"Just been looking at the pictures, feel like I'm 10 years old
again stood on the pit bend watching Ivan, Chris, Soren, Ken battle it out against Ole, Nigel, Eric and Briggo. Would be nice to turn the clock back,
see it all again and let some of the new riders watch and learn from some of the greats."
"i remember going there with my brother, mum & dad when I
was a child, just magic as a kid. I will never forget the smell, sound and shear excitement as the bikes run around that track. Would love to take my
little boy to see that, but those nights are sadly lost. Maybe one day someone will bring something like that back again, who knows ?"
"I've just come across the book review
for 'Warzone Speedway' and I think one of the riders on the front cover could be my Dad, Victor Normansell. He rode speedway at Tel El Kebir in Egypt
in 1947. I have some very similar pictures of him and I will compare them with the pictures in the book as soon as I can."
"What a great article, how it brought
back the memories from all those years ago, watching the Aces at hyde road, Saturday nights have never been bettered! After the meeting the gang would go
into the pits and meet the stars close up, and always Pete had the biggest crowd round him, he was probably totally knackered and wanting to get home
but he never showed it, he would chat to all the kids sign all the autographs until the last fan had gone a true gentleman a real superstar! As written
in the article I too remember that terrible day, my dad could hardly bear to tell me of Pete's death, I walked down the main road and my best mate
Trev was walking up, we did not speak we just hugged each other and cried, two 15 year old kids, our hero gone forever but never forgotten.
Peter Craven, quite simply the best!"
"Although I came to speedway in 1962
the earlier eras have always interested me. Mention of Tom Farndon and the 75th anniversary of his passing shows how special many must have felt about him.
That 75 people should meet to remember is truly remarkable. Was he the greatest of them all, as Norman Jacobs suggests? Perhaps not, but he certainly
left an indelible mark on the sport.
I read recently that Johnie Hoskins claimed have declined to sign Tom when he had the chance. This seems logical, if as stated he felt that Tom was too
much at risk. John was prpbably right. To lose it all in a second half scratch race perhaps shows John was right.
When somebody dies young then they remain in our memories as being taken before their time.
I would love to have seen Tom ride ( I would love to have seen speedway at New Cross), but he probably paid the ultimate price of his devil may care
youthfulness. Others have shone bright but briefly, like stars in the heavens, only to die before their time. I recall Ivor Hughes, rising rapidly
in the sport to be lost in a few short months, and there were others....
Tom was young, handsome and died too soon. It is a tribute to our sport as well as to Tom, that so many should meet to remember this great rider
who might otherwise have risen to be a world champion.
Something quite different this week as we bring you a speedway related song to listen to.
It's entitled "Five Aces" and is performed by its writers McClelland and Fitzgerald. It was inspired
by many happy Saturday nights at the old Belle Vue and is an excellent piece of work that comes from
an upcoming six track E.P. from the duo.
The popular Team Viking International Touring Team are back in the UK over the next few weeks. Here are details
of where you can see them and who will be wearing their colours this time around. As usual the team will give
opportunities to riders from both home and abroad.
We'd like to add our best wishes to Peter Collins as he battles back from his recent illness.
Gary 'The Hitman' Hesmer has a new website. Gary is one of Canada's best and you can find out more about
him at garyhesmerracing.com
Derek is looking for the programme from the recent Peterborough v Coventry rain-off - Can You Help?
Alison Wood's grandfather was photographer at Odsal in the 40s/50s and she'd love to see more of his pictures - Can You Help?
Tracy Holmes has bad news from New Zealand:
On September 4 at 4.35 am, a massive earthquake hit Christchurch New Zealand. Severe aftershocks continued and even now, we are
getting a handful of rollers each day. There is one Speedway 'casualty' that I know of so far. Alan Mason, 80's rider for Glasgow, Sheffield, Edinburgh,
Long Eaton and Exeter lives with his wife Jacqui and daughter in the suburb of Brooklands. This area was severely hit leaving many homeless. An e.mail to
Alan resulted in the following , disturbing reply; "We're ok but will lose the house." I'm sure there will be many 'Speedway Plus' readers who remember
Alan and will wish him and his family happier times ahead.
