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iris123

Hamburg Lokstedt Dirt Track

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The next meeting on 28.07 featured the much awaited match race challenge between Lees and Jervis.Again a very good crowd of 16,000 turned up.In the first heat of the best of 3,Lees made a great start and after the first lap was 50m in front and held that lead in the next lap,but Jervis was making up ground and into the last turn was only about a metre behind Lees,but couldn't get past him.Lees was greeted with hearty applause from the crowd.The second heat had to be put back until after the break as Jervis had problems with his bike and had to repare the cylinder head.Before the next heat Jervis made a test lap to see that everything was ok,then showed he was happy.Jervis led from start to finish,but was chased all the way by Lees who was trying everything he could to get past,to no avail.The times for both heats showed how good the riders were going.75.6 for Lees and 76.0 for Jervis!!

They met again before the scheduled decider in one of the finals over 3 laps.Lees had beaten Morian Hansen in his quali,Jervis on the other hand surprising finished behind Danish rider Walter Ryle.In the final Jervis upped his game and came out of the first bend in front,but Lees was not giving up and managed to pass Arthur on the home straight of the first lap.It was again looking like a super race,but then Lees lost control on the bend and had what looked like a very nasty crash and Jervis went on to win the final followed by Morian Hansen.It was announced that Lees was only shaken up and a little while later it was relayed to the crowd that he had recovered enough to have a cigarette!!! He couldn't come out for the match race decider though,and it was announced that they would hold a new one at the next meeting.......

Unfortunately when the next meeting was held Ginger hadn't recovered from his fall and the new world record holder,Jervis was having his last meeting for  while at least,as he was being recalled to England so they could parade him to the fans.The Golden Helmet had helped make Wednesdays the main race night and 15,000  turned up.After a couple of relatively low turnouts things were looking so good that Motordrom A.G were now planning to run 3 meetings a week!!!Wednesday-Friday and Sunday..... The heats saw the first appearance of a german rider from outside of Hamburg.Franz Heck from Berlin,who it was said had been training on the Berlin Dirt Track!!Taking a guess,but could this be the same Franz Heck who won the 1928 1000cc race at the Nürburgring?Strange that no metion of this is made if it is,but would be a big coincidence if there was another Franz Heck from Berlin racing motorbikes at the same time.This time Fritz Niss couldn't win,but only come 2nd to Otto Heinrichs and Graf Strachwitz finishing 3rd.

Niss still had a good lead with 18pts,Heinrichs now on 11,Max Plambeck on 6,Graf Strachwitz on 5,Wunder 2.König and Niemeck on1 

Jervis found it all a bit harder and struggled to find a way past Niels Sorensen in his heat,only managing due to a mistake by the Dane on the home straight otherwise Niels looked the likely winner.And then in the final Arthur couldn't quite make up the 4 second advantage that Kay Hansen held and so finished 2nd in front of the following Morian Hansen and Sorensen

 

As a replacement for Jervis it was said that one of the Australian riders that brought the sport to Europe was coming to Hamburg.Steve St.George!!!! A top class rider would be arriving for the next meeting.Ignoring the fact they had his name and nationality wrong there turned out to be two problems.First he didn't turn up on time,but maybe even worse,when he did,it was found he wasn't as good as they had been led to believe!!

The first Friday meeting saw a very poor crowd of around 3,000 turn up and the question was asked,'is it too much,3 meetings a week?' A reason for this might have been down to only using German and Danish riders,and not the expensive English.What it did have was a match between Germany and Denmark,at least of sorts.3 pairs from each country were graded into groups with the idea that evenly matched groups would bring very close races.So in the C group Germany had Plambeck and Wunder against Knudsen and Hoier for Denmark.Group B saw Arnold Stölting and Niemeck v Hans Bitsch and Otto Hansen.Then Group A saw Fritz Niss and Otto Heinrichs come up against Th.Clausen and the other Bitsch brother,Johannes!!!

The C group at least didn't turn out quite so even as things were hoped as Einar Knudsen won all 3 followed by his partner Hoier and Max Plambeck finishing 3rd in each,but strangely it seems points were only awarded for the first 3 places,rather than 5-3-2-1,so Knudsen ended with a 15pt max,then Hoier on 9 and Plambeck with 6.

In group B Germany held the upper hand winning each heat.Stölting the first two and then his partner Niemeck one and the points ended up with Stölting on 13,Niemeck with 8,H.Bitsch 5 and O.Hansen 4

The A group saw Golden Helmet leader Niss win the first heat,but in the next two he could only once finish among the points with a 3rd.Thorkild Clausen won the 2nd and 3rd heat and his partner Bitsch managed a second place in all 3 heats,so Clausen ended with 10,Bitsch with 9,Niss on 7 and Heinrichs with 4.

This meeting did though see the return of Ginger Lees on track after his crash.During the break he rode 3 laps in a good time of 75.6 and looked as good as before his injury!!!    

