Cradley Heath Speedway

Cradley have only had one home. Dudley Wood Sports Stadium, Dudley Wood Road, Dudley, West Midlands where they operated off and on between 1947 -1995.  This is a team that should be brought back.

Courtesy of Dan Gibbs



Chris Wallett says:  Thought you might be interested in following couple of pictures, taken this week (August 2010) of Cradley Heath or sadly the lack of it. The one shows the familiar approach down Dudley Wood Road known so well to generations of speedway fans. The small car park and turnstiles at the front have now been replaced by houses. The only evidence of speedway is the road on to the estate named after the stadium. Very sad even for a diehard Wolves fan who only ever referred to Cradley as "The Spoons". Sad to see another speedway venue lost. This one certainly will never return.
John says: Thanks Chris.  The pictures are an all too familiar sight.  That is new housing where a speedway track used to be.  Promoters need to look outside built up areas to re-launch tracks such as Cradley.  The sport needs to reinvent itself if it is ever to survive.  I am sure Cradley fans and others from urban defunct tracks will travel outside towns to watch their teams, if promoters are willing to take risks.

Courtesy of Chris Wallett

Courtesy of Chris Wallett

This is approximatley where Cradley Heath Speedway used to be.

The Dudley Heathens

Mike Willis says: Hi there. Cradley Heathens have been brought back this year,2010, after a fashion. They have a new team in the bottom tier, the National League, and are currently called Dudley Heathens,but they still don't have a home track of their own so share their home meetings between Monmore Green on a Tuesday night, and Perry Barr on a Wednesday night if Monmore is unavailable. In spite of having a very young side they look like continuing the great Heathens tradition of success by very likely finishing top of the National League, not bad for their first season. They will only be deprived of first place if their great rivals, Buxton Hit-men, beat Kings Lynn away in their final league fixture by 45 points or more-not impossible but unlikely. Ommer Um Cradley!

John says: Good luck to Cradley and I hope they come back with their own stadium soon.  Any level of speedway is worth supporting.  By the way, us that don't speak fluent black country, would like to know what,  Ommer Um Cradley! means?
Mike says: Hi John. To a non-native of the Black Country I suppose Ommer Um means nothing at all.! It was the Cradley Heathens war-cry and has historical roots. Cradley Heath, and nearby Netherton, were great chain-making areas back in the day and the vast majority of the chains were made by hand. This involved heating a length of metal bar, bending both ends round, and hammering the 2 ends together while still red hot to weld them into a strong joint and hence make a single link of the chain. This was repeated over and over until you ended up with the length of chain required. Hammer, in Black Country speak, is Ommer, hence the war cry. Regards, Mike.

John says: So "Ommer" means Hammer (I can see that now!) I suppose the "ommer" is the symbol shown on the Cradley racejacket.  I was a Patternmaker in the 1960's my end of apprenticeship test was to carve a 2feet long chain from a solid piece of hardwood, my chain was a bit manky but I did it.  I will now feel affiliated to Cradley for all time.  Ha ha. I hope Cradley/Dudley Heathens prove with decent attendances that at least Premier League speedway could come back to the town.

Cradley Heath of Yesteryear

Eric Williams Courtesy of Mike Kemp



Local derby action Tommy Sweetman (Wolves)  against Heathen Ivor Brown



Can you name this Cradley team, I believe this side had two or maybe three riders with christian name Ivor?  John
Steve Remington has been in touch he says: From the back left, Chris Julian, Clive Featherby, Ted Flanaghan (team Manager) Rick France, Ivor Hughes. Front Matt Mattocks, Ivor Brown, Chum Taylor.  Rick France must have been a guest as I don't remember him being a Heathen.

 

Ivor Hughes


Cradley's number 1 rider was Ivor Brown but here we celebrate the late Ivor Hughes: -



Ivor Hughes in action - Was he killed after crashing at Dudley Wood, during the 1960's? John
Update: Bob Bath says: John, Yes Ivor Hughes was killed in 1966- after being injured at Cradley Aug 20th in the final heat v. Sheffield
Keith Homer says: I was at the meeting when Ivor unfortunately lost his life. Very sad night. I know it was a long time ago, before I left school, so I could be wrong. I seem to remember the match was a tour meeting against a Swedish team, Vargana.  As I say I may be wrong but could you check? We said we had lost a future world champion in Ivor. best regards,Keith.
John says: We will have to wait until another visitor to this page clears this up.  If you know who the opposition was at Cradley when Ivor lost his life, please let me know  John
Colin Jewes says: It was indeed in the league match v. Sheffield that Ivor H. received fatal injuries from which he died 3 days later in Dudley Guest Hospital on August 23rd. 1966. The connection with the Vargarna Tourist meeting comes from Ivor’s defeat of the then World Champ Bjorn Knutsson in the Scratch Race Final of that match 2 weeks earlier, from which he became acclaimed a possible future World Champ.
Having been at the mtg, I joined his brother Les & Ivor’s young wife and child at the Guest that Saturday evening. The family returned to Berriew and we re-convened on Sunday when manager Ted Flanaghan and the hospital team sought advise from the surgeon that had saved Arne Pander after he’d had similar skull injuries a few years earlier, but the prognosis wasn’t good. Les stayed over with us in Dudley on the Monday night, but in the early hours of Tuesday it was over.
A trophy in Ivor Hughes’ name is still awarded annually by the Heathens club. See http://www.speedwaychampions.com/memorial-trophies.php 

                                                

This is Cradleys third Ivor namely Ivor Davies. Cradley had 3 Ivors in the 1960's must be some kind of record


Yes. Here's Ivor number three: Ivor Brown.  I remember him riding at my track, Brough Park Newcastle, in the 1960s Ivor was great around our tight turns.  Definitely a name I remember some 50 years later.


Harry Bastable

Picture courtesy of Bob Andrews


Bob Andrews leading Glasgow's Charlie Monk at Glasgow's Hampden Park.  Bob is showering his Cradley partner in Hampden dirt!  Bob has become a friend of mine through the website and his grandson, Bradley Andrews, aged 15 at time of writing this (2013) is showing signs of emulating his grandad.  I look forward to the Andrews clan coming to the UK from their New Zealand homes, to further the career of young Bradley.


1969 Bernt Persson

Another Great Heathen and what a name to get you noticed!


Eric Hockaday

Cradley and England Rider Alan Hunt


Col Greenwell says: Hi John, pretty sure that is Alan Hunt Cradley/Birmingham rider. He lost his life in a track accident in South Africa.....I think it was 1957
Steve Baker says:  Hi John, the pictured England rider is Cradley and Birmingham legend Alan Hunt.

The Greatest Cradley Rider of all - Bruce Penhall

 

Bruce Penhall


Bruce Penhall
Motorsports Hall Of Fame 2011
World Champion 1981 and 1982
World Pairs Champion 1981
World Team Speedway Championship 1982
U.S. Nationals Champion 1980, 1981
A.M.A. Motorcycle Hall of Fame 2008
British League Champion 1981
British League Pairs Champion 1978
 


If you can scan any pictures, programmes or badges for the Defunct Site, send me an email John
 
 

 
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