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iris123

Hamburg Lokstedt Dirt Track

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Another wet Autumn day saw 15,000 turn up to see Ginger Lees try and take revenge on Sprouts Elder and yet again he gained the lead in the first heat.But yet again by the 2nd lap Elder passed Lees and never looked back,winning on a wet track by quite a length.As the meeting progressed the rain got heavier though.In the 2nd heat Elder was way out in front when he fell and left Lees to take the heat and level the match.Lees time of 93.7 compared to Elders time in the first heat of 78.8 shows the difference!!The tie break turned out t be a bit of a farce as both riders bikes played up and the crowd ended up laughing as Elder poodled over the line to take the win!!

The 3 lap race for the new Douglas bike was also badly affected by the rain as 4 of the 8 riders failed to complete their race!!Fritz Niss won and almost 3.5 seconds behind him came Graf Strachwitz over the line to take 2nd.Hans Krons and Otto Heinrichs were the other 2 finishers.Heck,Kellner,Stölting and Wunder dropped out.

The international final fell victim to the weather as during the break the meeting was called off!!!The qualifying heats were run and Sprouts Elder again had problems with his bike and failed to make it to the chequered flag,leaving the  Walter's Ryle and Hull to take 1st and 2nd.In the other heat Ginger Lees beat Niels Sorensen,but that was that.And that was the last the Hamburg fans saw of Sprouts Elder until the next season

 

The next meeting featured another new idea of having 5 match races to qualify for an A and B final.The winners in one and the other for the losers. Heinrichs had a tough battle but just scraped through ahead of Stewie St.George,Walter Ryle also just managed t beat Fritz Niss,Walter Hull beat Wunder,Stölting beat Kay Andersen and in a big surprise Franz Heck beat Niels Sorensen,who went on to win the B final.In the final for the winners the crowd saw the first dead heat at Lokstedt!!!Otto Heinrichs and Franz Heck going over the line shoulder to shoulder.Herbert Drews won the two handicap finals of the night

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Winter time,and time to carry on with my little:P history of the Lokstedt track

The planned meeting for the 9th October was cancelled due to the rain sticking around.In fact 2 days later the weather wasn't much better and only 3,500 turned up.The weather must have had some effect,but also the fact that they had kept the price of entry at the level when Sprouts Elder was racing,even though he was no longer present

With Elder gone,Lees was unchallenged again as the best rider around the Lokstedt track and won the A rider final easily

In the new Hamburger 'Wheel' event the races were held over 2 laps and favoured the good starters.Drews and Bill Kellner won the qualifying heats and with another good start in the final,Kellner won fairly comfortably from Stölting,Heck and Drews and had 5 pts towards the title

The next meeting was a big improvement on the previous on,even though the high prices remained,there was at least the appearance of the Preston team from England as an attraction!!The meeting started with what seems a new idea of the riders parading around the track on their bikes.The Danes,led by Niels Sorensen,then the English with Lees and Burrill leading them,then last but not least the germans led by Niss.

Drews,listed as being from Danzig had a challenge against the Count Strachwitz which he won.The Counts style of riding the track wide was stated as being a constant problem for him and wondered if he might learn something from watching the Preston team.Lees won his A Final from Ham Burrill and Jack Chiswell.There was a great race between Burrill and his team mate Claude Rye until Rye's bike packed up.In the other final Joe Abbott,who was the best  Preston rider on show,won with his exciting style ahead of Frank Chiswell,Len Myerscough wh were well ahead of the others(Sorensen,Drews and Kellner).The main handicap final of the night turned out to be a disappointment as the awaited meeting between Lees and Abbott ended just as it was warming up.The two riders were battling it out,when Abbott got a puncture before the first lap had ended.Despite that,Lees couldn't make up the 2 second advantage held by Sorensen and so had to settle for 2nd

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The 16th October saw another big crowd(est 20,000!!,double the previous meeting) turn up and were rewarded with a super meeting.The Golden Helmet races also doubled as qualifiers for German entry into a Grand Prix competition.Drews thrilled the crowd in the final with a last gasp sweep past Fritz Niss on the final bend to take the 5 points,with Kellner 3rd and Heck falling.The Danish qualifier for the Grand Prix was won by Niels Sorensen followed by Andersen and Ryle.With the Preston team staying in Hamburg there were two English GP qualifiers.The first was of course yet another win for Ginger with a decent time of 76.7 ahead of Claude Rye and ham Burrill.Surprisingly Joe Abbott was beaten in the 2nd quali by Len Myerscough and Frank Chiswell 3rd.A couple of handicap races saw Lees again win,but two of his main rivals had trouble.Myerscough's bike played up and Frank Chiswell had a poor start.The 2nd saw Abbott finish a poor 4th as he couldn't come to terms with his handicap.The heat was won by the Dane,Andersen in front of Jimmy Stevens and Herbert Drews.The main handicap final was also somewhat a let down as the awaited Lees-Abbott clash didn't happen because Ginger failed to qualify.Werner Schauer won with a super race in front of Abbott,Sörensen,Werner,Plambeck and Andersen

 