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To confirm this Franz Heck of Berlin was indeed the rider who won at the Nürburgring in 1928. If he had been practising "dirt-track" in Berlin before making his debut at Hamburg-Lokstedt in that 1929 season, he can only have ridden on one of the Berlin horse trotting tracks at Mariendorf and Ruhleben (long-tracks of 1,000 and 1,200m  length), which were used for motorcycle track racing at the time. In 1929 there was no shorter "dirt-track" speedway in Berlin. Such a track was eventually opened in Berlin in March of 1930, but was not a great success. It was a much smaller oval compared to Hamburg Lokstedt. The Berlin Dirt Track was only 333m long and was built inside the existing 400m cycle track at the Olympia-Radrennbahn in Plötzensee.

Other tracks for dirt-track racing in those "boom" years of 1929 and 1930 in Germany were opened at Breslau, Munich, Stuttgart, Oberhausen, Cologne, and a number of  other towns, but soon the novelty factor wore off, and most of these enterprises did not last very long. In fact , Oberhausen was the only pre-war track track that was still used (revived) for Speedway after WW2, and well into the 1960s.

Edited by Bavarian
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Thanks for the confirmation on Heck.Did think Berlin must have been a trotting track as Motordrom A.G had only announced shortly before that they planned to build a track in Berlin,and even though they had built a 'track' in Hamburg in just 4 weeks,it took another couple to get the stadium finished,so no way had they managed it in such a short period.Also knew about tracks in Breslau,Munich and Cologne,but the others are new to me:)

If I can jump a few months,well a season really forward then there is another mystery.....on his first appearance in Hamburg 'Spouts' Elder was billed as 'the worlds best rider' and a crowd somewhere between 35-45,000 turned up given from various sources.No real argument with that,but for the opening meeting of 1930 he was being billed as 'world champion'!!! Now how can this be?Even in the press it was questioned as to where this world championship was held and against which riders he won this title?He had lost the final of the 'Star Championship',but on Britmets website there is the tale of how he won the first world championship in Argentina.This though was at the end of the 1930 season........An early example of Promoters hype or was there an earlier world championship series in Argentina the season before?It should also be noted that at least for the 1929 meetings that Elder attended,the prices were raised!!!!

http://www.speedwaychampions.com/resources/pdfs/1931 World Championship (4) 2013.pdf

 

I also remember talking to post war Hamburg rider,Alfred Dannmeyer and he told me the story of riding in Denmark and the old Hamburg rider Alfred Rumrich was also there and was introduced to the crowd as 'world champion'.......so might have been lots of this going on

 

30714892_1757460390985712_6566276118337120637_n_lzn.jpg

Edited by iris123

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Posted (edited)

https://goo.gl/images/aSnLvV

The DKW bike ridden by Fritz Niemeck and Stewie St.George.Niemeck worked for the company as far as I know

Edited by iris123
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The next meeting on the 4th August saw the return to competitive action for Ginger Lees,who in his first heat was greeted with a warm round of applause.Sadly many of the 15 or so thousand that attended were disappointed that the advertised match race between their English hero and the new 'star',St.George didn't take place as Stewie hadn't turned up.Why,nobody knew as no explanation was given to the crowd!!!It was hoped that this wouldn't happen in the future,that a top rider was advertised and didn't show up.In the place of the advertised match race they held a best of 3 between two of the Hamburg riders,Fritz Niss and Otto Heinrichs,which wasn't without an added bit of controversy.

The first heat was won by Niss who was closely followed by Heinrichs,but in the second heat it looked as though Niss was doing all he could,quite openly, to let Heinrichs win.In the decider Niss again won after a tough battle.The first sour notes were creeping in though after what was thought to be a relatively good start to the campaign for the promoters.Lees came second in both handicap finals.In the first eh couldn't quite make up the 8 second advantage held by Hans Bitsch and in the main final the 5 seconds that Arnold Stölting had over him

The Wednesday evening meeting again saw the Golden Helmet battle.This time it was what might be called a 'Wunderful' meeting!! What was now being classed as the record attendance so far of 20,000 watched a real wonder.Johannes Wunder,the local rider from Lokstedt had up to now mainly been the first rider at the start and by the finish,the last.Now he had bought himself a new bike and things changed overnight.A Wunder!!!Johannes not only won the Golden Helmet final,but he did it in a national record of 79 seconds.Otto Heinrichs fell whilst in 2nd place,so leaving Stölting to come in behind Wunder followed by Fritz Niss.In their quali  though it ended up a dead heat between Wunder and Heinrichs!!!

