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Memories of Hackney Speedway

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Without doubt, one of the finest race tracks in British speedway.

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2 hours ago, tmc said:

Without doubt, one of the finest race tracks in British speedway.

Super DVD...have it in my collection!

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18 hours ago, tmc said:

Without doubt, one of the finest race tracks in British speedway.

And one of the most dangerous. My memories of the Wick are tinged with sadness. Some great racing yes, but also some horrific crashes that will stay with me forever. 

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On 4/1/2019 at 7:04 PM, tmc said:

We invite you to view the trailer for our Memories of Hackney DVD here:

Only £16 (post-free in UK) from us at https://www.retro-speedway.com/homepage

HACKNEY DVD JACKET_small.jpg

Any chance, Tony, releasing a DVD on White City and Oxford?

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Posted (edited)
On ‎4‎/‎2‎/‎2019 at 1:30 PM, cityrebel said:

And one of the most dangerous. My memories of the Wick are tinged with sadness. Some great racing yes, but also some horrific crashes that will stay with me forever. 

Fair comment. It was really too fast for its size (345 yards), which increased the risks and became more evident once four-valvers came in (1975 on).

Also, in Len Silver's latter years, when his interest in Hackney was clearly waning, the track was nowhere near as consistently immaculate as it had been in previous seasons. Riders complained of an adverse camber developing on the turns, where they would reach a point (about three-quarters from the line) of no return. This discouraged high-risk overtaking and the type of thrilling round-the-boards exploits that were the trademark of Barry Thomas and Dave Morton in their heyday.

But at the same time, because all the dirt progressively moved to the outside (where no-one really wanted to venture), and less attention was given to track preparation, racing became less exciting and more processional.
 

Edited by tmc

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7 hours ago, steve roberts said:

Any chance, Tony, releasing a DVD on White City and Oxford?

We've been asked this question more than a few times on various media platforms. We certainly have the footage but I have serious doubts that demand will be there in sufficient numbers to make production worthwhile.

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1 minute ago, tmc said:

We've been asked this question more than a few times on various media platforms. We certainly have the footage but I have serious doubts that demand will be there in sufficient numbers to make production worthwhile.

That's a shame.

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Just now, steve roberts said:

That's a shame.

I know, sorry. But never say never...

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Just now, tmc said:

I know, sorry. But never say never...

I obviously have a biased opinion but with Cowley's longevity as a speedway venue I would hope that there maybe some interest?

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45 minutes ago, tmc said:

Fair comment. It was really too fast for its size (365 yards, from memory), which increased the risks and became more evident once four-valvers came in (1975 on).

Also, in Len Silver's latter years, when his interest in Hackney was clearly waning, the track was nowhere near as consistently immaculate as it had been in previous seasons. Riders complained of an adverse camber developing on the turns, where they would reach a point (about three-quarters from the line) of no return. This discouraged high-risk overtaking and the type of thrilling round-the-boards exploits that were the trademark of Barry Thomas and Dave Morton in their heyday.

But at the same time, because all the dirt progressively moved to the outside (where no-one really wanted to venture), and less attention was given to track preparation, racing became less exciting and more processional.
 

A very fair and accurate response to my post. It would have been easy to reply wearing rose tinted glasses. The racing was far better in the Len Silver era, it was never the same when Crayford moved in there. The season as the London Lions were a disaster. £10 admission for poor viewing and a poor track. A sad end to a once great venue.

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Many of the tracks in my golden era of speedway were dangerous. Many tracks like Hackney, had lamp posts with the lights hanging over the track. Yes Hackney's track was perhaps a bit too fast especially when the 4 valves came in.

But we all know the riders new the risk they were taking way back then and indeed still do in today’s modern era of speedway, although of course still extremely dangerous safety has become paramount in modern day speedway.

Probably the safest track in the land at the time was London rivals Wimbledon. The catch fence [which of course was used in modern day Rye House under the reign of Uncle Len] had no posts and if a rider was unlucky enough to fly through the fence there were no nasty surprises.

Even the fantastic old Hyde Road track at Belle Vue wasn’t without danger. It had manhole covers on or near the track and Peter Collins famously rode in the 1977 World Final in Sweden with a bad leg injury after the manhole cover was dislodged and clouted PC in the leg.

Yes in post war Hackney there were fatalities at The Wick and one pre-war with Dusty Haigh.

Two certainly post war were as a result of the lamp posts, one wasn’t. I’m not sure on young Alan Clegg.   

These guys paid the ultimate price for entertaining me and many thousands of other speedway fans at Waterden Road.

The Len Silver era had top quality riders from around the world and racing was excellent. I have to say the Russell/Pavitt era had very good racing to. Scofield, Galvin and of course Thommo were brilliant when they missed the gate coming from the back. Going back to the sixties and seventies so were Banger, Middleton, Plechy, Thommo [that man again] Lord Morton of Hackney and numerous others, but the track was different and had far more dirt than in later years.    

In 1996 I’m so pleased they were called London as the track and viewing was awful and they didn’t use the name Hackney, because Hackney was a brilliant race track despite its danger and produced far better racing than any other track in the country.   

 

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Was chatting to former owner Terry Russell at the Swindon Dinner Dance last year, local east ender, Ackney fan then owner, and Leyton Orient fan. Went a few times in mid 60s after New Cross closed. My first match was in 1963 New Cross v Ackney.

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Posted (edited)

Tommy Jansson breaking the Hackney track record on my first visit at the 1976 Superama is still my first clear memory of Waterden Road.

As my elder brother when he started to go speedway was a Hawk supporter there was always much fun to be have when Wimbledon and hackney raced against each other. 

Edited by Robbie B
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I have to admit I had a very odd relationship with Hackney. I was born and brought up in Hackney and, until I moved away in 1965, the track was about a 20 minute walk from my home across the Marshes. So, for the first three years of its Post-War existence I was a regular there every week. However, I never actually supported the team. The reason for this was that I was already a New Cross supporter and so, when Hackney opened in 1963, they became the local Provincial League adversary. New Cross, of course, closed in 1963, but then in 1964, West Ham opened, so I transferred my allegiance to them, not being able to bring myself to support the "enemy". Towards the end of 1965, I moved away and Hackney and West Ham became fairly equidistant to my new home, so that made things a bit better and more acceptable in my own mind to be a West Ham supporter. For many years, until West Ham closed, I still visited both tracks on a fairly regular weekly basis.

However, I have always felt a bit uncomfortable in not supporting Hackney as, in every other regard, I always have, and still do, regard myself as a "Hackney boy" and have always been very proud of it and, in many ways, still regard it as my real home. I contribute to a number of Hackney Facebook pages and, of course, my best-selling book, Pie 'n' Mash & Prefabs, is all about Hackney in the 1950s and 60s.

There! I've made my full confession at last. It's good to finally get it all off my chest!

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