"I well remember the speedway, I must have been
about 10 yrs old when I started to go there with with pal Alan Starbuck and his dad. Bryce Subritzky was the one I remember as my favorite. The smell of the
fuel must have put us all on a "high". It was a sad day when it went from there."
"In answer to Geoff Langley, you hit the nail
right on the head [Polish fast] if engines were standard then Polish Fast wiold be a thing of the past. You mention small riders & big riders, they would
have to choose a gear ratio to suit there weight. A small rider could use a higher gear ratio than a bigger rider, then he would not spin on the gate nor
on the slick tracks that seem to be the norm for today. As for checking the engines after each GP, I bet the riders would just love that!"
"Danny Becker a sight to be seen, a
passionate yet clumsy at times rider, where is he today after so many years of great entertainment out at OC, we still can remember Danny's face as if it
were yesterday, what a rush he would give the fans!!!!!"
"Karen Saunders asking after Max Brown
from New Zealand. Is that the Max Brown that rode for Long Eaton 74, Crewe 75 and Coatbridge 76? The last time I
saw him was at his brother Alan's funeral. Despite the sadness, Max could still produce that infectious grin and was readily approachable, as ever.
The 70's at Templeton here in Christchurch were served well by the Brown Brothers and I well remember saturday nights, being thrilled by their skills.
They rode regularly against the likes of Roger Wright, Larry Ross, Graeme Stapleton, Roger Abel...
Max will be remembered for his off track action
equally as on it. He spent endless hours helping with those endless jobs that volunteers get lumbered with and helped with training the juniors as well.
At Ronnie Moore's training days, Ron and Max would stand at opposite ends of the track and make you ride around them, only a few yards from the fence!
Frighteneing stuff for a raw novice but what a thrill! After his near fatal crash in 75, Ronnie would work for the Brown Brothers at their engineering
factory, a 10 minute walk from his home. They certainly looked after their boyhood hero and friend. In June 79, Max was Captain for the 'Radio Avon'
team that took on 'Ronnie's Rebels'. And in 1980 was second reserve for the Australasian Final. I'm sure someone pointed him out at Moore Park last season.
It would just have been a visit though as he had not lived in Christchurch for some time."
"To Terry O'Conner, I assure you, you are mistaken.
I still regard myself as a personal friend of Danny's. I have known him for many, many years. We were even room mates for a short time. It IS DANNY BECKER,
"One of the best racing tracks I ever saw, and I visited
it many times as a Glasgow Tigers fan. We won a few times, and lost a few times more than that, but Cradley Heath was always one of the highlights of
the year as you knew that in spite of the travel costs, and the fact that it basically took up a full weekend getting there and back, it was always
worth it! PS Is the wee house sitting like the Leaning Tower still there there?"
"There is a very interesting recording of the last
Hammers meeting at Custom House which can be viewed on the British Pathe News website. If you enter "West Ham Speedway" in the search box, you will
be able to view the 5 min rec. I had actually forgotten that the track had reopened again. By the way, a good few other historical recordings
can be found on the site."
"I just thought I would let
people know that on 30 August we held a very successful memorial service for Tom Farndon at his graveside in Coventry on the anniversary of his
death on 30 August 1935. Strangely enough we were commemorating the 75th anniversary of his death and 75 people turned up. The fact that 75 people
came to honour a man who died 75 years ago shows the reverence Tom is still held in in his home town. The event was organised by John Chaplin
and the service conducted by the Rev Mike Whawell, speedway's chaplain. "
"I remember the very first meeting at Clay
Country Moto Parc. The endless stream of people walking down over the hill toward the track, I don't know how many thousands there were, we were jammed
in like sardines. The racing was always fantastic, and always well supported, whatever league. The team had characters as well, Chris 'Bomber' Harris,
Mark 'The Undertaker' Phillips (Top Hat Included), Tom 'Tiger ' Brown, Malcolm 'Mad Wellie' Holloway, Matej Zagar, Emiliano Sanchez (Track Record Holder),
Simon Phillips, Steve 'Lionel' Masters, Pavel Ondrasik, Richard Wolff, Wayne Barrett, Chris Bennett, Ben Barker, Mirko Wolter, Steffen Mell,
Alun Rossitter, Mark Courtney, Will James, Mike Bowden, Seemond Stephens, Brett Woodifield, Darren Matthews, Dean Garton, Gary Lobb, Roger Lobb,
Richard Ford, Lee Herne, Chris Johnson, Simon Walker, Jason Prynne & The Late Kenny Olsson are just some who come to mind, what a great bunch of
entertainers they were. Thanks lads for all the good times!