The Golden Helmet points now were:Niss 20,Heinrichs 11,Wunder 7,Plambeck 6,Strachwitz 5,Stölting 3,König + Niemech 1

In the main handicap final of the night Stölting with a 4 second advantage looked like he was on his way to a win,when on the last bend his bike packed up,leaving Morian Hansen to win closely followed by Lees

After the problems of the Wednesday meeting,the last thing that was needed was more problems.Unfortunately that was what they got.Stöltings bike packing up on the Wednesday was just the prelude to what happened on the Friday evening.Stewie St.George had finally arrived and the match race series against Lees could this time take place.Disappointingly for the crowd Lees won without problem in two heats.In the second St.George's bike packed up.......Heat after heat riders either dropped out due to bike problems or couldn't even start.Eventually the crowd got fed up with this and started to whistle their disapproval.In the handicap final Graf Strachwitz led for most of the race,but couldn't hold on to his lead and eventually finished a good 3rd,behind Lees and Morian Hansen

Edited by iris123
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A couple of troublesome meetings and there was already the call to drop Fridays altogether and concentrate on Wednesday and sunday,and to move the sunday meeting to the evening.And then for the 14th August Wednesday meeting for the Golden Helmet it was beautiful summer weather and a record crowd turned out of between 20-25,000!!!! It should be mentioned at this point that in 1930 one journalist mentioned that the crowd figures for the first season were at times over-estimated,so we can't take them for gospel.For one record breaking meeting later on in 1929 there is a difference of 10,000 between on estimate and another.And of course speedway or shall we say dirt-track wasn't alone,not even at this stadium as the Schmeling-Neusel fight has estimates between 80 and 102,000.......

What was recognisable by now was the improvement of the local riders after 6 weeks of racing,added to a week or more of training before the Stadium was opened to the public.It was harder to pick out a winner of the races between the german riders than it had been earlier in the season.This time Otto Heinrichs was in best form and Wunders new machine was giving him some trouble.Otto won the final with a great ride and was loudly cheered on his lap of honour.The result Heinrichs in a time of 79.4 followed by Plambeck,Wunder and Niss who was slowly losing his big lead:Niss 21 pts,Heinrichs 17,Wunder + Plambeck 9,Strachwitz who hadn't featured for a while on 5 etc....

In a danish-english scratch Niels Sorensen won a tough dual just ahead of Ginger Lees in a time 79.2 and Stewie St.George  was 3rd.Then in the main handicap final,St.George couldn't take his place due to bike problems,so Franz Heck as the next best rider took his place.There had been a bit of controversy in one of the quali heats as the result was announced that Ginger Lees had won in a time of 1.51.2(for 4 laps) closely followed by Otto Heinrichs in 1.53,but the crowds were in uproar as Otto had a 2 second advantage which didn't seem to be taken into account,and so should have been the winner!!The 4 second advantage held by Heck was just enough to see him win the final despite another great rider from Lees,who finished 2nd ahead of Morian Hansen and Niels Sörensen.The first major prize for the man from Berlin

After the great crowd on Wednesday it was anther disappointing Friday night crowd of around 6,000 who turned up to see the announced attack on the world mile record from Niels Sörensen and the match race challenge between local rider,Wunder and 2nd best Dane,Morian Hansen.

Johannes was again in great form and beat Hansen in two straight heats,with times of 76.0 and 80.0,but it was Sorensen who really turned it on and though a number of stop watches couldn't show a time better than Arthur Jervis' world record,they could show that Sorensen had equalled it!!!Lees managed to win two finals on the night,the second after a hard battle finishing ahead of Franz Heck to take revenge for the Wednesday night defeat

The 'sunday' meeting was moved to Monday,because Farmsen held a meeting at the 1,000m+ horse track and despite the 'off night' a decent crowd of 10,000 turned up,after around 15,000 had turned up at nearby Farmsen the day before.The meeting saw a number of falls,luckily only 1 had any serious effects on the riders.Otto Hansen had a spectacular fall,flying over his handlebars,but managed to get up and carry on riding to great applause.

A couple of new faces had arrived.One Bullas,was known,like Heck before him from the Nürburgring.The other had only travelled to help his brother out and because Eric Langton had developed some nasty sores that hampered his riding,brother Oliver took his place.Bullas couldn't really get to grips with the new surface,but Oliver Langton was no newcomer to the sport and made a great debut in Lokstedt.He gave an improved Stewie St.George a tough fight before the New Zealander could win his heat.Ginger Lees had already got one up on the new record holder SörensenThe final saw a very close race which Lees won in a good time of 75.1 followed by St.George,Langton and Sorensen.In one of the later heats Stewie St.George fell and broke a rib,just as he was finding his form in Hamburg!!!For the second meeting in a row in the final final Lees beat Franz Heck who finished ahead of Langton.Sörensen and Morian Hansen

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Wednesday night,Golden Helmet night,and 15,000 attended to see another step in Franz Hecks steady rise on the Lokstedt Dirt-Track.The 4 best riders,Heck,Niss,Heinrichs and Wunder had all qualified for the final,but the man at the top of the points table couldn't take his place due to feeling unwell,so it ended up a surprisingly easy win for Heck followed by Heinrichs and Wunder.The points table now looked....Niss 21,Heinrichs 20,Wunder 11,Plambeck 9,Strachwitz and Heck 5......The gradual development of the German riders was shown in that there were now 5 riders who had ridden under 79 seconds.Heck,Heinrichs,Niss,Wunder and Stölting,who had missed the last few meetings due to injury

The handicap final again saw a battle between Heck and Lees,which this time Ginger couldn't quite manage to win.Oliver Langton was third and behind him Wunder managed to hold off the challenge from Niels Sörensen

The Friday meeting saw the 'king' of Lokstedt take back his crown.The meeting opened with the advertised attempt on the world and track record by Ginger Lees which with his wonderful track technique he not only managed to break,but knocked a full second off the old record!!To loud applause Ginger made a lap of honour as it was announced the new world record stood at 72.4!!!

