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Grachan

Portsmouth Speedway

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I notice in Backtrack this month there is reference to a track in Portsmouth. This interested me, as earlier this year I worked in Portsmouth for a couple of weeks and, on the way into the City(?), I noticed a Greyhound Stadium to my left which looked a perfect venue for Speedway.

 

So, where was Portsmouth Speedway, and when was racing held there? Was it at this location that I described or elsewhere? My normally trusty Dictionary of British Speedway tracks from a History of Speedway book has no mention of a track in Portsmouth.

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I've certainly never heard of a track in Portsmouth either. On page 31 of Backtrack, though, there is an advert for a video of cine film from old tracks, and one of those listed is Portsmouth. Colchester is another one I've never heard of that gets mentioned.

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Is that the best speedway book ever?

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One of them!

 

Anyway, Portsmouth has had three tracks.

 

The first was opened at Chalton in 1928 and ran for the grand total of two meetings.

 

The second, the Wessex Stadium, opened in 1929 by Wessex Speedway co. in conjunction with Dirt Track Speedways Ltd., the company behind West Ham and Southampton. It was a 440 yard unbanked track. Some top names like Frank Arthur, Bluey Wilkinson, Sprouts Elder and Phil Bishop appeared in open meetings. The track was said to be very bumpy and over the winter a new 382 yard track was laid. Portsmouth formed its own team, which included Steve Langton and Phil 'Tiger' Hart (later to ride for Eastbourne, Birmingham and Hackney amongst others) and raced challenge matches. The track closed at the end of 1930.

 

In 1935, Tom Bradbury-Pratt, the promoter at Harringay opened another track at the Greyhound Stadium. Harringay raced a league match against Hackney there and a week later a challenge match between Wembley and Wimbledon was due to be held but was rained off. There were no further meetings at the stadium until 1937 when the Albatross Motorcycle Club promoted two matches against Basingstoke and Reading.

 

Two attempts were made to re-introduce speedway just after the War but came to nothing and then again in 1977, when locals collected a 1,300 signature petition and the GRA agreed, but the local council turned down planning permission (where have I heard that before?).

 

As far as I know there has never been speedway in Colchester...and I think I would know!

 

Now read the book! ;)

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BASINGSTOKE!!????

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One of them!

 

Anyway, Portsmouth has had three tracks.

 

The first was opened at Chalton in 1928 etc etc

 

Now read the book! ;)

 

Crikey Norman, I saw this topic and thought I might be able to help answer it. :blink:

 

The only info missing is the Tyre Pressures and Track Records.

 

Award yourself this weeks Star Prize Sir - :rolleyes:

 

Crouch.

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Thank you David. :)

 

If ever Portsmouth do return at least I have the basis for one of my Norman Chronicles articles in your programme!

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Guest clivehitch

Sir Norm...don't go into that darkened room yet as we need you on here this winter to brighten our darkest nights!!.

 

WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO POST YOUR TOP 15 CLUBS OF ALL TIME??

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Colchester speedway track, it did indeed exist, but not for very long, it was built by a rider (Terry Stone has all the info) and used for practice, but after a few complaints, it was forced to close and the days gone by series has footage supplied by Terry, also has footage from Portsmouth and many others.

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I lived in Colchester for 20 years coming back a couple of years

 

ago. This is a new one to me ( and Norbold ), could anyone who

 

knows Terry Stone or knows where the track was, please let us

 

know.

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Guest clivehitch

have consulted the excellent "homes of british speedway"book,cannot see an entry for Colchester amongst the 300+ venues featured

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have consulted the excellent "homes of british speedway"book,cannot see an entry for Colchester amongst the 300+ venues featured

 

Although quite a good read,a few of this new wave of books seem to be researched in the lunch break.Go through a few old speedway mags,etc.I mean to use an example,Bethersden quote "The track closed following complaints about noise later in 1971,although it wa later rumoured,in January 1974,that Reg Luckhurst had planned to use the track to try out a Weslake...."Why not ask Reg Luckhurst if he did or not or is that too hard :blink:

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