Will Speedway ever return to Cornwall, we still have some great riders coming from here
1st & 3rd in the British Championships Chris Harris & Ben Barker, National League stars Mark Simmonds & Seemond Stephens, and recent top line Under
16 competitors Josh Dingle & Lloyd Barrett, we need a team, Britain needs more Cornish speedway talent."
"Does anyone remember a New Zealand rider called Max Brown from about 1971/72? What a man, I would have
been about 12 and I was watching him in the pits when he called me over and asked me to sit on his bike and gently rev it to keep it warm for the next race.
Well I didn't like to refuse, I was in heaven, somehow I think this request was more for my benefit than his. Wherever you are Max, I wish you well and
"This must be the most ridiculous and
unworkable suggestion I have heard. For one thing GM do not produce fully assembled engines. There is no such thing as an "over the counter" GM. Anyone
buying a GM basically recieves a box of bits which has to be sent off to a tuner. Every tuner has his own individual methods and techniques. So
if the engines are to be theoretically equal they would all have to be sent to the same tuner and he would have to prepare all of them exactly the same,
which is impossible. Any rider will tell you that you can get two engines from the same tuner and they will have slight differences. That is one reason
you see riders change bikes during a meeting.
Even assuming you could achieve the impossible and get 32 engines (assuming two per rider) exactly the
same you still have to face the fact that tracks are different shapes and sizes and small tracks like Cardiff require different power characterisics
to a big track, and different riders require different power characteristics according to their riding styles. Who decides what power characteristics
the engine should have? Small riders like Rune Holta and Kenneth Bjerre will obviously need their engines set up differently to bigger men like
Andreas Jonsson. Whichever way you do it will favour some riding styles against others so the theoretical level playing field will never exist.
the GP's are to be as fair as possible the best plce to start would be enforcing the rules to ensure that engines are stripped and measured after
every GP. It rarely happens and that is why riders are talking about engines being "Polish fast" (in other words oversize)."
"Bill Gillihams thoughts on improving the GP
series are interesting. However, the suggestions largely focus on equipment, and I am not sure how practical it is to define and control this in the
way suggested. There has always been disparity between riders equipment, even when JAP, and later Jawa, appeared to effectively monopolise supply.
Some riders have always had first class equipment, where others did not. this did not stop the greats from reaching the top, (athough they might have
done even better with 1st class kit).
It is probably true that GP is here to stay, at least so long as the money talks, and that is why I have tried
to argue that we could have a knock-out event like the old style championship running in parrallel with GP. Indeed, the two might even be complementary,
with the old style event being used, at least in part, to select the GP riders for the next year.
Whatever, I think that Bill's early point about a qualifying system for GP is essential if GP world champions are ever really going to be able to say they
were the best, rather than best of perhaps 20 or less, admittedly very good, riders."
"I would like to comment on Tomasz Gollob's actions at the G P in Malilla which caused Emil Sayfutdinov to
miss the rest of the season. Could not the F I M use the system used in F1 and deduct points for any indecent of dangerous conduct it could range from
1 to 10. If it had been Emil's fault it would have been down to inexperience but Tomasz can't use that excuse. Thanks for a great web site, I have followed
Speedway from 1949 at Harringay. "