After this great start the meeting fell victim to rain,and although it finished,many of the riders had trouble with the conditions and a number fell.Strangely when the track was built they made it egg shaped and so it had two very different bends.One large the other very sharp and over the season it was usually the sharp bend that gave the riders problems and in nasty conditions like this night even Ginger Lees had to take the sharp bend 'gingerly' as the rain continuedThe meeting also saw a 'revenge' challenge between Wunder and Morian Hansen,which this time Hansen won in two straight heats,the second of which saw Wunder fall and injure himself and put him out of the meeting.Shortly before the meeting ended Johannes did appear out on the track to show he was ok and received a round of applause from the crowd

Ginger Lees won an English-Danish challenge ahead of fellow countryman Langton and Franz Heck won a german only final,which saw the first appearance(as far as I know) of Bill Kellner,who would later turn out for Preston,so it was looking likely that Heck and Lees would again clash in the main handicap final.Unfortunately in an earlier heat Heck had trouble with the track fell,remounted and then rode into the back of Heinrichs and caused both to crash and Heck was disqualified from the rest of the night.And so this time with all riders being very cautious it was difficult for Ginger to make up the time advantages the other riders held over him.Niels Sorensen won,followed by Bullas and Graf Strachwitz.Lees finished a lowly 4th ahead of Langton and Heinrichs

The sunday meeting saw a Germany v Denmark test match and also a match race challenge between Oliver Langton and the returning Stewie St.George.12,000 saw Langton win the first heat in a super time of 74 seconds.St.George's track return was too early though and he couldn't come out for any more rides,so a handicap match race between Langton and Ginger Lees was arranged with Oliver receiving a 3 sec advantage which Ginger couldn't make up

The Germany v Denmark test match was affected by the poor state of the German bikes.There were a large number of e.f's and in heat 6 neither of the german riders managed to cross the finish line,much to the frustration of the crowd.Funnily it all started quite well because Niels Sörensens bike didn't really get going at first and so Franz Heck could win and Fritz Niss managed to finish behind Sorensen,but ahead of his partner Otto Hansen,so Germany took a first heat advantage 7-4.But the next race gave the pattern for the night.Heinrichs bike packed up and Niemecks bike wasn't firing on all cylinders,but he did manage to finish and now the Danes were leading 9-12 and so it carried on.Heat 3 saw Thorkild Clausen of Denmark drop out due to a broken chain and although he fell Count Strachwitz managed to continue and finish.Heck managed to win heat 5 for Germany,but his partner Fritz Niss couldn't come out to take his ride,presumably not fully recovered from his illness that affected him the previous meeting and his replacement Plambeck didn't manage to complete the heat!!As mentioned,the next heat was a disaster for Germany as neither Strachwitz nor Arnold Stölting managed to finish and so it was now 25-37.Niss had recovered by the last heat and manged to win followed by his team mate Heck and with Morian Hansen not finishing it made the final score 54-40.Without the gremlins it was thought Germany could have managed a win

Full details,though without any mention of the 'drop outs' can be found here

http://www.internationalspeedway.co.uk/gervden.htm

In the handicap final it was back to the normal routine of a battle between Heck and Lees,which Heck won,gaining revenge for the defeat by Lees in the quali heat 

 

  

Edited by iris123
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Again for the Golden Helmet meeting on 28.08 another bumper 20,000(25-30,000 from another source!!) crowd turned up.A couple of the locals(Wunder + Werner) were still missing though injury,which made qualification for the final more or less predictable.Niemeck it seems was still trying to get used to a new bike and Kellner was still trying to get used to the track and the style of racing.The best 4 at the time,Heck,Niss,Heinrichs and Stölting all made it and it was a hard fought race.Stölting had given Heck a hard race in the qualis.Heinrichs won,but the main battle was behind him with Heck making it through from last to 2nd,but couldn't get past Otto,who now took the points lead from Fritz Niss.Heinrichs had 25 pts,Niss 23,Wunder 11,Plambeck 9,Heck 8,Strachwitz 5,Stölting 4.

'Ginger' Lees was again in great form winning both finals,but he was made to work hard by Niels Sorensen in an early qualification heat where Sorensen got in front and battled hard to keep the lead.They were should to shoulder and only on the last bend did Lees manage to get ahead for the win.He made no mistake in the final winning by almost a second ahead of Sorensen and Langton.Even the time advantages held by Stölting(3s) and Morian Hansen(2s) were not enough to hold him off. 

