Bill Elliot recently acquired some items from the collection of the late Jack 'Red' Monteith. Red was a popular reserve
at both Glasgow White City and Old Meadowbank in the fifties and sixties. We're delighted to be able to share some of these items with you.
Dudley Jones argues that the true 'Golden Age' of speedway is later than many historians would claim.
Indeed he believes we're still in the midst of it.
Anthony Whiteoak has a copy of The People Speedway Guide 1947 but it's missing some pages he'd very much like to read.
He's hoping someone will be able to copy those pages and send them on to him - Can You Help?
We recently mentioned a 1982 Soviet Film called Inspektor Gai that featured some speedway action. Unbelievably, those good
folks at the Speedway On Disc blog have managed to track down a copy and condensed the speedway scenes into a neat package. It looks
as if the action was filmed on an athletics track with no safety fence rather than a conventional speedway. See for yourself at
speedwayondisc.blogspot.com/2011/04/speedway-in-films and if
you haven't visited Speedway On Disc before then we'd urge you to look through their vast archives of pictures, videos and magazines.
"Oh happy days. I remember going to Elfield when it was a
training track and spending the odd weekend painting the barriers. ... And happier racing 'knights' and searching my way back to the car over the rough
dark car park after a night in the bar. What fun!"
"I never have been, or intend to become, a regular
poster on web sites. However I have been, and still am, involved in the SOS campaign group which still meets 1st Tuesday monthly at Brennans, Regent Street,
Long Eaton at 8.00, with lowish numbers these days, quite understandably. I have fully documented declines from Stanton Ironworks, Nottingham Greyhound
Stadium, Bennerley Colliery site and at present Donington Park. Efforts will continue - there must be somewhere!"
"My Old Man reckons Jackie was the best
Solo Rider he ever saw. My recollection of Biggs death was January 1971 or 1972, I was 9 or 10 holidaying in Caloundra (from Melbourne). I believe it
happened at the Ekka and the wording in the paper as I recall it was.....Biggs fell, hit the fence and rolled off onto his stomach; by the time help got
to him he was dead. He was either 51 or 53 at the time. I'm working from childhood memory so I can't assure the accuracy."
"I first watched Jack Biggs in
Melbourne along with Neil Street and the mighty John Dewhurst [probably the best aussie rider not to venture overseas]. Jack was always immaculate in
himself and his machinery, we had access to a small training track and Jack / Neil and Phil Crump would be be there any time. Quite amazing for ten year
old me to see world stars going through their paces.What a Champion Jack Biggs was......."
"These pictures bring back memories. My Brother and I used to
travel from Rushden to support the Knights. I remember the first season, when the Knights started out as 'whipping-boys', and finished the season winning
a double header at home - beating the leauge champions (can't remember who they were). MK Knights dveloped some useful riders - Andy Grahame,
Malcolm Holloway , Derek Harrison - to name a few. Led by veteran Aussie Bob Humphreys."
"Glasgow v Cradley was in 1980 in the ILKOC.
Steve Lawson won that heat 1 in a track record time of 64.0 which stood until the track closed at the end of the following season. It's a race many
Tigers fans still remember to this day!!!"
Issue 43 of the excellent Backtrack magazine is out now. Here's a sneak peak at what's included, complete with
some extracts from the interviews with Shawn Moran, Michael Lee, Tony Clarke and others.
