Defunct Speedway Tracks

 

 
 
High Beech Speedway
 
This is where it all began in Britain.  The Kings Oak Hotel, High Beech, Loughton, Essex off and on between 1928 and 1967 Nicknames "Foresters" and "Rabbits"
 
 
The First Meeting  George Graham Beaumont Clover  Billy Galloway Taking a Tumble  Johnnie Hoskins and Jack Hill -Bailey  Bill Fletcher's Photographs  Syd Edmonds  Peter Covel's Photographs  Delta Mike's Photographs   High Beech 2007  Norman Jacob's Photographs  Brisbane Smith  Memories
 
 
 
 
The First Meeting
19th February 1928
 
 
 

 
 
High Beech Badges
 
 
   
Both Badges are Year Unknown but I presume the bigger one is from 1968
 

 
 
Memories 1
 
 
Sharon Evans says:  Hi John.  My Dad told me he did speedway at Highbeach, and suffered a injury to his leg. My Dad died over 30yrs ago when I was only 24, but we used to regularly go back to High beach , as they ran gymkhana's  from there. Would you have any record of him? Many Thanks Sharon Evans 
John says:  One for you researchers.  If you can turn up any pics or programme entries or newspaper articles on Robert James Telford I would like to include any info here for Sharon to see my email link is John
 
 
Memories 2
 
Martin Hale says: Hello John, I came across your website and was interested to read about the High Beech track.  Please see below: -
 
Athlete 
A E Wood
Year 1909
 
 
Martin says: I've enclosed a photo, (see above), of my great uncle running on the cinder track in 1909 before it was used for speedway. A E Wood was twice amateur world cross country champion and holder of many other amateur titles. He later turned professional, winning an array of world titles, including 10 and 15 mile world track champion. He ran for Great Britain and Canada many times. He was killed 100 years ago this month in Ypres at the age of 33.
 
Like him I lived near High Beech. I attended the 1968 40th anniversary of British speedway. I was also there the day before, helping with the setting up of the event. Terry Littlechild, son of the then Kings Lynn owner/promoter Maurice Littlechild, said to me 'Martin take a bike around the track while you have the chance'. The only 'bike' I had was my BSA C15 which I'd arrived at the venue on! I kick started it and feverishly maneuvered around the track, aware that this bike was definitely not made for 'sliding'. It was nothing much, but at least I can say I 'rode' the track at High Beech! Hard to believe nearly 50 years ago.
Martin (Hale)
 

 
 
 
 
Fred Ralph (Coventry Eagle) Leading Ivor Creek (Norton)
 

 
 
Charles "Ginger" Fuller
 
Courtesy of John Fuller
 
John Fuller says: Hi John,  I have recently found a jacket badge belonging to my father which I thought you might like to see.  You may also be able to add information about the badge which would be of interest.  My father’s name was Charles Fuller but he was better known as Ginger Fuller.  His later bike was a KTT  Velocette.  If you have any information about him riding at High Beech I would be most interested.  He often rode with John Raven and Nick Carter.
John Skinner says:  Here is a picture of a 350cc KTT Velocette which may have been similar to Ginger's bike?
 
Courtesy of John Spoor
 
If you have any info regarding Charles Ginger Fuller please email me. John
 

 
 
George Graham Beaumont Clover
 
 

Tony Catling says: My late father in law George Graham Beaumont Clover claimed that he was a former speedway champion at Kings Oak Club in a newspaper article from the late 1970’s.

He joined the RAF in 1929 so I am guessing he may have raced before joining the RAF. Do you have any records of him? He may well have exaggerated the “former speedway champion” part but I would be very interested if you have any information. I have an old photograph (shown above) which may help identify with identification. Not sure which one is George.
If you can name the guys in the above picture I would like to hear from you John
 

 
 
 
Can anyone name the riders? John
Bill Fletcher says: I can name the 28 rider – he is my father, George Fletcher.  George Fletcher was a butcher from Barking, he came third in the novice race. I could probably name the guy next to him if I check my pictures which are mostly named.
John says:  Hi Bill you must be really proud that your dad was involved at High Beech.  If you have photos etc we would love to see them so please get in touch.
 

 
 
High Beech Pits
 
 
High Beech Pits,  The crowd lining both sides of the track had to be dangerous and I am surprised that they even allowed it back in 1928.
 

 
 
The First Steel Shoe
 
 
At High Beech at the first ever meeting Billy Galloway, left shows off the first steel shoe, actually a steel toe cap on the boot of rider Keith McKay.
 

 
 
John says: Unknown rider (Ariel) Billy Galloway (Douglas) crashes
Norman Jacobs says: While looking at the High Beech page of your defunct tracks site, I see you have a photograph captioned, "Unknown rider (Ariel) Billy Galloway (Douglas) crashes".
The "unknown" rider is Reg Pointer.
 

 
Courtesy of John Chaplin
 

 
 
2 Pictures Of
Billy Galloway Taking A Tumble
 
Courtesy of John Chaplin
 
High Beech 1928 This picture shows Billy Galloway taking a tumble, again on the first day
 
Picture courtesy of Jim Henry
 
The 2 pictures shown above seem to be of the same fall by Billy Galloway taken from different angles but in the same split second I think.
 