The Friday evening meetings were still struggling to attract the crowds,struggling to find something of special interest like the Golden Helmet.This time a team challenge between Ginger Lees-Franz Heck v the 2 best Danes,Niels Sorensen-Morian Hansen,could only attract a crowd of around 6-7,000.Points were 5 for 1st,4,3 and 2 for last place!!The first two heats were fairly predictable in that Lees won,the two Danes 2nd and 3rd and Heck finished last,so the third heat was going to be the decider.....possibly.Lees was yet again out in front,but behind him  something of a sensation was occurring.Franz Heck was giving Sorensen a hard race with Heck just in the lead,when they entered the tight bend shoulder to shoulder and Niels made a mistake and rode over the inside of the track taking a short cut,which let Heck go on to take second place and the crowd cheered him as the hero of the night!!!

Heck again laid claim to being the best German rider at the time by holding off the challenge from Lees in the handicap final,who was followed by the Danes,Sörensen and Morian Hansen.

Beautiful summer weather brought out another very good crowd to see the sunday meeting in Lokstedt.Two announced attempts on the track records failed.Sörensen tried but failed fairly miserably to regain his title from Lees by over a second and Franz Heck just couldn't get to the national record held by Niss + Wunder,finishing 0.2 behind the 76 seconds.

The 'B' class riders were having some very good races between themselves.A number of heats between riders on 'road' bikes in previous meetings had been used to try and attract more newcomers to the sport and one of the best who had swapped over to a dirt bike,was Werner Schauer from Luneburg.The road bike races had been given the nickname 'snail cup' because of the relatively slow times,but on a dirt bike,Schauer was right on the pace and had a tough fight with Niemeck in the final,just losing out to the more experienced rider.But in the German handicap final went out and held on to his advantage winning ahead of Stölting and Niss.Bill Kellner still seemed at this point to be spending more time inspecting the dirt than riding!!

Lees had won an earlier final,but in the main handicap final Lees couldn't battle for first place,having his hands full trying to gain 3rd.4 long laps Lees,Morian Hansen,Rasmussen and Heck swapped places with each other,as out in front Graf Strachwitz was having a battle with Niss for the win.Strachwitz had a second advantage over Fritz,but that was slowly being lost and he couldn't quite keep the lead until the flag.Niss,Strachwitz,Lees,M.Hansen,Rasmussen and Heck was the way it all ended

It was a sad day for Hamburg motorbike sport as local rider Ernst died from internal injuries at Heide in North Germany taking a bend trying to overtake another rider,who moved out unexpectedly and Ernst crashed and flew off his 350cc bike into the crowd.Luckily only one of the spectators received a minor head injury and also lucky that Ernst bike got caught up and didn't end up following him into the spectators.The trotting track at Heide had been running meetings for a couple of years and had seen early appearances from riders who would later make appearances in Lokstedt like Stölting,Strachwitz,Niemeck and Niss

 

Edited by iris123
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Having trouble getting images to the right size for the forum,but here is one of the track in 1929.Note the overhead lighting on wires,very similar I think to that at Plough Lane

IMG_0123_lzn.jpg

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The weather wasn't good for the next Golden Helmet meeting on 04.09.1929,but still a decent crowd of 12,000 turned up.Two of the best riders were missing in Heinrichs and Wunder,so it was no real surprise when Franz Heck won,followed by Niss,Stölting and Strachwitz.Due to Heinrichs absence Niss now regained the lead with 26pts,Heinrichs on 25,Heck moving up to3rd with 13,Wunder 11,Plambeck 9,Strachwitz and Stölting on 6

In the handicap quails Lees couldn't make up the 4 seconds Strachwitz had and so didn't qualify for the final!!Strachwitz seemed to have found some form and managed to win the final ahead of Niss,Sörensen and Heck

The bad weather had stuck around,so that the track was quite heavy and the crowd was only around the 6,000 mark to see the revenge challenge between the Lees-Heck pairing v Sorensen-M.Hansen.This time it ended a draw as 'Ginger' could only win the first two as usual and his partner finishing behind the Danes.This time though in the final heat,it wasn't Heck wh surprised,but Sorensen,by beating Lees into 2nd with Heck beating Hansen.So it ended 21 apiece.

After almost two months this meeting saw the departure of Niels Sorensen,who was going back to Copenhagen and was warmly applauded as he made a final lap of the track.The top German pair of Fritz Niss and Franz Heck would also make the trip to race in Copenhagen

The next meeting saw another influx of riders from England including Arthur Sherlock from Hall Green,Johnny Broughton from Sheffield and Joe Palastrand,which meant they held a scratch race event just for the 'english' riders.Arthur Sherlock looked the best of the new guys,but Lees was still a class apart and won the scratch final ahead of Sherlock and Ned Kelly and also the handicap final ahead of the Dane Kay Andersen and Johnny Broughton 3rd.Palastrand won the final for the weaker riders.His winning time of 1:57s compared poorly t Ginger Lees time of 1:46 winning the handicap final

So two months after the opening the Dirt Track had established itself as one of the major sporting events in Hamburg.Well in actual fact Lokstedt was really a part of Schleswig-Holstein and only became part of Hamburg in 1937 under the Nazis.It was a fairly well to do area in troubled times.The neighbourng Hagenbecks Tierpark(zoo) was opened a couple of decades earlier.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tierpark_Hagenbeck.Up until 1866 it had been like most of Schleswig-Holstein under Danish rule lying on the edge of two rival cities.Hamburg,the free Hansa city and Altona,one of the main ports under Danish control.Altona like Hamburg had its eyes on surrounding areas and wanted Lokstedt to become part of its area,which Lokstedt resisted.But it was Altona that gave 'Ginger' Lees the freedom of the city,rather than Hamburg during the 1929 season.