Bill Elliot is considering staging a Paisley Lions reunion and this is all the more likely if he can track down a good number of the former
riders. He'd be delighted to be put in contact with Bernie Foot, Colin Farquharson, Mike Fishwick, Malcolm Chambers or any other ex-Lions riders
or officials. He can be contacted via email on email@example.com
"Alan Hunt was and still is my
favourite rider my dad and me used to go to Cradley to watch him and when he went to birmingham we never missed a match, on his day he could beat anybody,
his only problem was he was a poor gater, but after that you thought a hornet was on your tail his passing skills could hardly be bettered. I met Alan
several times, the last time at Wembley which he admitted was one of the few tracks he did not like. I saw Alan ride for England at Harrogate when I was
in the air force he had a fall early on and I did not think he would ride again but he came on as a substitute and rode with Dick Bradley who scored 17
points and a man next to me said that tears it, we won't win now. I told him to wait and see after the race was over, well Alan got off to a flyer and won
the race Dick Bradley was second and England won the match. When I heard of Alan's death in South Africa where he loved riding, I cried like a baby and it
put me off speedway for years, but eventually I started going again at Wolverhampton and I loved watching Ole Olsen and my second favourite Sam Ermolenko."
"Great "Match Report" but I always thought
that the 1939 World Championship was won by Adolph Hitler as he stopped everyone else from riding! (He would have been the first AUSTRIAN World Champion).
And Chris, there was no "Haggis Column" in this "programme" because it was even long before MY time in the sport. (and even before my time in Scotland)."
"Went to Blantyre 1, I think for an Inter
League Cup match (1981????) Penhall and Teromaa gated in Heat one only for Mr Lawson to roll up the inside and keep them out for 4 laps! Anyway the point
is Referees Boxes are not always in line with the start line therefore it wasn't a unique feature of Blantyre and the Glasgow management didnt get away with
anything! Dudley Wood was the same, however the timekeeper sat dead in line with the tapes in another building! (at Dudley Wood anyway!)"
"After watching the new King's Lynn team on
Sky sports took me back to the seventys as a Coventry fan when we went to Saddlebow Lane and the races that took place between Terry and Booie. They were
all very close and must have ended with the both of them having equel amount of wins. Terry always seemed to try extra hard against us, he was a great rider."
We don't often get the chance to bring you pictures of a brand new track in Britain. Thankfully the long-awaited
return of the Leicester Lions has resulted in just such a facility. Thanks to Christopher Holmes
for these pictures from the first meeting.
Dave Bush is looking for information about this painting - Can You Help?
Paul Burton wants to know about a five rider run-off run in a mid-sixties PLRC - Can You Help?
Igor Sokolovsky needs heat details from the USSR side that toured Britain in 1976 - Can You Help?
"Dave, If your wife isn't interested in Speedway, Paradise
Wildlife Park is a great day out, with tigers, lions, meerkats, etc., so you could pop into the Speedway Museum and then take your wife around the
Wildlife Park but don't let het stand too near Rocky the tiger! If you come along on Sunday 17th April, we have our annual 'Celebration of Speedway'
exhibition with a Collectors' Fayre, Cycle Speedway, Bar-B-Que, etc......Watch out for the advert in Speedway Star which will give Speedway fans
FREE entry to the exhibition and also to the Wildlife Park. "
"A few years ago my wife and
I were in a second hand bookshop in Cheltenham when she said to me, "Isn't that that film you keep going on about?". What she was pointing at was a
slim blue volume called Once a Jolly Swagman. I had a quick look and yes it was. 30p was all they wanted. It was a truly awful book with speedway not
filling as much of the story as the film screenplay. I ended up flogging it on Ebay for a substantial profit however, which was much more fun."
"Sorry about this, but Ken Sharples joined the
Diamonds owing to the demise of Sunderland Saints. Incidentally, The Saints promoter, Bill Bridgett, had given 2,000 free tickets to the local population,
who enjoyed their free meeting, against Newcastle, very much, but preferred not to return, because they would have had to pay! Hence the real reason for
the closure, with Bridgett having lost �6,000 pounds on the venture."
"Robert I think the colours are red and blue albiet
slightly darker than you would remember, also pre war the race jacket were blue on top! As for being picky I agree the Hammers would only be on the front
and as you can only see the front that is a bit picky! :-) By the way the crossed hammers only appeared after about 1935, the first year the race jackets
were white, then up to 1932 they where red and blue quarters after that blue and red halves. During the War and in 1946 the hammers where not crossed
and in 1947 the red bit went on top! I know being such a young chap you may not have seen our Bluey in his pomp :-( Must say I like the painting
and a little artistic licence is always acceptable."
