Seen many great riders at both venues. I also liked the banked track, one similar was at Exeter. Riders I liked in the 60s -70s included Eric Boocock, Dave Younghusband, Charlie Monk, Kenny Carter, Chris Pusey, Ivan Mauger, Peter Collins, Soren Sjosten and many more but my favourite will always be Peter Craven. Along with many others lucky enough to have seen him in action. Personally I do not think the sport is now as good as it was in 60s and 70s."
"The track between 1965 and 1970 was much wider than the bigger track 1971-85 and provided better racing. After the alterations were made in 1971 to meet with the demands of the FA the track was a little faster but much narrower on the bends which resulted in more processional racing. Always spectacular to watch though."
"My dad, Fred RIGG rode for the DUKES, the Shay, Halifax, West Yorkshire. He was born 1925 and died 2014. I used to watch the DUKES at Halifax when I was 14 but shortly after they went to Bradford ( I think). I have no records of him having rode speedway in the 1950s. There was an Eddie RIGG ( ?) but don't know of him. I would love to find something with his name or details on it. Can you help? "
"My parents were huge Speedway fans at the Shay and used to take me as I was growing up, I love looking back over these things and remembering the smell of the fumes as we drove down into Halifax. We have a good collection of old programmes from back then and wondered if there is a market for them today?"
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