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  1. 25yearfan

    workington ..

    The great Brian Buck, Mr Birmingham speedway! I've always read your almost exclusively spot on views with much interest and followed your long campaign to get back speedway back to Birmingham from the 1986 Bordesley Green closure time. Thankfully the Brummies are well entrenched back at their spiritual home, Perry Bar! - Has the Wheels site shut for good now? Cyril Crane and Martin Rogers with a lot of help from the then very strong Norwich speedway supporters club got land behind the Marsham Arms in Hevingham and ran a Black licence meeting using junior riders + David Crane without the consent of the speedway control board in early December 1976 on a very cold day as I recall. The crowd was quoted as over 2000 which wasn't bad considering the time of the year, next to no facilities and the riders were mostly under 16. Cyril eventually got fined by the speedway control board for staging an unlicensed meeting, I recall legendary Ipswich promotor John Berry being a loud critic of the meeting. Although the local Council had allowed a small number of practices and meetings to take place on a trial basis before a hoped for future full planning application, they later became very anti speedway at the site no doubt finding Cyrils rebellious stance against the control board unappealing. I think eventually the Council used the dodgy blind entrance (if coming from North of the venue, most fans from the City would of entered the venue from the South!) as the main reason for not allowing it to become a permanent venue for speedway. Shame cause I think the venue had potential, the issues with the entrance could have been overcome if the Council had really wanted to with signage, a 30 MPH zone and maybe traffic lights on racenights. Cyril intended to run in the old National League in 1977 and at the time I'd imagine it would have been well supported. Its possible that eventually facilities would have been built up over time like a grandstand and concrete terracing, the Norwich team running out of there would of moved up into the British League and it would still be running up to present times. - I still maintain that a Norwich speedway track could run even in modern times without adversely affecting the attendances at nearby Ipswich, Mildenhall and King's Lynn cause many Norwich locals who didn't go to speedway would be enticed to become regulars. Not sure with King's Lynn already called the Stars, what the new Norwich team would have been called? - I suspect John Berrys opposition to the unlicensed meeting had much to do with him being worried about losing some of his crowd to the new track. The land is still unused to this day and is not near to any housing apart from the adjacent Marsham Arms pub. Today I still think this would make a good venue for a Norwich speedway stadium. Back to Workington. As Brian Buck would testify, 3rd Division speedway was the saviour of Birmingham speedway and has led to the club returning to the 2nd tier. So 3rd tier racing at Northside would be better than no speedway and is a good starting point. Hopefully the plans on the Northside venue bear fruit and Workington Comets return to League racing. Ironically while I've never been to Northside I'd imagine it wouldn't be to much different to what Hevingham was all them years ago!
  2. 25yearfan

    workington ..

    On the contrary, Laura Morgan made it public that running Workington speedway was a loss making exercise during the last title winning season and after winning the League was very non committal about running which was proved when speedway didn't run at Derwent Park in 2019. If anyone wanted to take on Workington speedway at Derwent Park and were serious about it, things would of happened during the last 2018 season or even in the 2018/19 winter to ensure the clubs survival. I'm sure any would be saviour was put of by the debts Laura Morgan accrued. The current plans to build a new Workington speedway track on the Northside training track sound promising and look to offer the only realistic way that League speedway will return to the area. The fact that the would be speedway promotion would also own the site (after building it themselves) and subsequently have the rights to the all income streams attached would make the chances of the venue being financially viable much more likely. A Somerset/Redcar/Scunthorpe like set up at Northside that could develop over time while in operation could work I reckon. Heres hoping we see the Workington Comets back in League speedway soon!
  3. 25yearfan

    workington ..

    If Workington had regular viable crowds in its last years of operation they wouldn't of closed and would still be operating out of Derwent Park! - The old adage of use it or lose it certainly applies in this instance. I remember in the 80's right through to 2002 King's Lynn speedway struggled along year after year in the top flight with supporters saying it was top flight or nothing. I think the King's Lynn owners wanted to drop down into the old National League as early as 1986 but supporters always had the attitude of not wanting it so managed to convince the promotion to not do it. - Fast forward to 2003, after another poor struggling top flight campaign in 2002 King's Lynn finally bit the bullet and dropped down which was a blessing in disguise as the move revitalised the club and eventually led to the club returning to the top flight! - Nearby Ipswich have also had a new lease of life after dropping down a couple of times and then eventually returning to the top flight! Top flight racing isn't the be all and end all. Us in East Anglia know that very well cause more often than not NL fare at West Row on a Sunday afternoon is better value than top flight racing at nearby Ipswich and King's Lynn! Anyway my original team in speedway Norwich Stars have been absent now since 1964, a whopping 56 years and counting. I think 3rd Division speedway in Norwich would be welcomed with open arms!
  4. 25yearfan