It was also in Altona,nicknamed 'little Moscow' because of its left wing-communist leaning population,that held a trial that showed an insight into just how volatile the political state of the area was,and gave a warning for the future.In 1925 Germany signed trade contracts that opened the country to foreign trade. and cheap products flooded the market.Agricultural areas were hit hard and the areas surrounding Hamburg and Altona particularly hard as this was one of the main pig farming areas of Germany.Cheap frozen pork from Poland caused massive financial problems for farmers in the area as the price of pork plummeted.By the start of 1928 a protest movement was forming and 140,000 came out on 28.01.1928.20,000 alone in the sleepy town of Heide which had been hosting motorcycle races at its trotting track.Very soon the movement was headed by a couple of local farmers who had links to right wing movements in particular the Stahlhelm(Steel helmet)group.This movement,the 'Landvolkbewegung' soon started bomb attacks on government buildings and farm houses owned by farmers opposed to their movement.There was a major protest in August of 1929,when one of the leaders was released from a short prison term in Neumunster,north of Hamburg.Their movements flag was confiscated by the police and the this led to a boycott of selling products in the town,which almost caused its financial collapse and was only called off after a year when the flag was handed back.The area was extremely volatile and the German elections of 1928 whilst Hitlers party only managed 2.6% nationwide,in some of the areas of Schleswig-Holstein they managed 17% and in local areas up to 36%!!! In a few weeks the Wall Street Crash would make the world even more dangerous.......

Altona held the trial of some of those involved with the bombings and the imprisonment meant the movement soon disappeared as the Nazis rose to power and would soon provoke the Altona bloody sunday.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rural_People's_Movement

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landvolkbewegung_(Schleswig-Holstein

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altona_Bloody_Sunday

 

Sport acted as an escape from the social and political troubles and even as the British troops were advancing on Hamburg in WW2 a large crowd attended a football match between two local sides!!!

 

Edited by iris123
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23.04.1932,must go down as one of the darkest days in the Lokstedt tracks history.One of the most notorious days in any speedway tracks history.On this day the Altona NSDAP group held an election meeting and the main speaker was Adolf Hitler  and an estimated 120,000 followers attended.maybe some in the crowd were just curious as to what this man had to say.But most it seems were supporters,thinking Hitler and his party held hope for the future of the country.It was part of his election campaign,the finale of his election campaign.The next day the country and Hamburg would vote in local elections that would soon see the Nazis gain power......

http://www.gonschior.de/weimar/Hamburg/LT7.html

Back to the sport in question and the relatively calm days of the summer of 1929 and the Golden Helmet meeting on the 11th September was held without Niss and Heck,who were in Copenhagen and Heinrichs,who was injured.Another crowd of 20,000+ turned out to see local rider Johannes Wunder win against a depleted field.Graf Strachwitz finished 2nd and Arnold Stölting 3rd.The points were as follows:Niss 26,Heinrichs 25,Wunder 16,Heck 13,Strachwitz + Plambeck 9 and Stölting 8

Ginger Lees rode, and of course won a match race against Arthur Sherlock 2-0.In the second and deciding heat Lees let Sherlock ride the bend wide as was his style and shot through on the inside to take the lead and the race to the crowds delight.

The practice of having 3 and 4 lap heats in the meeting caught Otto Müller out in one final as after he went over the line after the 3rd lap he slowed down thinking the race was over and so let Arthur Moore through to win closely followed by Müller who realised too late his mistake!!!Ginger Lees won the main handicap final yet again followed by Johnny Broughton and Johannes Wunder

Friday the 13th!!5 crashes and a large number of engine problems,but some very good times.10,000 saw Ginger Lees beat the challenge of Sherlock,Broughton,Bradley and Moore in a good time of 74,5.Earlier the Dane Thorkild Clausen had beaten Johannes Wunder in a time of 75,2,which showed the improvement in some of the 'other' riders,whilst even Graf Strachwitz managed to get under 78 seconds in beating Keith Litchfield.In the handicap final,Lees couldn't make up the others advantage this time and only managed a relatively disappointing 3rd behind Wunder and Kay Andersen

The 15.09.1929 was the 28th meeting at Lokstedt in just over 2 months and another crowd of around 10,000 turned up to see the advertised challenge between Ned Kelly and Arthur Sherlock as the main attraction.'Ginger' Lees,the uncrowned king of Lokstedt it seems had departed for Copenhagen to regain the track record he set at the beginning of the season and which George Reynard had just broken!!!So 10,000 was a decent attendance considering Lees,Heck,Niss,Sörensen and Morian Hansen were all absent

Kelly won a close battle in the first heat,winning by a wheels length.Then he fell in the second leaving Sherlock to coast round in a fairly average time of 84,8.Sherlock made no mistake in the decider and finished almost 2 seconds ahead of Kelly

Johannes Wunder continued his good form as the best attending German.Otto Heinrichs had returned but was still not in top form.In the final for the 'A' riders Rasmussen the Dane led from the start but by the 2nd lap Wunder had taken the lead and held it till the chequered flag.At the back Johnny Broughton and Arnold Stölting had made a poor start and Stölting could only finish in front of Broughton and behind Arnold Moore who was 3rd.Winks Rice managed to win the handicap final chased by Stölting,who couldn't quite catch him.Just two tenths of a second separated them.Wunder finished at the back.... 

