"What a great read and a great article. The BLRC was indeed the highlight of the year, after the Internationale and especially when the World Championship Final wasn't at Wembley.
Great days at Hyde Rd in the 70's. I think it may have been in 1972 when Ted Rogers (3-2-1) was the "guest star". Yes, we had to queue to get in, and 25,000, which I believe was the capacity at Hyde Road, would have been the crowd (you couldn't have got a fag paper between us) would have been the attendance. We were lucky (!) to be right near the tapes, standing of course, but with the old wooden fence, yes you really felt the whoosh of speed as the riders came hurtling round the fourth bend and jockeyed for position down the home straight and the swoop on the first turn.
Wonderful memories of a track much remembered, even by an avid West Ham and after that Hackney and Wimbledon fan (gotta keep it in London!). Great days - the "golden" years of speedway in the 60's and 70's. Thank you to all who had the sheer courage to get their butt on a bike."
"Fighting talk that will, I fear, fall on deaf ears. I was an occasional attendee at Odsal for Bradford speedway meetings during the last few seasons of operations there. Yes, the stadium offered a good view of a decent racetrack - but nobody went!
In the final season, when Odsal crowds sometimes struggled to reach four figures, despite Bradford topping the table, one could stand on the terracing above the first and second bends, and find oneself 40 yards from the nearest spectator. A miserable experience.
Speedway's audience has declined dramatically even since then, the late 90s. How many now watch live speedway every week? Maybe 18,000 in total? A comeback for crumbling, decaying Odsal? No chance. If Bradford Rugby League Club cannot make Odsal either pay or work (and they attracted 7,500 to the stadium's farewell fixture), what hope is there for a poorly-supported speedway team? Given the parlous state of the sport in Britain, its future little brighter than managed decline, the opening of any additional tracks (either new or revived) seems unlikely. Odsal included."
"A meeting was held at Dagenham on 9th August 1936 for The Secretary's Cup. According to a report in Speedway News, the cup was given to the Amateur Speedway Riders' Club by the Hon. Secretary, Mrs. G. O. Thornton. Mrs. Gladys Thornton then presented the cup to the winner, Frank Hodgson. One of the riders participating in that meeting was B. McKechnie. As the cup in the photograph is inscribed 'The Cup of Merit', I suspect it was awarded by H. L. Thornton at the end of the season, possibly at the Championship meeting on 8th November 1936, to Herbert Mackechnie (note the slight variation in spelling) as a rider who had perhaps ridden consistently well or made progress throughout the year. This assumes B. McKechnie is Herbert (Bert) McKechnie. "
"A super read, very accurate as well. I was also at the Leicester match and all hell did break out. I remember the Manchester Evening News gave the full back page to it. The title was something like the disgrace of speedway. Its a shame the sport didn't usually get such a good coverage! The British League Riders Championship was always a fantastic end to the season. This particular one was terrific with Ivan Mauger riding at his very best. Thanks for such a good review, it brought back some great memories. "