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Interesting to note that only two riders won the trophy twice. Both were Australians who had strong links to West Ham - Bluey Wilkinson and Jack Young.

Edited by gustix

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14 hours ago, racers and royals said:

I solve a 10year old mystery and all i get for my trouble is a load of abuse !!!!!

That's how he operates sadly.  He was speedyguy, jack keen, and many more.  Banned from here, and banned from the very tranquil speedway yahoogroups site.

Now he's just plain old John Hyam.  

Bitter, pedantic, negative, miserable as sin, and sadly, living in close proximity to me now i'm based in South London.

Anyway, Hope you're well r&r.

 

 

 

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On 4/30/2009 at 9:24 PM, speedyguy said:

 

 

THE FARNDON MEMORIAL TROPHY: I cannot find the years but I am certain that in the post-war seasons when I went to New Cross, it always seemed that Ron Johnson was the winner.

 

http://londonspeedways.proboards.com/index.cgi

 

 

18 hours ago, gustix said:

18/09/1935: FARNDON MEMORIAL TROPHY - ERIC LANGTON
30/09/1936: FARNDON MEMORIAL TROPHY - JACK MILNE

          /1937: FARNDONMEMORIAL TROPHY - BLUEY WILKINSON
12/10/1938: FARNDON MEMORIAL TROPHY - BLUEY WILKINSON
02/10/1946: FARNDON MEMORIAL TROPHY - MALCOLM CRAVEN
08/10/1947: FARNDON MEMORIAL TROPHY - JEFF LLOYD
28/10/1948: FARNDON MEMORIAL TROPHY - HOWDY BYFORD

           /1949: FARNDON MEMORIALTROPHY - WILBUR LAMOREAUX
09/08/1950: FARNDON MEMORIAL TROPHY - GRAHAM WARREN
11/07/1951: FARNDON MEMORIAL TROPHY - JACK YOUNG
23/09/1959: FARNDON MEMORIAL TROPHY - PETER CRAVEN
24/08/1960: FARNDON MEMORIAL TROPHY - RONNIE MOORE
06/09/1961: FARNDON MEMORIAL TROPHY - JACK YOUNG

Looking at the two quotes: the first regarding my thoughts on Ron Johnson's role in regard to the Tommy Farndon Memorial Trophy, then the subsequent list of winners, it seems I was off the beat in that respect.

Now I wonder - could it have instead been Ron Johnson having success in the London Riders Championship?

Edited by gustix

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28 minutes ago, gustix said:

 

Looking at the two quotes: the first regarding my thoughts on Ron Johnson's role in regard to the Tommy Farndon Memorial Trophy, then the subsequent list of winners, it seems I was off the beat in that respect.

Now I wonder - could it have instead been Ron Johnson having success in the London Riders Championship?

Ron Johnson won the London Riders' Championship in 1945 and 1946.

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Aside from the London Riders Championship, the London clubs also contested a team event - the London Cup. I have traced these details in regard to it but anticipate some amendments could possibly be needed. Where no scores are given the FIRST named team are assumed to have been the winners!

LONDON CUP FINALS:
1930:
1931: Crystal Palace 114 Wembley 76
1932: Wembley 99 Stamford Bridge 92
1933: Wembley 140 Wimbledon 109
1934: New Cross 114 West Ham 97
1935: Harringay 120 West Ham 92
1936: Hackney Wick 127 Harringay 88
1937: New Cross v West Ham
1938: Wimbledon v New Cross
1939: Wimbledon v New Cross
1946: Wembley v Wimbledon
1947: New Cross 110 Wembley 105
1948: Wembley v New Cross
1949: Wembley v West Ham
1950:
1951:
1952:
1953: Harringay 110 West Ham 105
1959: Challenge - Belle Vue 110 Wimbledon 99

Edited by gustix

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1937: New Cross 117 West Ham 97

1938: Wimbledon 109 New Cross 104

1939: Wimbledon 134 New Cross 82

1948: Wembley 115 New Cross 98

All these New Cross results are in a jolly good book called "Out of the Frying Pan". I can highly recommend it, Gustix. I believe it received a good review in the South London Press when it came out. :D

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3 minutes ago, norbold said:

1937: New Cross 117 West Ham 97

1938: Wimbledon 109 New Cross 104

1939: Wimbledon 134 New Cross 82

1948: Wembley 115 New Cross 98

All these New Cross results are in a jolly good book called "Out of the Frying Pan". I can highly recommend it, Gustix. I believe it received a good review in the South London Press when it came out. :D

Presumably the South London Press reviewer was familiar with speedway in general and New Cross in particular? Thank you for clarificaton of those results.