The next meeting on the 20th saw another great crowd turn up in Lokstedt.It is estimated between 20-25,000 turned up,and this after 20,000 had attended a Germany v Finland football match nearby.Busses were on hand to shuttle any football fans that wanted to attend the Dirt Track meeting.The next round of qualification heats for the GP were this time mixed,rather than national.In the first Joe Abbott won and qualified for the next round fairly confortably.One reason was Frank Chiswell had to sit the race out with an injury.The germans Stölting and Heck also qualified.The 2nd heat saw Lees win with ease,but a big surprise was Bill Kellners 2nd place ahead of such riders as Claude Rye and Fritz Niss.who went out of the competition as Andersen managed to finish 3rd.The last heat saw a thrilling race between Myerscough and Burrill racing shoulder to shoulder.Adding to the thrills was a fall by Count Strachwitz when in the lead and also Drews falling which meant Niels Sorensen made the vital 3rd place

Again the Hamburger Rad heat also had Kellner as the surprise winner over 4 laps,this time.The more fancied riders had problems.Heinrichs fell on the 1st la and then Hecks bike played up Fritz Niss finished way behind Kellner.Johannes Wunder had been away in Denmark for the last few meetings.In a consolation race for those who hadn't qualified for the next GP round,Herbert Drews showed his improving form and won ahead of decent English riders like Jack Chiswell and Claude Rye.The clash between Lees and Abbott in the main handicap final failed to materialise yet again.This time Joe didn't get through his round,but the race turned out to be a thrilling battle between Ginger and Max Plambeck.One overtaking the other,but the inevitable happened and Lees crossed the finish line ahead.Jack Chiswell 3rd and Niss 4th   

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23rd of October and the next meeting at Lokstedt.It would go down as the last big night of the season.It would go down as the last night before the world changed with the Wall Street crash on black Thursday.Germany,already unstable would see an acceleration into mass unemployment and the rise of the  Nazis

The evening saw the climax of the Grand Prix.In the first of the quali heats Burrill had bike problems while in a qualifying spot and so Arnold Stölting passed to join Len Myerscough in the final.Stölting ended as the oly german in the final as Bill Kellner made a quick start,thought the heat would be restarted and slowed,just as everyone else got going and left him for dead...In the final Joe Abbott had problems,so yet again the Lees-Abbott clash failed to materialise.So,it was only Myerscough who could mount any sort of challenge to Ginger,but it wasn't to be and the most consistent,probably most ppular rider of the season won out in the end and was greeted t a loud round of applause on his lap of honour!!

There was also a 3 team international Germany v England v Denmark with 6 rider heats and a 7-5-4-3-2-1 scoring system

 Ht1:Sörensen,Andersen,Niss,Strachwitz,Ryle,Drews(fell) 

 Ht2:Abbott,Sörensen,Chiswell,Rye,Andersen,Ryle

Ht3:Abbott,Chiswell,Stölting,Niss,Rye,Strachwitz

Stölting came in as reserve for the injured Drews in Ht 3

and so it ended

England 28(Abbott 14,Chiswell 9,Rye 5)

Denmark 22(Sorensen 12,Andersen 7,Ryle 3)

Germany 15 (Niss 7,Strachwitz 4,Stölting 4,Drews 0)

The final of the Golden Helmet had an unusual look to it.Fritz Niss didn't make it through his heat.Johannes Wunder was out injured and Heinrichs and Heck were totally out of form and so it ended up a close hard race between Drews and Stölting,which Drews won,Werner Schauer came in 3rd as Strachwitz could only poodle round as his bike was playing up.

The usual Handicap final was yet again won by Ginger Lees.In his quali heat he could make up the handicap of 1 second on Len Myerscough,but got the better of him when it counted.The ever awaited clash between Lees and Abbott was again an anti-climax as Abbotts bike as ever had problems.In the press it was questioned as to how every time Abbott was supposed to clash with Ginger his bike played up.In every other heat such as the evenings International 3 tt,he rode without trouble.....

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These recallections of the track in Hamburg are fascinating. I also see that the Chiswell brothers are mentioned. Jack Chiswell is generally credited as being a co-founder when a track was laid at Rye House in the early 1930s. His brother Frank quit speedway about 1935 and turned his attention with some success to midget car racing.

Edited by gustix
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Looking at the names of the British riders involved in these meetings, I seem to recall that several of them were members of the Preston team which operated in the long defunct Northern League circa 1929-30. On that basis, was there a possible link between Preston and Lokstedt?

Edited by gustix

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As stated in the January 6 post,the Preston team came over to race for a short period after their UK season was over

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8 minutes ago, gustix said:

Looking at the names of the British riders involved in these meetings, I seem to recall that several of them were members of the Preston team which operated in the long defunct Northern League circa 1929-30. On that basis, was there a possible link between Preston and Lokstedt?

 

4 minutes ago, iris123 said:

As stated in the January 6 post,the Preston team came over to race for a short period after their UK season was over

Thanks for the clarification. This an intriguing thread and I like seeing the names of riders I actually saw racing in the immediate post-war seasons like Joe Abbott and Wally Hull mentioned. I saw Abbott as a Harringay and Bradford rider and Hull as a member of the great post-war Belle Vue team.

