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Updated on 26th March 2005

Tomorrow, Sunday 27th March, sees the long awaited return of speedway to Scunthorpe. It's been twenty years since the last meeting in the town and now, after much hard work, the return of the sport is a reality.

To celebrate we've pulled together some Scunny related features.



Our starting point is our Non-Essential Guide to Scunthorpe Speedway. This potted history, now revised and updated, should give you an insight into the history of the sport in the town.




The Scorpions will be racing at a new circuit at Normanby Road. Richard Hollingsworth has more than played his part in its construction and he's supplied us with photographs of the track.



The first speedway track in Scunthorpe was at the Quibell Park. It was home of the sport from 1971 until 1978. We have pictures of the stadium, taken a couple of years ago, on the site.



In days of old the Scunthorpe side was nicknamed the Stags and one of their top men was Julian Parr. We caught up with him a few months ago to look back on his career. Join us for "An Interview with Julian Parr".




"You don't know me but you own my contract!"
Andy Smith introduces himself to Avtar Sandhu

All this week's quotes are in Soundbites



  • News and updates site www.all4back.com has re-appeared on the 'net after a long absence. It was always a good source of news in the past - no reason to believe it will be any different this time around.

  • www.boro-bears.com is the new official website of the Boro Bears, proving that the Middlesbrough outfit are very much alive in 2005. Boro management began looking for a new website team after apparently hitting problems with their existing webmaster, and turned to GPNetMedia.com.

    Bears team co-ordinator Jason Pipe said, "A number of people had already recommended GPNetMedia.com to us. We took one look at the new Edinburgh site they'd just released a few weeks ago, and knew straight away we wanted them on board."

    The deal will see the GPNetMedia.com logo - which is already being promoted on the kevlars of many top international riders - featured on the Bears racejackets and bikes for 2005.

  • A couple of lads at Sittingbourne have now got personal websites. The boys in question are James Theobald and Mark Baseby.


  • The fantastic "World Speedway Champions of the 1980's" DVD (above) could be yours if you win our "Submit an Article" competition. Send us an original article on any speedway subject (clubs, riders, competitions, personal memories) and your name will go into the hat for our prize draw.

    All articles submitted will be considered for publication on the site and one lucky winner will receive a brand new copy of this nostalgia DVD.

    Articles should be sent via email (as plain text ideally) to speedwayplus@hotmail.com.

    Closing date for entries is Friday 15th April 2005. The winner will be announced here on 16th April 2005.

    N.B. The DVD is only suitable for use with DVD-R compatible players.


  • John Hyam has probably come up with the most ambitious request for help so far. He's looking for information on French speedway on either side of WWII.



  • Geoff Clarke on Elite League Preview:

    "It's a shame nothing like this appears in any of the national papers (well any that I have read anyway). Having seen the coverage given to F1 in most papers I'm sure a Sky Elite preview could have looked just as colourful and impressive, even if only given half a page. I assume the BSPA do issue such articles to the national press? "

  • Brian Pearce on Ray Allen's Dream Team:

    "So interesting reading your comments particularly those about KC & Gary Peterson.

    I was a great follower of Harringay & your comments concerning those who should have been world champion & never quite made it reminded me of Jack Biggs who only had to finish 3rd in his final ride to collect the title & came 4th. Another great rider of that era not to become WC was Brian Crutcher.

    Does anybody do a "where are they now" on the top riders of the 50's,60's, 70's particularly some of the overseas riders like Sverre Harfeldt, Bengt Jannson etc "

  • Shirley Smith on Elite League Preview:

    "Good review, like the bit about needing Lee Richardson on the TRACK not the TREATMENT TABLE (I am a Swindon supporter) thought that was very good."

  • Gerry Taylor on Berrington Lough:

    "Looking at the site of the old Berrington Lough track makes me very nostalgic. I often think back to the days when I, as a young lad, would walk from Great Barr on the outskirts of Birmingham, to Perry Barr, and the Alexander Stadium to watch "THE BRUMMIES".

    The old place is still there, just as a Dog Track, but, if you stand down by the perimeter fence and close your eyes, you can still hear the roar of the JAP engines, and smell the dope. The ghosts of yesterdays heroes, Alan Wacker Hunt, Graham Warren, Ivor Davies, Doug Davies, and so many more, still haunt the famous old track.

    Then I look at the photographs of the old Berwick track and almost weep. I often wonder if we shall ever see Speedway back here in Birmingham? I do hope so. Meanwhile, thank you for a superb site, and many, many memories. Keep up the good work."

  •  


     

    Updated on 19th March 2005


    The fantastic "World Speedway Champions of the 1980's" DVD (above) could be yours if you win our "Submit an Article" competition. Send us an original article on any speedway subject (clubs, riders, competitions, personal memories) and your name will go into the hat for our prize draw.

