What happened….

How hard is this blogging thing ?  Life really interferes with the best laid plans…

The East Coat speedway season starts again in New York this Memorial Day weekend and I will not be present because work is sucking the life force out of me.  As well as being the end of the fiscal year, HR introduced a new annual reporting system that has caused no end of ass ache for a lot of people and left me dealing with 3 pissed  off direct reports who are unhappy with what the results are for them…. So, I must spend the weekend preparing for 3 annual reviews and forget about going to New York to watch some speedway.  Shit.

Oh yeah where was I ?  Oh yeah, lack of posts.  I don’t think a speedway blog by someone who only gets to a few meetings a year is really working,  do you agree?  I want to write if only to release some energy but I reckon a speedway blog is not the outlet.   I think I would be better off as a contributor, oh yeah I am a contributor already, to this blog, so on second thoughts, an occasional contributor.  If I was watching speedway, week in week out, I may have something relevant to say.  The retro speedway nostalgia market is already covered.   I want to be the American Jeff Scott but it ain’t happening, not unless I move to the West Coast.  Hi Jeff !

So until the urge strikes me, this will be the last post until I go to another NY speedway meeting.   If you want to reach me directly – use the link on the blog to send me an email or leave a comment.  And thanks to those of you who took time out to read this and comment.  I really do appreciate your kind words.  Cheers.

And lastly, to Jason in New York,  good luck with Watkins Glen.  I can’t wait to see the new track.  And when I do, I should blog about it right ?


This Day in (my) Speedway History II

Part two in the series features a match on Friday September 29, 1978 between the Hackney Hawks vs Kings Lynn Stars in the Gulf Oil British League Division One.

Living in London in 1978 I had access to 4 tracks within what I would call an easy commute.  In my first post in this series,  also featuring a match from 1978,  I wrote about going to Wimbledon.  From where I lived in West London,  I could get to White City Stadium home of the Rebels, located in Shepherds Bush,  by foot.  I made it to one meeting not knowing that 1978 was to be the last year of their existence, as the franchise moved to Oxford for the 1979 season.  It was also pretty easy to get to Rye House in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire  to watch the Rockets on a Sunday afternoon (via Tube and Train).  And lastly I could easily get to Hackney Stadium in East London.   I could take one bus (the #38) from my flat all the way across London to the bus terminus which was within 500 yards of the gates of the stadium.  That was some bus journey, through the glitzy shopping streets of the west end,  through the City of London home to the wealth of the UK financial sector and then into what was then and may still be, the poorest district(s) of England, like Bethnal Green and Hackney.    The late bus journey home after a meeting was even more interesting what with drunks and fare dodgers and gangs of dodgy looking youths.    And yet,  I probably went to Hackney Wick Stadium more times than I ever went to Saddlebow Road, Kings Lynn, being I lived in London for 10 years. I went to Kings Lynn’s stadium from 1973 through to 1978 on a school holiday basis.  My travel to Hackney and all the other tracks was exclusively alone.  No one I mixed with socially back then were interested in speedway and as Hackney ran on a Friday night, most lads my age were more interested in going down the Pub to chat up the ladies or hang out with their mates (or more usually do both).  Continue reading

2010 US Open Series Part 1 – Action Park

When the family got back from summer vacation in 2009, I had immediately started to plan my trip to the 2009 US Open Series in NY.  But my wife came back from her first day back at work with notice of impending layoff.  Crap news on all fronts.  So paying for gas and two nights hotel to indulge in some speedway looked a little ostentatious right then.. So I missed out on the 2009 series.    It’s now 2010 and my wife is still unemployed, but we made some budget cuts here and there and decided that we could all set off to NY for the Labor Day weekend and the annual US Open series.  My wife is not a speedway fan mind you – she uses the time to relax (with a 6 yr old!).  So I headed off to Greene, solo, to catch up on proceedings of the first of the two meetings.  This year there was a nip in the air.  This summer has been brutal, with temps in the triple digits in Boston and dew-point in the mid 70’s, so as I drove up the hill towards Greene from Binghamton and watched the thermometer drop from 68f to 63f to 59f  I was glad I brought a jacket as I have been wearing nowt but t-shirts since May.  I figured that the drop in temps was bound to affect track prep, bringing the moisture to the surface, it could get very slippy out there.

I arrived later than I normally do for these events and there was a queue of  vehicles lined up waiting to sign the waiver and pay the gals at the entrance.  It certainly looked to be a bigger crowd than came in 2008.  I made my way down to the pits area as I really wanted to finally meet Josh Larsen and the legend that is ‘Flying’ Mike Faria.  Continue reading

US Open Teaser

I have been trying to get the video and photos of the US Open weekend into some sort of order to post here and in other spots and so  I really haven’t written up the reports.  So while you (all 3 of you who read this blog) wait for me to get the stuff up, here’s a picture of the winners rostrum from the Open.  From left to right :  Josh Larsen (runner-up) ;  Tommy Hedden (winner) ;  Adam Mittl (third place).   I know that the gentleman with the trophy is a famous NY speedway rider of yesteryear – but I don’t have his name written in front of me – so as soon as I get it, we can edit this post and make it look like I knew all along.

Update on possible Speedway Bikes in Boston

So someone is in negotiations at getting bikes into one of the Massachusetts greyhound tracks and is interested in having speedway bikes as part of the show. This is great news!

This Day in (my) Speedway History

I had wanted to do this back in March… in line with the start of the British season but here we are in September.  So September it is.  I want to try to see if I can pull a programme from a meeting I attended over the years, that matches this day of the blog. So here’s my first edition  a meeting from the 14 September 1978.

For much of the 1978 season the Wimbledon Dons were up near the top of the Gulf Oil British League challenging for the title.  At home they racked up big scores, scoring over 50 points 5 times including a 61-17 demolition of Birmingham and the team was solid from one to seven with Larry Ross at #1 averaging  9.45 and Colin Richardson (father of current British Elite League star Lee Richardson)  at #7 averaging 6.46.  The week before this meeting, Wimbledon’s title hopes ended with a shocking home defeat by the struggling Wolverhampton Wolves (who finished 17th out of 19 teams).  The 1978 Kings Lynn Stars were primed for a great league season and after storming through to the final of the Spring Gold Cup – losing to (American)  Scott Autrey’s Exeter – they then went through a period of gaining only 3 league points from 15 league meetings and ended up finishing 13th in the League having been a pre-season favourite to win the title.   A massive let down of a season for a team featuring Terry Betts and Michael Lee.   Kings Lynn is my team (to this day) and during the late 70’s and 80’s I made sure to that I saw every ‘Stars’ meeting in the capital and cities and towns close by and accessible by the train schedule. Continue reading

Anyone want to start running bikes in Boston ?

In 2008 the voters of Massachusetts voted in a ballot question, to ban Greyhound racing in the Commonwealth by the end of 2009.   The Wonderland Greyhound Track in Revere,  Boston ceased all operations in August 2010.

A View from the grandstandEach week I play the lottery in the hope I can win more money than god, so I can go to the current track owners and Revere city council and tell them I want to run speedway bikes,  quads, sprint cars, you name it at the track.   Employ a lot of local people and bring some additional bike racing options into the greater Boston area.  Then I watch the lottery numbers come up on TV, go to bed  and  get up the next morning and go back to work.
However, the thought of doing this is nagging me.  This track, this stadium would be perfect.  It’s situated in a non residential (light industry) area.  The MBTA subway station coincidentally named ‘Wonderland’  (on the blue line from downtown Boston) is a skip away from the entrance gates.   The stadium was opened in 1935 and  has a history of running sprint cars in the past. Continue reading