"The comments are very interesting. I know
I most likely got the West Ham colours wrong - it was mentioned on the website guestbook ages ago - unfortunately there's nothing I can do about it now.
As for the colours. Well I actually saw George Newton racing for either Fleetwood or Wigan back in the 'Forties so I think I got that one right. I began
watching speedway in 1946 and many of the guys were using equipment they had stored during the war so I have some idea what pre-war racing looked like,
although from this distance of time there are many details I do not remember. At Newcastle for instance we had Norman Evans, Syd Littlewood and
Charlie Spinks, all of whom had ridden in the 'Thirties. One good source of reference is the cigarette card issue (1937?) which was produced in colour.
However it is the colour of the track which has given me the most trouble - cinders ? shale ? or Johnnie Hoskins' silver sand treatment. From an
artistic viewpoint if you try to be too accurate colourwise you'd most likely end up with a pretty drab and boring picture. Maybe we have fogotten
just how dull and frankly dirty things looked in those pre-smoke abatement days. But the mistakes are entirely mine. Just put it down to artistic
"On the same day, July 10, 1964,
Boris Samorodov, Anatoly Gruzintsev and Konstantin Krishtal acted in Swindon in the International tournament pairs. Vitaliy Shilo was seriously
injured in the first race at Wembley Stadium on July 4 and was in the hospital."
"I must say I had a little chuckle at the "Warm Welcome"
greeting on the sign, seeing all the zipped up anoraks on display the welcome appears to be the only warm thing there!! I must take a trip up there
some time and see for myself I guess."
Darren still misses his Sunday afternoons at Carmarthen, but here is his favourite seven Dragons from their short existence.
John Coulston is looking for some Barrow race results and programmes - Can You Help?
The Long Eaton Speedway Reunion Group are holding their 4th annual reunion on 17th June 2011 at the Soldiers and Sailors Club, Tamworth Road, Long Eaton,
Nottingham. NG10 3JS (50 yards from Long Eaton train station) at 7.30pm.
The evening will consist of interviews with former Long Eaton riders, a display of speedway memorabilia, an auction, a dvd show, a raffle, entertainment and the
opportunity for fans to meet former riders. Also available to buy, priced at �5, will be issue 3 of Ian Gill's book Trackin' Down, which has interviews with
former Long Eaton riders Paul Evitts, Phil Whittaker and Geoff Bouchard.
Everyone is welcome to come along and share in an evening of nostalgia.
Tickets are priced at �5 in advance and �6 on the night, both prices include a full cold buffet.
All proceeds from the evening and the book will go to St John's Ambulance (Long Eaton Division) and the spinal unit at the Royal Derby Hospital.
Tickets and more information available from: Peter Wrathall Tel: 01332872187 Mob: 07970419170 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
"My beloved Hackney - God I miss this place. Although
now an avid Lakeside Hammers fan, NOTHING will ever erase my memories of Waterden Road. I'd also say (and being totally unbiased) that we had the
very best, and fairest, racing track in speedway. At a time when our great sport is consistently being served up on ultra slick circuits, many of
us are lucky enough to remember the likes of Barry Thomas and Zenon Plech riding the boards at Waterden Road and overtaking from the back. If only I
could find a time machine - it would be set for Friday at 8 - location: Waterden Road - The Home of my Hackney Hawks!"
"The artwork for the Halifax and Reading posters is also
to be found on Leicester posters from that era. The posters were originally commissioned for Leicester (hence the red and yellow). All three tracks
were Reg Fearman enterprises. For another example of 'borrowing' see the 1968 Reading programme cover - which featured two Halifax riders in
action all year - a shot first used on a 1966 (I think) Halifax programme cover"
"I remember Gary with great affection.