    All articles submitted will be considered for publication on the site and one lucky winner will receive a brand new copy of this nostalgia DVD.

    Articles should be sent via email (as plain text ideally) to speedwayplus@hotmail.com.

    Closing date for entries is Friday 15th April 2005. The winner will be announced here on 16th April 2005.

    N.B. The DVD is only suitable for use with DVD-R compatible players.



    We cast an eye over the Premier League this week in our 'Premier League Preview'. The league looks stronger than ever and even the team we tip to finish bottom looks reasonable enough. Let's just say that they race in blue & white and are under new promotion this season!




    Fleetwood in Lancashire staged the sport between 1948 and 1952. Ray Bysouth sent in a couple of pictures of the venue for us to see. They're not of a fantastic quality but make for interesting viewing - especially the fashions. When did you last see someone wearing a trilby at the speedway?



  • Does anyone remember a rider called Alf Viccary - he rode in the fifties and sadly passed away recently. If so then please take a look at our 'Can You Help?' page.

  • Similarly we've been asked about former Peterborough rider Anders Nielsen. Anders suffered a bad injury in 1996 but little has been heard of him since.



  • "I feel the young team Coventry have put together this year is one that can land some silverware, and I see my move away from Ipswich as a new lease of life. I may be the old man of the team at 26, but I haven't reached my peak yet and I am hoping the change of scenery will help me achieve my goals, both as an individual and as a member of the Coventry team."
    Scott Nicholls

    All this week's quotes are in Soundbites




    A few months ago we caught up with meeting presenter Mike Bennett and he was happy to share a few tales from his days on the centre green. Mike subsequently returned to King's Lynn to present a few meetings before the season ended. Did you catch our 'Interview with Mike Bennett'?



  • Philip Dalling on History of Long Eaton:

    "Just a little fine tuning to the Long Eaton history.

    The sport actually returned to Station Road in 1950, not 1951. The Archers raced almost a full season of challenge matches against second and third division teams, mostly with loaned riders. Ernest 'Pedlar' Palmer was the first captain. He later became the Sheffield team manager, under the Frank Varey promotion at Owlerton, and is still a regular attender at Tigers' meetings today.

    There were also three meetings at Station Road at the end of the 1954 season. These were `pirate' meetings, run without a Control Board licence by the greyhound promoter at the Stadium, Tom Beattie, and former Norwich rider Paddy Mills, who lived in Leicester. Some riders used their own names, others false names. Former Archers riders Wilf Plant (father of Graham) and Johnnie Jones took part in the meetings under their own names. Jones, who had been riding for Brafield in the Southern Area League in 1954, had his licence withdrawn by the Control Board and missed the chance to compete in the SAL Riders' Championship Final."

  • Bob Hull on Elite League Preview:

    "Love the predictions, just keep on knocking us Essex Boys down at the famous Arena Essex, we are more than happy being the underdogs, and it will give all the riders a big boost just to prove you and everyone else wrong. How does the Millwall FC song go?? ....."No one rates us, we don't care !"

    There aren't many teams who relish the thought of a visit to Arena and quite a few who may just under estimate us away from home. WE SHALL SEE IN OCTOBER !!"

  • Tony Richardson on Berrington Lough:

    "Brill little track. Is it still like that, if so could it not be used as a training track as I think Felton is not running now."

  • Those pictures date from 1999. Most of stadium has now been demolished and the track is overgrown. A shame as it would have made an ideal training venue.

  • Jon Quinton on Prospects for 2005:

    "Firstly the article by Chris Seaward is very informative and eye opening, which I enjoyed reading. Hope to hear more from him in the future! Secondly the whole site is a great read and a fantatic site for any speedway fan. thanks"

  • Jon on Once a Jolly Swagman:

    "I am amazed a Dirk Bogarde film is not available! It must be around somewhere. I think this would be of interest to anyone who likes sports history. Which stadium was it filmed at? Who were the real riders who took part?"

  • Alan Hodkinson has some copies of the film available on DVD or video. Full details on the Swagman page. It was filmed at New Cross and Ron Howes was Bogarde's stunt double.

  • David Anderson on Lokeren:

    "Those old enough to remember never forgot that horid day, even now some 35 years on it brings back sad memories.

    Although I have not been a keen speedway fan now for 20 years, back in the 60's & 70's I was at speedway meetings 5 times a week. West Ham Tuesday, Crayford Wednesday, Wimbledon Thursday, Hackney Friday, Rayleigh Saturday.

    I was at Hackney the Friday before the accident, where they were playing West Ham in some kind of cup match. Standing at the pits gate that evening watching the boys in such fine form, they had no idea of the fate that awaited them three days later.

    I too remember seeing the London Evening news headines that Tuesday afternoon, in fact I still have a copy of the newspaper.