    One Club Servants

    Graham Jones (the first one by the way not the 1980's/90's Stoke and Wolves rider!) had his first League rides for Boston in the early 70's before going to ride long distance for Berwick for many years so wasn't completely a one club man!
  5. 25yearfan

    Great Yarmouth/norfolk

    You can say that about many Businesses in these unprecedented times!
  6. 25yearfan

    Great Yarmouth/norfolk

    World class riders like Craven, Briggs and Fundin used to race at Yarmouth mainly in the open licence years and produced good racing. Likewise Lakeside, Armadale and Newcastle are three of the more awkward shaped tracks of recent years and all have produced good racing! Indeed the awkward shape of the Great Yarmouth track would be beneficial at National League level cause the requirement to turn sharp into the corners would help to improve up and coming riders skill levels much in the same way as Buxton did for many years!
  7. 25yearfan

    Coventry Drone

    Sad that a stadium that used to stage well attended speedway and stock car meetings until under 4 years ago and would still be to this day is in such a state. Its a long shot but hopefully, somehow ownership can be reverted to a leisure company who can reopen the venue for speedway, stock cars, greyhounds and other events!
  8. 25yearfan

    Maurice Morley

    Did a sterling service at many tracks for a lot of years. One of his great feats was building Romfords track from scratch in a couple of weeks! He was still helping out in the late 90's when Dingle Brown ran Mildenhall! He must surely have been in his 90's when he passed away?
  9. 25yearfan

    Great Yarmouth/norfolk

    Running a reopened Great Yarmouth speedway in the National League would be the only way to have any chance of the venture being financially viable cause holiday makers would boost attendances if the meetings were advertised and relying on an area that hasn't staged speedway since 1961 to provide a reasonable hardcore of regular fans would be optimistic to say the least. This is considering that when Yarmouth last staged speedway from the late 40's to 1961 they struggled for crowds outside of the holiday period in an era when crowds were much larger than those of modern times!
  10. 25yearfan

    Reading Speedway - Smallmead.

    My abiding memory of Smallmead in its latter days was that it was a decent stadium apart from the ageing main stand and the car park that needed resurfacing. Replace the main stand and sort out the car park and you would of had a very good speedway stadium!
  11. 25yearfan

    Reading Speedway - Smallmead.

    Bill Dore and his daughter Pat Bliss ran both the speedway and the greyhounds at Smallmead. It doesn't take a genius to work which one of the two sports was the only profitable one! Therefore I'd say that greyhounds did subsidise the speedway. Subsequent speedway promotions after who didn't run the greyhounds as well, lost money!
  12. 25yearfan

    Reading Speedway - Smallmead.

    Yes a tragedy when one considers when Smallmead was originally built in 1975 Reg Fearman got a 90 something year lease on the land which obviously got changed and apart from a new main stand needed the stadium was still in a decent state. Although for the last 20 years of its existence at least, the greyhounds subsidised the mostly poorly attended speedway meetings. The idea when Smallmead stadium got demolished was for a new stadium elsewhere in Reading featuring speedway, greyhounds and incorporating a casino. Could this type of set up be built at Smallmead? I've always felt that a Somerset type of set up could be built on the Smallmead site, with the facilities slowly being improved as time goes on. - Multi use would be necessary to give it any chance of being viable. - stock cars, greyhounds, all weather pitches, speedway training track?
  13. 25yearfan

    Odsal hopes

    Sorry I forgot the Premiership is the top flight of speedway now, I was thinking of the Premier League which was the name of the 2nd Division until a few years ago. Your right and the reason that many teams would go to Saturday nights is cause that's the best night to attract a crowd which is why I think that night is the only viable chance for a reopened Bradford speedway to get break even plus crowds. Look at the woeful Tuesday night crowds in 1997 at Odsal, Rye House wouldn't of shut down had they been allowed to stay racing on Saturday nights and Leicester would still be in the top flight if they could of stayed on Saturdays in that league!
  14. 25yearfan

    Odsal hopes

    2nd Division speedway on a Saturday night would undoubtedly be the best way forward for a reopened Bradford speedway, I'm convinced midweek speedway would get lower crowds. Why do you say it will never happen?
  15. 25yearfan

    Great Yarmouth/norfolk

    Yes you are correct, Brafield raceway near Northampton (which last staged speedway in the late 60's) was converted to shale last season. Could a Northampton Rhinos speedway team be a viable propersition at Brafield? As for Yarmouth stadium, its still going strong up to date including reopening during this virus lockdown spell for behind closed doors greyhound meetings. I still maintain that speedway in Yarmouth during the months of June to early September could be viable cause stock car racing draws decent crowds to the venue during the summer months even though the number of entrants can be low due to the midweek nature of the racenights.

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