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  1. BL65

    Swindon 1958

    The programme for the 1st meeting on 8th April 1950 shows the record as 65.4 by Max Grosskreutz on 10th July 1948. Eddie Rigg lowered the time to 65.2 on 17th June 1950, with programmes showing Oliver Hart as the record holder with 64.4 on 8th July 1950. Although Rigg is shown on Speedway Researcher as equalling his record on 14th October 1950, the programme for the opening meeting of the following season only shows the record as being set on 8th July 1950. Norman Parker set a new record of 63.6 in that meeting on 14th April 1951. There was a comment in the programme the following week about the Parker time beating Hart's 9 month old record. My programme for the meeting on 8th September 1951 shows that heat 5 was won by Eddie Rigg in a time of 65.4, not 62.4 as shown on Speedway Researcher. Programmes for subsequent meetings in 1951 and up until 28th June 1952 continued to show Parker as the track record holder. Arthur Wright then set a new record of 63.2 on that date and this was the time shown in the following week's programme. Ronnie Moore set a record of 60.4 in the match race against Alan Hunt on 18th July 1953, despite feeling unwell and saying afterwards that he eased off a bit on the last two laps. Several riders present queried the time but the timekeeper was adamant it was correct. All of the foregoing records were set on a track measuring 370 yards. In the programme for the meeting on 28th May 1955 it was stated: "Permission was received from the Control Board last week for the track to be re-measured due to alterations to the ground. This has been done. The lap distance was found to be 376 yards. That means an extra 24 yards for each 4-lap heat. It also means that a new track record is required. The fastest time tonight will decide it." On 28th May 1955 Eddie Rigg set a time of 65.8 in heat 1. Keith Milner equalled this time in heat 1 of the meeting on 4th June 1955, before Arthur Wright reduced the record to 65.0 in heat 2 of the same match. My programme and Speedway Researcher both show that Wright equalled his own record in heat 1 of the meeting on 17th September 1955, ironically beating Ronnie Moore in the process, before setting a new record of 64.6 in heat 6. For some reason the programmes for subsequent meetings continued to show the old record of 65.0 until 2nd June 1956, when the time of 64.6 was finally acknowledged as the record. That was how the record referred to in my earlier post came to replace the miraculous Ronnie Moore time set on a slightly smaller track.
  2. BL65

    Exeter 1965

    Regarding the sequence of records at Exeter in 1965, in the meeting where Plechanov set a new record his team partner Yuri Chekranov had set a fastest time of the season of 72.2 in the first heat. Plechanov and Chekranov were a formidable pairing in the mid-1960s, I saw them amaze the Wolverhampton crowd in the third England-'Russia' test in 1966 by storming to a 5-1 over Nigel Boocock and Brian Brett in heat 1 in a fast time. The pair rode side by side for much of the race and went on to score 22 paid 26 between them in their six races together (Plechanov 13+2, Chekranov 9+2). It was a fine performance taking into account the difficulty the tight bends caused many first time visitors to Monmore Green. Nigel Boocock always performed exceptionally well at Wolverhampton and Brett had won the Champion of Champions Trophy there at the end of 1965 with an impeccable 15 point maximum, one point ahead of Ivan Mauger.
  3. BL65

    Oxford 63-73

    Peter Craven set the record when the track measured 354 yards. I believe there were minor alterations made for 1973, with the length reduced to 350 yards.
  4. BL65

    Edinburgh 1966

    Bengt Jansson did set a record of 64.6 in the second half on 9th April 1966 and the programme for the meeting on 16th April confirmed this.
  5. BL65

    Exeter 1965

    Hubert Hoskin and Gordon Allan were both nicknamed Goog. Apparently 'down under' goog is an egg.
  6. BL65

    Exeter 1965

    Thanks Bob (and Compost), glad to be able to help.
  7. BL65

    Exeter 1965

    I should point out that as Exeter were replacing previous records with a British League record the first record holder of 1965 would have been the winner of heat 1 in the opening meeting, being Colin Gooddy with 75.8. Biggs lowered this time two heats later.
  8. BL65

    Exeter 1965

    Sadly, the meeting turned sour for Goog. After setting the record time in his first ride, he fell and was excluded from his second ride, then being unable to continue in the match.
  9. BL65

    Exeter 1965

    The track record at Exeter was 72.0 set by Goog Hoskin on 7th September 1953, equalled by Barry Briggs on 18th April 1958. The Provincial League track record throughout 1962, as recorded in meeting programmes, was 73.4 by Jack Scott on 19th June 1961. Len Silver's time in heat 4 on 2nd July 1962 was 77.4, not 72.4 as shown on the Speedway Researcher website (72.4 would have been 5 seconds faster than the next best time in that meeting!) Ross Gilbertson set a new PL record of 73.0 on 9th September 1963. In 1965 Exeter decided that a new British League record would be established and the first one shown in the programme was 75.2 by Jack Biggs on 12th April 1965. This was beaten by Goog Allan with 75.0 on 27th April 1965, with this time equalled by Jimmy Squibb on 3rd May. However, Colin Gooddy recorded 74.8 then 74.2 in the same meeting on 3rd May 1965. Reg Luckhurst reduced this to 73.2 on 10th May 1965 (he did not equal a previous record). Trevor Hedge lowered the BL record further on 14th June 1965 to 72.8, which also bettered Gilbertson's PL record time. An incredible ride by Igor Plechanov on 12th July 1965 set an all time record of 71.4.
  10. BL65