    Going through some old audio tapes of mine the other day, I found a tape that I had recorded of the West Ham v Swindon match. Although it's only my voice giving a rather poor commentry, you can hear Ted Sear make the announcements and of course hear the roar of the bikes being ridden by the riders including Peter and Martyn.

    Roy Sullivan later worked with my wife in Hoddesdon for a few years during the 70's and I met him on a few occassions but never mentioned the accident. I can tell you he certainly had made a complete recovery."


  • Glenn Cunningham's new website is now live. The address is www.gc-racing.co.uk. It's another impressive design from Black Diamonds Web Design.

  • The Cowra circuit in New South Wales has a website. The webmaster is none other than John Langfield. Click here to pay a visit.

  • Chris Hunt has now got an online presence. The former Wimbledon and Carmarthen man has linked up with Sittingbourne for 2005. The address of his site is www.chrishuntfc.co.uk.
  •  


     

    Updated on 13th March 2005


    The Poole Pirates were crowned Elite League champions in 2003 and 2004. Will they make it a treble in 2005 and who will be the key man for each side? Find out what we think in our team-by-team preview of the 2005 Elite League season. Arena Essex fans may not like our projected final league positions!




    An update on "Once a Jolly Swagman" from Alan Hodkinson of Viking Video:

    "You may be interested to know I have produced a Video and DVD of 'Once a Jolly Swagman', it was done mainly for members of the VSRA as a tribute to Ron Howes who did the riding for Dirk Bogarde.

    It starts with an interview with Ron Howes and then an interview with Bill Owen and then goes into the film.

    It was never produced for general sale but if anyone needs a DVD or Video they can be had for £11.50 inc. P+P.

    Details from Vikingukvideo@aol.com"


    Tom Wareham is writing a book on Brian Crutcher and you may be able to assist him. Check out our "Can You Help?" page for further details.

    That's also to place to look if you know a Poole fan called Steven Saunders. An old friend of his is trying to track him down.




    Berrington Lough was the home of the Berwick Bandits from 1982 until 1995. The remote venue, constructed over a number of years by volunteer labour, was an amazing little place and even staged top-level speedway in 1991. The pictures we have were taken in 1999 and show the stadium looking rather the worse for wear. We believe that little of stadium now remains.



  • Tom Marriott on Powderhall:

    "Looks like a tidy little stadium...but please leave the photos of this stadium in disrepair on the site as well so we can always be reminded as to what can happen.

    Also many thanks to all who sent me information on Canadian riders...(Still looking for more, is this lad never satisfied!) especially Brian Collins, Ray Bysouth, Norman Jacobs and John Skinner. Speedway fans and historians are fantastic people.

    Also a special thank you to my favorite web page!...."

  • Some pictures of Powderhall in a distressed state are now back on the page.

  • Chris Young on Crayford 65 - Workington 12:

    "Little bit of trivia regarding this Crayford - Workington match is that Alan Armstrong who failed to score is my Uncle. He has no recollection of this particular meeting."

  • Glyn Blackburn on Once a Jolly Swagman:

    "I videoed this film many years ago when it was shown on Channel 4. It is a great nostalgic look back at the early days of speedway."

  • Tom Sample on Powderhall:

    "Why didn't Edinburgh just stay there instead of going to Armadale. Armadale is closer to Glasgow than Edinburgh. That is a much better stadium then Armadale!"

  • The stadium was sold for housing and the Monarchs had no say in the matter!

  • Chris Neath has launched his brand new official website for 2005, designed by GPNetMedia.com. The impressive new website can be found at www.chrisneathracing.com

  • German rider Henning Loof has been linked with a possible future move to Workington and is currently in the UK practising at several tracks. You can find his website at www.henningloof.de

  • The new Belle Vue promotion have set up a new website for 2005. The address is www.bellevuespeedway.co.uk

  • Pictures from the Weymouth practice can be viewed on Julie Martin's photography website. Decent pictures actually - well worth a look.

  • Edinburgh Speedway go into the new season with a brand new look, thanks to a major relaunch of their club's official website at www.edinburghspeedway.com. The site, designed and managed by GPNetMedia.com, notched up well over 100,000 visitors in its first season, and the club are hoping to build on that success again in 2005.
  •  


     

    Updated on 5th March 2005


    One of the very first pages on this site featured some rather depressing pictures of the derelict Powderhall Stadium in Edinburgh. Happily we can now replace these with some pictures of the track in its former glory. This much-lamented city centre venue last staged the sport in 1995 and a new housing estate now stands in its place. These pictures, taken in 1994, come to us from Graham Burrows.




    We often receive enquiries about the speedway film 'Once a Jolly Swagman'. The Dirk Bogarde feature is unfortunately not presently available to purchase on either DVD or VHS. If you've never seen the film then you may have to content yourself by viewing the pictures from the film in our archive.