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9 minutes ago, norbold said:

1937: New Cross 117 West Ham 97

1938: Wimbledon 109 New Cross 104

1939: Wimbledon 134 New Cross 82

1948: Wembley 115 New Cross 98

All these New Cross results are in a jolly good book called "Out of the Frying Pan". I can highly recommend it, Gustix. I believe it received a good review in the South London Press when it came out. :D

Here is the actual South London Press review of the excellent book re New Cross:

From the South London Press, Friday, July 4, 2008.

THE FRYING PAN STARS

FOR nearly 30 years, New Cross Speedway played a major part in South London sporting life. The track closed in 1963 but the memories live on, as author Norman Jacobs recalls in Out Of The Frying Pan. JOHN HYAM, who spent 17 years following the Rangers, reviews the book and adds some memories of his own.

OUT OF THE FRYING PAN

The story of New Cross Speedway

Author: Norman Jacobs

160 pages, 40 photos

ISBN: 978-0-7524-4476-5

STADIA, £12.99

 

I FELL in love for the first time on Wednesday, April 17, 1946.

         Not with a glamourous girl but a whirlwind motorcycle sport. And we are still together after all these years. That night I saw speedway for the first time and its magic has stayed with me ever since.

          I was 13 years old and knew so little about the sport that when I saw the riders leaving the pits for the first race parade, I thought they were racing. That changed in less than a minute when they lined up on the starting grid. The track lights dimmed, the tapes rose and four temporarily stationary gladiators roared into the first bend, spewing cinders as they broadsided the turn.

         Ron Johnson, one of the great names of New Cross, and his partner Phil Bishop took a 5-1 heat win from rivals Ron Clarke and an engine-failure hit Jack Parker.

          But my searing memory of the meeting was when announcer Cecil Smith gave the time of a scratch race as "Clickety-click-point click" for 66.6 seconds.

         For more than 60 years, I believed the race winner was Mick Mitchell, who away from the track was a school caretaker in Lewisham. Recently, I found out that Mitchell was not in that race - the winner was Belle Vue's Wally Lloyd. And, just for the record, New Cross won the challenge match 46-37.

      For the next 17 years, New Cross speedway was a major part of my life. I was horrified when they closed in 1953 after promoter Fred Mockford was refused permission to sign the Swedish star Olle Nygren to strengthen the Rangers. Six years later, speedway was back at New Cross.

     After a handful of open meetings in 1959, they raced for two seasons in the National League. The winter of 1961-62 saw another closedown, then Wally Mawdsley and Pete Lansdale reopened the track for Provincial League racing in 1963.

       Sadly, the new venture failed to catch on with fans, and the track folded for the last time on August 2, when they lost 41-37 to Poole. Three nights later in a last-ever match the Rangers slumped 51-27 in Dorset.

     The last team to wear the New Cross colours included established lower-league stars like Jimmy Squibb, Bob Dugard and Stan Stevens.

       And, good as they were at this level, older fans with memories of top international aces like Johnson, Jack Milne, Cyril and Bert Roger, Barry Briggs, Tommy Farndon & Co failed to accept a lower form of racing. They wanted the very best.

      And, as leading speedway historian Norman Jacobs recalls in his latest book, the Rangers had their fair share of speedway's greatest names. Originally, the first promoters, Freddie Mockford and Cecil Smith, had promoted at Crystal Palace. However, in 1933 they had a disagreement with the trustees of the Palace over the rent. So they went into an agreement to introduce speedway at the then newly-opened New Cross Stadium in Ilderton Road, Peckham, for the 1934 season.

      Jacobs neatly compartmentalises the New Cross story into four sections: (1) How it started; (2) The 1930s; (3) Post-war at New Cross; (4) The revival. They span 30 years, but taking out the four war years (1940-44) and the six dormant years, speedway only took place over 20 seasons. And the pre- and immediate post-war seasons were a golden time for the sport.