    Swindon 1958

    Wimbledon were National League champions in 1954, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1959, 1960 and 1961. Swindon won the title in 1957, with Wimbledon third behind Belle Vue. The big difference for Wimbledon in 1957 was the absence of Ronnie Moore. He returned in 1958 and normal service was resumed. Peter Moore also left Wimbledon on loan to Ipswich in 1957 and although Split Waterman was brought in he was released halfway through the season after a reported difference of opinion with the management. The Swindon team had won the league in 1957 by having a very solid team, with no real weak links. In 1958 Ken Middleditch had retired, then Bob Roger suffered a season-ending head injury early on, with the team generally below par compared with the year before.
  11. BL65

    Swindon 1958

    Yes, that accurately sums it up. The record of 70.4 for Belle Vue set by Peter Craven in May 1954 was still published as the record throughout 1956. 3 times shown on the Speedway Researcher website as having been recorded by other riders on 10th July 1954 are suspect as they were not counted as equalling or beating Craven's record. At Bradford, Arthur Wright's record time of 64.6 from September 1955 was retained as the record throughout the 1956 season. Olle Nygren's 1951 time of 70.0 at Poole was still shown as the record after the new tyre was introduced, with the joint holder being Jack Biggs, using the new tyre, from 18th June 1956 onwards. Ken McKinlay's record of 67.6 set on 3rd September 1955 using the old tyre at Rayleigh was retained throughout the following season after the new tyre had been introduced. Likewise, Southampton stuck with the record set by Ronnie Moore in 1955 and Wembley retained Split Waterman's 68.4 from August 1953, although in 1956 the fastest time of the season was also included in the programme.
  12. BL65

    Swindon 1958

    The Birmingham track record of 69.6 established by Alan Hunt, Dan Forsberg and Split Waterman on the old tyre was never beaten and remained in the programme until final closure in 1960. No alternative record times were ever shown in the programmes. Coventry programmes continued to show the record of 66.4 set by Ken McKinlay on 22nd September 1954, with the 1956 programmes stating it was established using the old tyre, until a new record was set by Per Olof Söderman using the smaller tyre on 8th September 1956.
  13. BL65

    Swindon 1958

    Fred Williams held the Norwich track record from 1st August 1953 with a time of 71.0 on the bigger tyre and this was still shown in the programme in 1956, until Ove Fundin set a new record of 70.0 on 20th June 1956, using the smaller tyre. Peter Craven lowered the record to 69.8 on 28th September 1957 and this was not bettered during 1958. Ipswich programmes continued to show the track record of 71.0 set by Junior Bainbridge and Bert Edwards in 1955 throughout the next two seasons. In 1958, 1959 and early 1960 the record was omitted from the programmes, next appearing after Ove Fundin set a time of 70.0 on 23rd June 1960. Neither Norwich or Ipswich scrubbed out the old tyre records, just waited for them to be eventually beaten using the smaller tyre.
  14. BL65

    Swindon 1958

    A bit more information. The Oxford programme for 5th April 1956 stated the track record to be 65.4 by Ken Middleditch on 29th September 1955 (using the old tyre), with the fastest time of 1956 being 67.0, recorded on 30th March (Ron Swaine, Danny Malone and Ronnie Genz). Brian Crutcher then set the fastest time of 1956 with 66.6 on 3rd May. The track record was still attributed to Middleditch in the programme after the fastest time of the season was reduced to 65.8 by Ken McKinlay on 19th July. The programme for 20th June still showed Middleditch’s record time, together with Phil Clarke having the fastest time of 1957 with 66.6 on 13th June. Peter Craven recorded 66.4 on 20th June 1957, before Bob Roger managed 65.6 on 8th August 1957. The programme for 7th August 1958 did not mention Middleditch but showed the record as being 65.4 set by Peter Craven on 31st July. The Middleditch record was finally eclipsed on 14th August 1958 when Peter Craven won a match race with Ron How in 63.4.
  15. BL65

    Swindon 1958

    Nothing was ever straightforward during speedway's dark ages. In 1957, for example, some tracks did not not announce race times in a number of meetings during the season. The new 19" tyre was trialled at the beginning of 1956, with the Leicester programme on 11th May 1956 stating for the first time that the 4 lap and 3 lap records were set using the old (22") tyre. The track record of 66.8 set using the old tyre at Leicester by Len Williams on 10th July 1953 stood for a few years. Race times at the track in early 1956 were generally around 2 to 3 seconds slower than at the end of the 1955 season. The programmes continued to state that 66.8 was the track record in the 1957 and 1958 seasons. Peter Craven equalled the record of 66.8 using the new smaller tyre on 6th June 1958 and this was recorded in the programme from the following week onwards. Ken McKinlay equalled the time on 11th July 1958. The names of the three joint record holders were recorded in the programmes until 8th May 1959, when the name of Williams was left out, but then reinstated (without reference to the old tyre) on 12th June 1959. Brian Crutcher then set a new record of 66.0 on 12th June 1959. Whereas Swindon 'scrubbed out' the old larger tyre record in August 1958, Leicester had chosen to retain the record until it was eventually beaten using the newer tyre. At Wimbledon, Ronnie Moore set a record of 62.2 on the old tyre on 26th May 1952. During the early part of 1956 Moore’s 4-lap record continued to be shown in the programmes, but both the old tyre flying start lap record by Barry Briggs and the new tyre record by Ronnie Moore were included. The programme for the meeting on 6th August 1956 did not include Moore’s record, but stated that’ the fastest time recorded’ was 67.4 by Peter Moore and Peter Craven (at the meeting on 30th July 1956). Alan Hunt then lowered the ‘record’ to 66.4 on 6th August 1956. Barry Briggs became the new track record holder with 64.4 on 13th August 1956. Peter Craven lowered the record to 64.0 on 15th July 1957, then reduced it further to 63.8 on 4th April 1958. I will have a look at what information I have for the other tracks later.

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