  • Mike on Prospects for 2005:

    "I just felt like leaving a comment to show my appreciation for this article, This dude talks a lot of sense! I enjoyed reading this very much, keep up the good work Chris, and I look forward to hopefully being able to read more of your stuff!"

  • Andrew on Prospects for 2005:

    "A very well written and interesting article which I enjoyed reading. Does Chris have plans to write any more articles?"

    Chris will be contributing further articles as the season progresses.

  • Bob Hull on Our new layout:

    "The re-vamp of the website is brilliant. Excellent layout and graphics. Keep up the good work."


  • The Rye House Rockets and Raiders have a very impressive new website. The new site was put together in four days - but it doesn't show.

  • King's Lynn Stars fans have launched a new unofficial website. It can be found at www.kings-lynn-speedway.co.uk

  • Young Stefan De Groot, currently making progress through training schools and second halves, has a website to be proud of. A rider with such a professional outlook deserves to succeed.

  • Speedway design guru Graeme Paterson has given his company's website a fantastic makeover. Graeme produces and manages sites for riders including Rory Schlein, Cameron Woodward and Ricky Ashworth. Check out www.gpnetmedia.com, especially if you're in the market for a new website.



  • MIDDLESBROUGH REUNION
    THE INN OFF THE PARK
    1st Floor
    339 Linthorpe Road
    Middlesbrough
    18th March 2005 at 7.30pm

    A SMALL-SCALE reunion of former Middlesbrough riders is taking place on Friday, 18th March, between 7.30pm-11pm at "THE INN OFF THE PARK" in Middlesbrough. The venue is situated on the corner of Linthorpe/Kensington Road near the old Ayresome Park about 15 mins walk from the town centre.

    A licensed bar and a small buffet will be laid on. Jason and Steve will be outlining plans for the 2005 season whilst Newcastle centre green presenter Andrew Dalby will be conducting the interviews.

    The club's record appearance holder Steve Wilcock has now confirmed his appearance along with Brian & Gary Havelock, Paul Pickering, Martin Dixon, Wayne Carter, Mark Crang, Eric Boocock, Stuart Swales and Mike Spink. Further names will be added.

    Also in attendance will be Paul Cooper, Mike & Phil Pickering, Ashley Johnson & Scott Nettleship plus hopefully a few more current Bears riders.

    As the venue only holds between 150 people please book in advance if you can. Tickets can be reserved on the door. Admission is free.

    Please contact Jason Pipe on 01642 294455 if you would like more details.

     


     

    Updated on 26th February 2005
    It's a new season so we've adopted a new look here at Speedway Plus. We'd be glad to hear of any problems you encounter that detract from your enjoyment of the site.


    The new season is just around the corner - but what does it hold in store? Chris Seaward looks forward to the eight months ahead, and assesses the current state of the sport in 'The Prospects for 2005'.




    Another addition to our extensive collection of track pictures this week. Rye House stadium has hosted the sport, on and off, since 1935. It was for many years a training track that produced many riders of note. It also boasts the best chip shop in the sport, a picture of which is included in this selection. Richard Hollingsworth was the man behind the lens.



    Newcastle & Sunderland Reunion
    13th March 2005 at Brough Park

    Gordon Byers will be attending the reunion. Gordon won the very first race at Brough Park - way back in 1929.

    Further details at www.thediamondgeezers.co.uk.


  • Brian Buck on Guide to Scunthorpe:

    "As a long-time supporter of Birmingham Speedway (since 1953) and a speedway enthusiast in general, I would like to wish the new promotion at Scunthorpe every possible success, and look forward to the day when I can also see my team back on the tracks again.

    I hope that for your opening meeting your turnstile operators are swamped with queues stretching back a couple of miles, that you sell out of programmes and that your bar runs dry!

    I hope to get there for the opener, but if I can't I shall be the poorer for missing it. Good luck to your team for the new season."

  • Edmund Dias on Growing up with the Hammers:

    "I wonder if any suitable manufacturer has thought of producing West Ham Speedway commemorative retro-style t-shirts. In an age of predictable nostalgia, this would be a a testament to an often neglected part of British sporting and social history."



  • In this section of the site we draw your attention to an article from our archives. This week it's the 'Non-Essential Guide to Cowdenbeath Speedway'. The Fife circuit staged speedway in the mid-sixties.



  • Andy Smith has launched a website to showcase the race products he supplies these days. The address is www.andysmithspeedway.co.uk.

  • Russell Paine's ambitious efforts to re-introduce the sport to Spain, as detailed in an excellent article in this week's Speedway Star, will be supported by a website. There's not much on it as yet, but the address is www.motospeedway-espana.com.

  • Youth rider Scott Whittington has launched a website. Scott is from Sheffield and has experience of the new Scunthorpe circuit.
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