Gary was my Hero and as a snotty nose kid at Nelson I used to watch him along with all the other riders but he was my Hero. I used to help him carry his
gear to his car and go in the changing rooms and listen to all the stories (I was allowed because of my brother riding there). When they moved to Bradford
I was so glad that my Hero was also going there as he was one of the best at this time. I got to know Gary better and better, helping him in the pits,
carrying stuff down from the cars to the pits which were right in the bottom of the bowl.
It was a bit later when I decided I wanted to race speedway and
I told Gary this I will never forget the words he said to me - "when you're old enough Mick, you come and see me I will make sure you have a bike to ride".
I never did need to ask him as my mum and dad bought me one but them words will always be in my mind. I remember Gary being in hospital in Wolverhampton
once and my mum and dad took me to see him (i was still a kid) his face was all cut his lip busted etc. I have never cried so much in my life and he
beckoned me over and put his arm round me and my head on his chest.
If a man can love a man I did love Gary Peterson and the day that Gary died I think a
part of me died as well. He never saw me ride Speedway in real life but I bet he was chuckling at some of my antics while up in heaven. I have no doubt
that Gary would have been a world champion and speedway lost a true gentleman and friend that fateful day. RIP Gary, till I see you again !!"
"I saw Gary race many times at
Western Springs. I PERSONALLY LOVED HIS STYLE. He had such a non plus attitude and I used to watch him and his girl in the pits getting ready to race.
I saw him race against Pusey and I didnt know who to cheer for as the polka dot kid was my fav english rider."
"Great reading, when I was a kid of about seven I remember
spending many hours at Harringay. At the races of course but also during the summers when all the kids in the area held a speedway championships on the
cinder car park in front of the stadium. Sometimes the Harringay riders would come out of their workshops and cheer us on. We would have the most
spectacular pile ups, and grazes and bruises and the occasional breakage were brushed off, we did'nt care, We would have died for our heroes.
I got to know several of the riders, nipping over the high street to the Greyhound Cafe to get teas and rolls for them and any chance I got I helped
out at the workshops of my heroes; Jackie Biggs, Ron Howe, 'Split' Waterman and Allan Quinn. One of my fondest memories was having to break into Ron Howe's
workshop (through the smallest of windows) to swipe a spoke for Jackie Biggs' front wheel, and in a delicious air of conspiracy Jackie swore me to
secrecy and it is only now can the truth be revealed.
I remember Jackie's 'Woody', I convinced myself that it was the very same car that Rocket Man had in the Saturday morning serials. When speedway came
to an end in 1953 it was like the end of the world.. ..maybe one day I'll get over it. It was only recently that I found out that Jackie Biggs was
killed in a track accident, and even after all these years I felt a small pain of loss, yes Jackie was a great speedway rider but as you say he was
always approachable and was generous with his time. A nice man indeed. "
"Congratulations to all Leicester fans on
getting their speedway team back after 28 years-I can only imagine the feeling of absolute ecstacy which they will be experiencing. I've never
quite given up the slim hope that there might one day be another set of returning Lions!"
"It was amazing what you could do as 16 year
old in 1983 on just the family allowance & paper round money. Leicester on tuesday on the buxtons coach from the foxhunter and cradley on a saturday
by train and the occasional trip in the Arnie or Burt mobile. The Wimbledon / Reading / Leicester trip is still one of my best experiences. AS a reward
for doing well in my O levels, my parents paid for me to go to 1983 world final in Norden Germany (via Amsterdam). We managed to abandon the
aforementioned Bob on the tram whilst journeying to the others hotel, unfortunately he ended up getting off at the right stop and was given the
right room number and we were given the wrong one. I'd love to know what whoever was in that room made of the note pushed under the door! I am
surprised you have not got the full stats for the Chilton Foliat Flyers though - Happy Days. Now the Lions are back and I am looking forward
to my 6 year old enjoying speedway in his home town for a long time to come."