    In pre-war years, speedway was sport's greatest crowd-puller. Crowds of 30,000 were commonplace for many meetings until the sport ground to a halt at the start of World War Two in September 1939. And, after a handful of open meetings at New Cross following the end of the war in May 1945, it was very much business as usual when league racing resumed in April 1946.

     While in pre-war years there was an atmosphere of romance in regard to the leather-clad gladiators on bikes, there were also moments of great tragedy. In its second season at New Cross, the rider who many claim is the greatest ever England rider, Tommy Farndon, died after a crash on Wednesday, August 28, 1935. It happened in the final of the second-half's New Cross scratch race. Farndon and his New Cross team-mates Johnson and Stan Greatrex were the starters along with West Ham's Bluey Wilkinson.

     On the third lap, Johnson hit the safety fence on the back straight. Farndon, who was close behind, hit his team-mate and was thrown over his bike's handlebars, landing heavily on his head. Both were rushed to the Miller Hospital at Greenwich. Johnson was discharged later, but Farndon was found to be in a critical condition.

     The hospital was besieged by hundreds of people waiting for news. Regular bulletins about his condition were posted on the hospital gates and bus and tram drivers stopped their vehicles so that passengers could read about Farndon. The rider died two days later without regaining consciousness. Many fans outside the hospital collapsed with grief and were given medical attention. At the time of his funeral, thousands lined the route.

     The book is given the title “Out Of The Frying Pan” because of the size of the original track, just 262 yards and nearly circular. It provided extremely exciting racing with riders virtually in a continous broadside. Probably the most spectacular exponent of broadsiding was legtrailer George Newton.

       His career was halted in 1938 when he suffered a serious chest infection and had a lung removed. Ten years later, Newton was back with New Cross, but just as he was finding his pre-war form, he was taken ill again. He never rode again for New Cross, but for some years was a leading rider at several second division tracks.

      New Cross gave speedway its second world champion when American ace Jack Milne won the title in 1937. The team won the National League championship in 1938 and repeated the feat 10 years later.

      The book also deals with the career of Johnson, the charismatic Australian who played such a major role in cementing the golden years of the Rangers. His career was of the highest calibre until a crash at Wimbledon on August 1 1949 when he fractured his skull. After that, he struggled to live up to his colourful reputation as one of the sport's all-time greats.

      In 1951, Johnson returned to Australia, and after a successful comeback was briefly with West Ham in 1955, then needed the help of friends and supporters to pay his fare home. After New Cross reopened in 1959, the following season Johnson made another comeback but was outclassed even in junior events.

     In 1963, when the Rangers reopened in the Provincial League, then 54 years old, Johnson was back for another trial but failed to make the team. He made his last appearance at New Cross on May 14 when he beat Phil Bishop 2-1 in a match race series. Johnson died in Australia in 1983.

     This book is packed with anecdotes, records, and stories of the greatest names to grace speedway in an era when it was rated among the highest attended sports in Britain. Out Of The Frying Pan covers the history of New Cross in depth, outlining great team and individual performances, as well as revealing the roles of the promoters in maintaining the sport at a renowned speedway venue.

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Details of London's major individual event - the London Riders Championship:

LONDON RIDERS CHAMPIONSHIP

1930 - Jack Ormston - Wembley

1931 - Joe Francis - Crystal Palace

1934 - Tom Farndon - New Cross

1935 - Tom Farndon - New Cross

1936 - Vic Huxley - Wimbledon & Australia

1937 - Jack Milne - New Cross & U S A

1938 - Eric Chitty - West Ham & Canada

1939 - Jack Milne - NEW CROSS & USA

1945 - Ron Johnson - New Cross & Australia

1946- Ron Johnson - New Cross & Australia

1947 - Vic Duggan - Harringay & Australia

1948 - Split Waterman - Wembley

1949 - Alec Statham - Wimbledon

1950 - Cyril Roger - New Cross

1951 - Aub Lawson - West Ham & Australia

1952 - Ronnie Moore - Australia & Wimbledon

1953 - Jack Young - West Ham & Australia

1954 - Jack Young - West Ham & Australia

1955 - Barry Briggs - Wimbledon & New Zealand

1956 - Brian Crutcher - Wembley

1957-62 not held

1963 Norman Hunter, Hackney

1964, Mike Boadbank. Swindon

1965 Sverra Harfeldt, West Ham, Norway

1966 Norman Hunter, West Ham

1967 Colin Pratt, Hackney

1968 Colin Pratt, Hackney

1969 Trevor Hedge, Wimbledon

1970 Trevor Hedge, Wimbledon

1971 Bengt Jansson, Hackney, Sweden

1972 Ronnie Moore, Wimbledon, New Zealand

1973 Barry Thomas, Hackney

1974 Barry Thomas, Hackney

1975 Dave Jessup, Leicester

1976 Gordon Kennett, London White City

1977 Larry Ross, Wimbledon, New Zealand

1978 Keith White, Hackney

1979 Larry Ross, Wimbledon, New Zealand

1980 Finn Thomsen, Hackney. Sweden

1981 not held

1982 Kai Niemi, Wimbledon, Finland

1983 Bo Petersen, Hackney, Sweden

1984 not held

1985 Andy Galvin, Hackney

1989-95 not held

1996 Billy Hamill, Coventry, USA

1997-2018 not held.

Edited by gustix

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On 2/14/2009 at 1:21 AM, DK Rides Again said:

 

It might be good if you made your forum easier to access.

 

I don't want to register as a member until I know what kind of site I'm registering on; I may (or may not) be able to make a valuable or interesting contribution to your forum, but I don't know if I can, because I don't have the opportunity to find out if it's the kind of site I might like.

 

You can read the threads without going to register. But you cannot make a response without registering as a member. http://londonspeedways.proboards.com

Edited by gustix

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21 minutes ago, gustix said:

You can read the threads without going to register. But you cannot make a response without registering as a member. http://londonspeedways.proboards.com

I'm sure DK Rides Again will really appreciate that reply to his 14/2/09 post...

... I mean after the 10 year wait.

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A list detailing London tracks:

ARENA ESSEX
(See Lakeside Hammers). Opened April 5 1984 as Arena Essex. Address: Arena-Essex Raceway, A1306 Arterial Road, Thurrock, Essex. Became Lakeside Hammers in 2008.
BARNET.
Opened July 27 1929. Closed late 1936. Address: Barnet By-pass, near Mill Hill, Herts.
CATFORD.
Greyhound Stadium - Opened September 1 1934. Closed 1935.Meetings also took place at nearby Catford CC, in Penerley Road, in 1932. Address: Catford Stadium, Adenmore Road, Catford, London, SE6.
CHISWICK NOMADS
Training track, 160 yards, in Mortlake Road, Chiswick. Opened 1957, closed late 1958. Only wide enough to allow two riders on track. Previously a cycle speedway late 1940s to circa 1954. As a team for away matches, first known as Champions and later Nomads. Competed at Southern Area League tracks. Address: Mortlake Road, Chiswick, London, SW.
CRAYFORD.
Opened April 21 1930. Closed 1931. Reopened 1935. Closed 1937. Reopened June 12 1968. Closed October 28 1970. Reopened April 8 1975. Closed October 26 1983. Address: Crayford Stadium, Stadium Road, Crayford, Kent.
CLAPTON.
[Please refer to Lea Bridge). Clapton was an alternate name used by the team for some seasons in the early 1930s. There was also a Clapton Stadium but this only staged greyhound racing.
CRYSTAL PALACE.
Opened May 19 1928. End of 1933 the team moved to New Cross. Open meetings staged until 1938. Entered Division Two April 1939. Closed June 1939. Open meetings 1940. Track closed late 1940. Address: Crystal Palace Exhibition Grounds, Sydenham, London, SE26.
DAGENHAM.
Opened 1932. Closed November 5 1939. A few open licence meetings took place in 1946 but were grass-speedway. Address: Ripple Road, Dagenham, Essex.
ELSTREE.
Opened August 10 1947. Closed October 1947. Address: Elstree, Herts.
GREENFORD.
Opened April 7 1928. Closed late 1929. Reopened August 22 1931. Closed October 10 1931. Address: Birkbeck Avenue, Perivale, Greenford, Middlesex.
HACKNEY.
Opened April 26 1935. Closed (war) September 1939. Reopened April 10 1963. Closed July 5 1991. Reopened March 28 1996. Closed October 3 1996. In 1996 the team raced as London Lions. Address: Hackney Wick Stadium, Waterden Road, Hackney, London, E15.
In 2011, Hackney were revived as a National League team in a joint Lakeside Hammers-Rye House promotion with home matches at both venues.
HARRINGAY.
Opened May 29 1928. Closed June 2 1931. Reopened March 31 1934. Closed following outbreak of World War Two in September 1939, returning to National League Division One in 1947. Closed Augst 18 1954. Address: Harringay Stadium, Green Lane, Harringay, London, N8.
HIGH BEECH.
Opened February 19 1928. Closed August 6 1932. Reopened May 2 1937. Closed August 27 1939. Reopened 1948. Closed 1950. Address: King's Oak Hotel, High Beech, Loughton, Essex.
HOUNSLOW
Staged four meetings in 1935. Location Staines Road, Hounslow, Middlesex.
LAKESIDE HAMMERS
Opened April 5 1984 as Arena Essex. Address: Arena-Essex Raceway, A1306 Arterial Road, Thurrock, Essex. Became Lakeside Hammers in 2008. Speedway ceased at Arena Essex on Friday 14th September 2018 with the team moving to Rye House for the rest of the season.
LEA BRIDGE.
Opened July 14 1928. Closed July 27 1934. Reopened August 1 1938. Closed September 26 1938. At some times in the early 1930s, the team was also known as Clapton. Address: Lea Bridge Stadium, Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, London.
LONDON LIONS/HACKNEY.
Hackney reopened March 28 1996 as the London Lions. Closed October 3 1996. See the Hackney thread.
LONDON WHITE CITY.
Opened May 19 1928. Closed October 4 1929. Reopened March 24 1976. Closed September 13 1978. Address: White City Stadium, Wood Lane, London, W12.
NEW CROSS.
Opened April 18 1934. Closed June 10 1953. Reopened August 9 1959. Closed September 21 1961. Reopened April 12 1963. Closed August 2 1963. Address: New Cross Stadium, Hornshay Street, Old Kent Road, Peckham, London, SE15.
ROMFORD.
Opened May 29 1969. Closed September 30 1971. Address: Brooklands Stadium, Romford, Essex.
RYE HOUSE.
Opened May 27 1934. Address: Rye House Stadium, Rye Road, Hoddesdon, Herts. Rye House closed on October 10 1993 then reopened on May 29 2000 after they entered a team in the 1999 Conference League - most home matches took place at Mildenhall. Although the track was open as a training track in 1967/68, no public meetings were held. They were also one of the few tracks to run during the War, with meetings being held every War year except 1944, with racing resuming on August 5 1945. Rye House withdrew from league racing in June 2018. Speedway resumed on September 14 2018 with Lakeside Hammers as the track tenants for the rest of the season.
STAINES.
Mid-1938. Closed 1939. Address: Staines Stadium, Wraysbury Road, Staines, Middlesex.
STAMFORD BRIDGE.
Opened May 5 1928. Closed October 1 1932. Address: Chelsea FC, Stamford Bridge, Fulham, London, SW6.
WALTHAMSTOW.
Opened August 16 1934. Closed end season 1934. Reopened April 4 1949. Closed October 8 1951. Address: Walthamstow Stadium, Chingford Road, London, E4.
WEMBLEY.
Opened May 16 1929. Closed September 13 1956 (domestic racing). Reopened May 30 1970. Closed October 2 1971. Address: Empire Stadium, Wembley, Middlesex.
WEST HAM.
Opened July 28 1928. Closed 1955. Reopened 1964. Closed 1971. Address: Custom House Stadium, Prince Regent's Lane, Beckton, London, E16. NOTE: After West Ham's closure in 1971, Romford staged a few meetings at Custom House in early 1972.
WIMBLEDON
Opened May 28 1928. Closed 1991. Reopened 2002. Closed 2005. Address: Wimbledon Stadium, Plough Lane, London, SW17.

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HIGH Beech after a spell in early league racing, it became a junior track in the 1930s, but eventually closed in late 1949. JOHN HYAM writes of an idea to reopen the birthplace of British speedway in 1954:

IT was one of the best kept secrets of 1954. An ambitious bid by Doug Falby, then editor-owner of the 'Speedway Gazette', to reopen the birthplace of speedway at High Beech as members of the Southern Area League.