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Thanks.Later in the thread I might get round to the time Fay Taylour rode at Lokstedt.And in my next post there is a visit from a rider who had a motorbike shop in Stockwell

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31 minutes ago, iris123 said:

Thanks.Later in the thread I might get round to the time Fay Taylour rode at Lokstedt.And in my next post there is a visit from a rider who had a motorbike shop in Stockwell

Intriguing comment. It cannot be Frank Lawrence - he was not racing at that time. That leaves two possible candidates - Gus Kuhn or Keith Harvey. My guess is that it was Kuhn! And as usual I will probably be proved wrong!

Edited by gustix

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On 1/17/2019 at 8:38 PM, iris123 said:

Thanks.Later in the thread I might get round to the time Fay Taylour rode at Lokstedt.And in my next post there is a visit from a rider who had a motorbike shop in Stockwell

I am looking forward very much to this update. Aside from her activities outside speedway Fay Taylour is always an interesting personality speedway-wise. And I am also interested in learning the identity of 'the rider with Stockwell links.'

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As mentioned elsewhere the 24th was a significant day,not only because of the Wall St Crash,but because another German dirt Track Opened in Cologne.It was stated in the British press that the Stratton Troupe were heading for Hamburg and Cologne,but I can't see any evidence that those that rode in the few Cologne meetings ever made it to Lokstedt

The next meeting on the 27th saw the qualifying heats for the first German Championships and also saw the last of Ginger Lees for 1929!!Due to the poor weather that would hamper the rest of the season in both Hamburg and Cologne,a poor crowd of 4-5,000 turned up.The favourites,Niss,Stölting,Drews and Kellner all won their heats to qualify for the semi finals along with Schauer(who had a tough fight to beat Strachwitz),Heck,Werner and Steenholt who all came in 2nd in their heats

The last round of the Hamburger Wheel to win the brand new Dirt Track bike was won controversially by Bill Kellner.Seems he was given a warning for unfair riding,having cut the first bend very sharp,but still ended up the winner,ahead of Niss,Drews and Stölting

Another new rider turned up from the UK,Middlesborough rider,Jack 'Broncho' Dixon.In the press it was questioned as to whether the 'broncho' nickname had anything to do with bronchitis!!Who said germans don't have a sense of humour?In the final for the foreign riders Dixon showed what a rider he was by having a very close battle with Niels Sorensen,just losing out at the end.Lees bike packed up in his heat and didn't make the final.And in the main handicap competition,the situation was reversed and Dixons bike had problems in the quali.Lees in his last race,could only finish 3rd!!!The British press a couple of days later stated Ginger was awarded the State medal of Altona,the equivalent of freedom of the city,due to his popularity and on his return home,Bury and District MC held a charity dinner in his honour!!!

The poor continued and the meeting scheduled for the 30th October was cancelled,as were the next 2 staging dates,so the meeting was eventually held on 06.11.1929.Whereas Ginger Lees had gone back home,Dixon had stayed around and was joined by another two arrivals from Britain,namely Gus Kuhn,captain of Stamford Bridge and his team mate Colin Ford. Gus won the competition for the foreign riders ahead of Dixon and Sorensen with Ford having bike problems.Dixon also had a best of 3 match race against Sörensen,which he lost in the deciding 3rd heat,all in very quick times.

The battle for the German Championship continued,with the next round of heats.Heck + Niss as expected got through their heat untroubled.The surprise came in the other heat when Drews fell whilst in the lead and so Kellner and Werner made it to the race offs.Heck beat Niss in the first and Kellner was untroubled in beating Werner to qualify for the final of the first ever German Championship.Drews had slight compensation in continuing his run to with the last Golden Helmet final,but second placed Niss was certain of the title with a total of 42 pts followed by Wunder on 27 and Heinrichs with 26 pts.The main handicap final was won by Stamford Bridge rider,Colin Ford

It was announced that the next meeting for the German Championship would be the last for 1929,and not everyone was pleased with that!!!! 

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10th November and the final meeting of the first season at Lokstedt

Considering the season started at the beginning of July it today seems incredible they managed 44 meetings and a number of other dates being cancelled!!

Sadly the weather in the last few weeks wasn't good and the crowds dropped off.Only 3,000 or so were interested enough to turn up to see the climax of the first German Championship.Apparently while Germany was struggling, as was shown with the very short season in Cologne as well,Copenhagen was seeing sell out crowds.The match race for the Champonship between the local matador Kellner and Heck from Berlin went to a deciding 3rd heat after first Heck,then Kellner won.Unfortunately Kellner had to borrow a bike for the decider,as his Douglas played up before the start.Heck shot off and although Kellner made a last gasp effort round the bend to the finish line it wasn't enough and Heck was crowned the German Dirt Track Champion of 1929.Fritz Niss beat Werner in the race for 3rd.

That was 1929.The season when Dirt Track came to Germany,looked to have taken a big step with a purpose built stadium and Cologne had joined Hamburg,with news of other tracks being prepared.But it wasn't long before rumours of trouble ahead were being spread around  Hamburg !!!

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