I guess the question would be,how would crowds hold up without Lees?

  

Edited by iris123

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Posted (edited)

30,000 turned out for the Golden Helmet meeting on the 18th.A new record according to the press.Then again before the opening meeting in Berlin the next year they were stating Hamburg attracts up to 100,000 a week!!!Fritz Niss and Franz Heck were back from a successful trip to Copenhagen.Apparently both won a handicap final,plus a Germany v Denmark challenge. The spectators turned out at the right time as it was an exciting meeting.Niss had a very hard fight with Wunder for the Golden Helmet,which he won on the last bend.Franz Heck couldn't trouble the first two and finished ahead of Plambeck.Otto Heinrichs had bike problems in the quails and didn't make the final,so the points totals were as follows:Niss 31,Heinrichs 25,Wunder 19,Heck 15,Plambeck 10,Strachwitz 9 and Stölting 8

The meeting also saw the debut of a new rider from Danzig(Gdansk) in Herbert Drews,who impressed in qualifying for the lesser handicap final and finished in the final quite well with a 4th place ahead of the far more experienced Dane ,Andersen.Niemeck won finishing ahead of Keith Litchfield and Thorkild Claussen.It was pretty much a German clean sweep on the night as Arnold Stölting won the main handicap final as the main favourites failed to qualify.Arthur Sherlock and Ned Kelly had trouble at the start,whilst Fritz Niss' bike packed up while leading his race!!

Wednesday night had its big attraction,the Golden Helmet.It was thought that Fridays needed something similar to boost the crowds and so it was announced that a new competition would be held for a brand new Douglas dirt track bike over 3 Friday meetings.The idea was to find the best all rounder,so one evening the heats would be over 4 laps,the next 3 laps and the last meeting would have 2 lap races!!!Like the Golden Helmet it would be a 'german only' competition.Unfortunately the first meeting was cancelled due to heavy rain.

The next meeting with a Germany v Denmark v England challenge was also badly affected by rain.Luckily after a heavy shower at the start the rain held off,but only around 3,000 braved the weather.Strange looking at the meeting now,but Germany didn't go with their best riders as Franz Heck and Arnold Stölting rode in a match race challenge,which ended quickly when Stölting fell and injured his leg and had to pull out of the meeting.Heck went on to win a scratch race final ahead of Jack Wood and again Herbert Drews was impressing reaching two finals in the meeting.

Germany v 'England' v Denmark (points were 4-3-2-1)

Ht 1 F.Niss ,N.Kelly,K.Litchfield,O.Heinrichs 5-5

Ht 2 W.Rice,J.Broughton,J.Wunder,H.Krons 8-12

Ht 3 K.Andersen,K.Litchfield,J.Rasmussen,N.Kelly  8-16-6

Ht 4 T.Claussen,H.Krons,J.Wunder,H.Jensen 13-16-11

Ht 5 K.Andersen,J.Rasmussen,J.Broughton,W.Rice 13-19-18

Ht 6 F.Niss,T.Claussen,H.Jensen,O.Heinrichs 18-19-23

Ht 7 H.Krons,J.Rasmussen,K.Andersen,J.Wunder 23-19-28

Ht 8 T.Claussen,K.Litchfield,H.Jensen,N.Kelly 23-23-34

Ht 9 F.Niss,J.Broughton,O.Heinrichs,W.Rice 29-27-34

Otto Heinrichs wasn't fit and Wunder not in best form,but it was thought if Heck and Stölting had been in the team a win was more than possible

 

Included the heat details as they are missing from the otherwise detailed internationalspeedway site

http://www.internationalspeedway.co.uk/ger3team.htm

Edited by iris123
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Wednesday and the race for the Golden Helmet was watched by another healthy crowd of 20,000!!!The top 4 riders were clearly a bit ahead of the rest,it was more a question of which one would win this week.Johannes Wunder was trying out a new cornering technique and had some success.He won his quali as did Heck,but Johannes had his hands full keeping Niss behind him in the final and couldn't trouble Franz Heck on his way to the 5 points.Otto Heinrichs finished 4th,so.....Niss 33,Heinrichs 26,Wunder 22,Heck 20,Plambeck 10,Strachwitz 9,Stölting 8,was how it now looked

A minor sensation happened in the B class for german riders,as after a number of meetings where he so often fell off,Bill Kellner finally won a final!!!A taste of things to come........In the A class for foreign riders a newcomer from England made a sensational start.Clem Beckett won his heat in great style earning loud applause from the crowd.Unfortuntaely for him and the fans,he was carrying an injury that made it difficult for him to compete further.Ned Kelly won a hard fought heat just finishing ahead of Thorkild Claussen