   Since its original opening in February, 1928, High Beech had been strongly associated with the sport. Sometimes known as King's Oak, the track had competed in the old Southern League until the early 1930s.

   Even after the venue dropped out of league racing, it still featured as a junior track at various periods up to the start of World War Two in September 1939.

   And, apart from its motorcycle speedway associations, in 1937 and 1938 High Beech had also staged meetings for midget cars which were then trying to make their mark as an alternative speedway sport.

   Post-war, High Beech returned to action in 1948 and 1949 with a series of open meetings - running very much as an alternative junior track to Dickie Case's vibrant venture at nearby Rye House.

   Among the post-war riders at High Beech was Allen Briggs - later to be associated with Walthamstow and Rayleigh. Another was Steve Bole, who had a brilliant one season with Eastbourne in their SAL days, then surprisingly quit racing at the end of 1954.

   And a great stalwart and favourite at High Beech in the years spanning World War Two was Arthur Sweby, a rider who also made a name for himself on southern grass tracks.

  While these riders never matched the calibre of the original High Beech aces of the 1920s and 1930s like Phil Bishop, Jack Barnett, Syd Edmonds and Stan Baines, they nevertheless were an integral part of the Essex track's history.

  And legend has it that in the only recorded match race between a male and female rider which took place at High Beech in 1929, South African favourite Keith Harvey was run into by an unnamed woman rider. She escaped injury, but Harvey suffered a broken leg.

   This, however, gets away from the attempt to revive High Beech for entry to the SAL in the mid-1950s. Falby, of course, was well placed to act as a speedway promoter. In pre-war years he had been business manager to former rider Arthur 'Westy' Westwood. In his time, Westwood promoted in France - at the Buffalo Stadium in Paris and at Marseille. And just before war broke out, he had been involved as promoter of the Birmingham, Nottingham and Leeds teams in the old National League's Second Division. Post-war, Westwood ran at Tamworth in 1947 and 1948.

   Falby was convinced that High Beech would be a welcome addition to the Southern Area League, which in its initial 1954 season featured Aldershot, California (Wokingham), Eastbourne, Brafield, Rye House and Eastbourne.

   The moves towards a High Beech revival started in the mid-summer of 1954 when Falby enlisted me to help him draw up the framework for the venture. The first thing was to form the basis of the team.

   High on the list was the former Southampton and Liverpool legtrailer George Bason. He had started the 1954 season with California, then dropped out of the side after six weeks to concentrate on his business. But he still turned out in open meetings at California. I assured Falby he could be persuaded into racing for High Beech.

   It was also planned to target another of the California regime, Ted Pankhurst, who had raced briefly for the 'Poppies' at the start of 1954 before reverting to his first track love grass track racing and a career in the then new British track sport stock car racing.

   Also on the High Beech hit-list was the former Oxford junior Ray Terry, who was then breaking into an injury-hit Eastbourne team. And colourful spectacular  Johnnie 'Cisco Kid' Fry - another Eastbourne rider - was also on Falby's team sheet.  Veteran grass trackman Tom Albery - famed for his brown racing leathers - who had also raced a few times on speedway for California was another ‘wanted man.’

   Stan Tebby, the grass track racing father of Jim Tebby (later a long-time loyal servant to Wimbledon) was pencilled in, as were juniors John Lalley, Al Holliday (briefly with Rayleigh in the early 1960s), cousins Keith and Ronnie Webb, Irish junior Mike O’Connor, and an Australian youngster John Gronow.

   Gronow had first arrived in England in 1953 primarily to race in the Isle of Man TT. But on the ship to England he came into contact with English rider Maury McDermott (Harringay and Rayleigh). Gronow liked what he heard about speedway and decided to switch racing formulas.    

  Lalley, from Camden Town in North London, was a protege of the old West Ham, Norwich and Aldershot favourite Ivor ‘Aussie’ Powell. Lalley also pinned his faith in what was, for that time, a revolution in bike engine positioning. It was placed on a slope in the frame - the forerunner perhaps of the modern laid-down engine. Powell achieved much success with the bike - sadly Lalley never emulated his mentor.

    With that part of the equation finished, at least on paper, the next objective was an inspection of the High Beech facilities. That's where I again came in. I was then regarded as an 'expert' on the SAL and its track requirements. I was writing regular columns on the SAL for the 'Gazette', 'Speedway Star' and 'Speedway News'. Falby said: "You know what the league's all about. Go and take a look at High Beech for me."

   I did not own a car at the time, but I had a rather fine drop-handlebars racing-type cycle. More importantly, I was also keen on  the chance of becoming a promoter in the mould of Johnnie Hoskins, so I agreed to inspect High Beech.

   It involved me in a 30-mile round cycle journey from my south London home to High Beech on the far north east outskirts of the capital. I vaguely knew where the track was, and after biking through the East End, eventually went through Ilford and Romford, before finding Epping Forest and High Beech.

  I was horrified when I saw the birthplace of speedway. The safety fence had long since gone, what had one been a stand of sorts was derelict, it was difficult to find the pits area, and  the race circuit was overgrown.

   As for the centre green, this had become a storage area for beer crates. I had never seen so many in one place - hundreds of them, neatly stacked and placed there for storage  by the brewery which looked after the interests of customers at the nearby King’s Oak pub.

  Despite my enthusiasm, even I knew that a speedway revival at High Beech was a non-starter. For the type of Sunday afternoon racing supplied by the SAL and the low attendances the league attracted, only a fool would have poured cash into a venture that would never recoup a substantial cash outlay. I reported my findings to Doug Falby and he agreed with me: High Beech would never see another speedway meeting. And it never did.

   Luckily, Falby had curbed an initial wish by me to hint at a 'High Beech speedway revival' story for the ‘Speedway Gazette’. We both felt that as things stood it was best to keep quiet  our moves in that direction.

    And that's how things have been for more than half a century. But it's good to get things out into the open and I feel now is the time to make public the sad tale of the last bid to promote at British speedway’s pioneer venue.

Edited by gustix

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9 hours ago, gustix said:

Details of London's major individual event - the London Riders Championship:

LONDON RIDERS CHAMPIONSHIP

1930 - Jack Ormston - Wembley

1931 - Joe Francis - Crystal Palace

1934 - Tom Farndon - New Cross

1935 - Tom Farndon - New Cross

1936 - Vic Huxley - Wimbledon & Australia

1937 - Jack Milne - New Cross & U S A

1938 - Eric Chitty - West Ham & Canada

1939 - Jack Milne - NEW CROSS & USA

1945 - Ron Johnson - New Cross & Australia

1946- Ron Johnson - New Cross & Australia

1947 - Vic Duggan - Harringay & Australia

1948 - Split Waterman - Wembley

1949 - Alec Statham - Wimbledon

1950 - Cyril Roger - New Cross

1951 - Aub Lawson - West Ham & Australia

1952 - Ronnie Moore - Australia & Wimbledon

1953 - Jack Young - West Ham & Australia

1954 - Jack Young - West Ham & Australia

1955 - Barry Briggs - Wimbledon & New Zealand

1956 - Brian Crutcher - Wembley

1957-62 not held

1963 Norman Hunter, Hackney

1964, Mike Boadbank. Swindon

1965 Sverra Harfeldt, West Ham, Norway

1966 Norman Hunter, West Ham

1967 Colin Pratt, Hackney

1968 Colin Pratt, Hackney

1969 Trevor Hedge, Wimbledon

1970 Trevor Hedge, Wimbledon

1971 Bengt Jansson, Hackney, Sweden

1972 Ronnie Moore, Wimbledon, New Zealand

1973 Barry Thomas, Hackney

1974 Barry Thomas, Hackney

1975 Dave Jessup, Leicester

1976 Gordon Kennett, London White City

1977 Larry Ross, Wimbledon, New Zealand

1978 Keith White, Hackney

1979 Larry Ross, Wimbledon, New Zealand

1980 Finn Thomsen, Hackney. Sweden

1981 not held

1982 Kai Niemi, Wimbledon, Finland

1983 Bo Petersen, Hackney, Sweden

1984 not held

1985 Andy Galvin, Hackney

1989-95 not held

1996 Billy Hamill, Coventry, USA

1997-2018 not held.

I have received an email querying early details for the London Riders Championship which contradict the details given. It reads: "Tommy Farndon won the title in three successive seasons on his home track at Crystal Palace in 1931, 1932 and 1933."

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