Johannes Wunders new technique did bring him the win in the main handicap final ahead of the Dane Rasmussen and Herbert Drews

This time the Friday meeting with its new event could go ahead and seemed to have done what was hoped and attracted a record crowd(for a Friday)with around 18,000 turning up to see the race for the new Douglas bike.The meeting started with a match race challenge between Ned Kelly and Thorkild Claussen ,the first heat of which was described as the best so far this season.Both very evenly matched racing hard against each other.Claussen won 2-0,the second heat far easier than the first.Stewie St.George won the final for foreign riders ahead of English riders Arnold Moore and Jack Wood.And for the second meeting in a row,Bill Kellner won the B class final.He showed his improvement by also qualifying along with Herbert Drews for the handicap final,but it was the Berliner Heck who beat Claussen to the chequered flag followed by Drews and kellner

In the big final Johannes Wunder kept up his good form,taking revenge on Fritz Niss,who beat him in the quali.Wunder was ut in front from the start and no matter what Niss tried he couldn't get to him.Arnold Stölting was third ahead of Otto Heinrichs

The sunday meeting featured a match race challenge between Franz Heck and Arnold Moore Watched by 10,000+ the Berliner won the first heat in a great time,just outside the national record with 76.2.The second was far closer with Moore leading all the way in a tough race until Heck made a pass on the last bend to take the match 2-0 just 0.1  second ahead of Moore!!

 Kellner couldn't manage 3 on the trot in the B class as ever improving Herbert Drews beat him into 2nd place.Wunder again managed a good win in the handicap final,although he had a bit of luck that Walter Hulls bike played up whilst leading and Heck also had bike trouble,so onl Arnold Moore could give Johannes a scare in finishing second.

A couple of days later it was announced that for the next meeting the best dirt track rider in the world was coming to Hamburg.Sprouts Elder!!!Not only that,but track favourite Ginger Lees was making his return from Denmark, having re-taken the track record in Copenhagen.Joining him would be another favourite in Niels Sorensen!!!!

 

 

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The second of October wasn't a great day for most of the population of Hamburg.Typical rainy Autumn weather affected the track,but still around 40,000(estimates from different sources range from 30,000-45,000) made their way to Lokstedt to see the worlds best Dirt Track rider,Sprouts Elder take on some of the local favourites.Elder had apparently been suspended by the ACU for failing to fulfil bookings!!!!Reading elsewhere,Elder could at the time command around 100 pounds per meeting and on a Bank Holiday could manage 3 in a day!!!It seems to cover the cost,admission prices were specially raised.Obviously the price hike didn't deter the fans,but it did cause some discussion later in the season when Elder had gone,but the prices stayed the same and not lowered to the previous level.......

Luckily the weather did clear up and though a bit later than scheduled the meeting could start.Elder had been out on track having a few practice laps and checking out his Harley,that was loaned from Hamburg rider Max Plambeck.The opener was a match race against returning hero,Ginger Lees.The first heat and Lees was out in front and Elder was struggling to get his bike going and Ginger was lengthening his lead over the first lap.Then the track caught him out and he almost fell,went a couple of feet onto the grass and Elder came past and went on to win.The next heat Ginger did what he often did to opponents and let Elder ride the bend wide and cut inside to take the lead.Again he was in front for the first lap,but then Elder was showing amazing skill to cope with a heavy track and through the meeting gave the impression he was almost playing with his opponents,and won the match 2-0!!!

He also won his next two heats fairly easily as Lees wasn't in this 'English'-Danish competition,beating Walter Hull and Niels Sorensen among others.

In the race for the Golden Helmet,Franz Heck was surprisingly knocked out in the quali heat,so the final ended up as a hard fought battle between Niss and Wunder which Johannes won to take 2nd place in the points table.Stölting was 3rd and Strachwitz also managed a point,so the table now stood:Niss 36,Wunder 27,Heinrichs 26,Heck 20,Plambeck,Stölting + Strachwitz 10  

The international final had 3 quali heats,one for 'english' riders,one for Danish and one for German.Elder again came up against Lees and Walter Hull and again beat them.In the final Lees gave Elder a tough race,buzzing away at his back wheel,but couldn't find a way past and slowly but surely Elder stretched his lead and finished comfortably in front.Lees was a good distance ahead of the following Danes,Walter Ryle and Niels Sorensen and at the back were the two German qualifiers,Niss and Wunder

What makes me go more towards a higher attendance figure than 30,000 was what happened after the meeting.The track at the time was only served by one bus route and a tram route and although there were extra services for big meetings,after this meeting when the crowd filed out at around 23:00 it was reported that bad temper,small scuffles etc occured as the crowd couldn't get away from the area very easliy .As nothing of this sort had happened before I think the crowd must have been in the 35-40,000 range

What could be better than a rematch?It was announced that Elder would be appearing at the next meeting on the friday

Edited by iris123
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