 
 
High Beech 1928. The picture shows turn four at High Beech but I have no idea who the rider is
 

 
 
Johnnie Hoskins &
Jack Hill-Bailey

At High Beech 1929
 
 

 
 
Bill Fletcher's Photographic Collection
 
 
Reg Stanley
 
 
Stanley McGee says: Dear Sir,  I viewed with interest at the photos of  the speedway riders only to notice a what I think is spelling error. The first rider was my mum's brother Reg Stanley not R Starley.
John says: Thank you Stanley.  I have amended his name above the photograph from R Starley to Reg Stanley
Stanley goes on to say: When as a boy we lived a Leyton were all his trophies were kept!  My family shared a home with Len Stanley his twin brother also a rider..  Just before my uncle Reg died when he visited me at Theydon Bois I took him to the track site to see it was still visible.
 

 
 
Jack Barnett
 
 

 
 

 
 
T Phillips 32 &
George Fletcher 28
 
 
High Beech. Kings Oak Speedway. T Phillps 32 and George Fletcher 28. 19th February 1928.  Bill Fletcher says: George Fletcher was my father. 
 
Bill says: My father in his later years was a difficult man to talk to!! But I would love to know how long he rode competitively for, I can only find his name mentioned in 1928.
The story he always told me was that he was a committee member with the Ilford Motor Cycle & Light Car Club and the club was nearly broke and needed to raise money. Four of them went for a ride one Sunday and they ended up having a pint at the Kings Oak at High Beech. There was a horse trotting track at the back of the pub and as they drank their pints looking out at the track one of them came up with the idea of holding a dirt track meeting, they asked the landlord and the first dirt track meeting was born. My father could never remember who it was, who originally came up with the idea, just saying it was not him. My father did tell me the names of the other three members but that was many years ago and I can’t remember their names, it would be nice to know the name of the person who started it all.
 
John says: so, can anyone throw any light on this Kings Oak, High Beech story   My understanding is that the secretary and founder of the Ilford Motorcycle club Jack Hill-Bailey was responsible for bringing dirt track racing to the Kings Oak.  Maybe he was just the man in charge and George Fletcher and his club friends were actually the guys who mooted the idea to their club secretary.  If you can help please email me John
 

 
 
High Beech
Kings Oak Speedway
 
Courtesy of J Spoor
 

 
 
E Farley
 
 

 
 
Pete Alnack
 
 

 
 
J Barnett &
T Croomb
 
 

 
 
George Fletcher 1928
 
 
Bill's father George Fletcher in 1928, does anyone recognise the bike which looks a bit of a heavy hybrid to me.  It has a brake drum on the front and number plate but a small speedway type fuel tank it must have been a handful in the corners.  Maybe George rode it to the track and removed some items like the lights, mudguards etc before going on the track.  If you can say what make the bike was then please send an email John
 
Valentin Stoinev says: I see picture of rider George Fletcher and you write a comment you don't know what the bike is. In my opinion this is 1928 Ariel model E - 500cc stripped for racing. Black Ariels were very successful racing machine in those days. That's why his choice for racing machine is normal. Hope that help you.
 
Hugh Darlington says: Hi John,  The bike George Fletcher is riding is a 1928 Ariel Model ‘E’ Super Sport with its tank removed.  I bought mine in 1969 and still have it!! Regards,
 

 
 
G Fletcher 28 &
R Pointer 27
 
 
Kings Oak Speedway 1928.  G Fletcher 28 and R Pointer 27.
 

 
J Barnett 21 &
G Fletcher 36




Kings Oak Aug 1928. J Barnett 21 and G Fletcher 36.
Hugh Darlington says: Hi John,  The bike George Fletcher is riding is a 1928 Ariel Model ‘E’ Super Sport with its tank removed.  I bought mine in 1969 and still have it!! Regards,
 


 
J Barnett &
Vic Huxley




John says: What a great photograph
 

 
 
Brisbane Smith Taking On Some Refreshment!

 
Brisbane Smith! How much would you bet he was Australian?
John says: Brisbane also rode the Wall of Death and he was tragically killed on the wall as if speedway wasn't dangerous enough!
 

 
 
Mason Trophy Winner 1929
J Barnett

 
Kings Oak: Mason Trophy winner 1929 J Barnett
 
These photos are the property of Bill Fletcher.  My thanks to Bill for allowing me to show them.  If you can help with any text about the pictures then please email me  John
 

 
 

 
 
Syd Edmonds
 
Courtesy Ted Hearn
 

 
 
Dicky Bird
 
 
Dicky Bird, did he jump or was he pushed! We get a good look at his AJS which is nothing more than a stripped down Roadster, the bike has front and rear brakes which would have been disconnected for speedway
 

 
 
R O'Connor
 

Courtesy of Ted Hearns

 

It appears that early machines suffered a bit from the extremes of Dirt Track racing.  I believe speedway bike tyres have low Pounds Per Sq Inch tyre pressures which I think would cause this problem if the tyre pressure became too low!

 

 
 
Ted Hearn's Pictures
 

Split Waterman
Jack Parker &
Eric Langton

 
 

 
 

Frank Charles &
Bluey Wilkinson

 
 

 
 
1931 Issue of Speedway News
 
Courtesy of Niall Strudwick
 
1931 issue of Speedway News, The cover shows the crowd at King's Oak Speedway.  This magazine became the only speedway mag to have.  It later became the Speedway Star which now in 2018 is still the only weekly speedway publication to have.
 

 
 
1931 Captain Syd Edmonds
 
Courtesy of Niall Strudwick
 

 
 
Leg Trailing Syd Edmonds
 
Courtesy Ted Hearn
 

 
 
Peter Covel's Photographs
 
Leonard Covel 1938
 
Courtesy of Peter Covell
 
Courtesy of Peter Covell
 
Peter Covell says: I've been looking at your website defunct speedway and thought you may like two pictures I found of my Grandfather, Leonard Covell riding his 350cc AJS bigport engined bike on August 25th 1938 at High Beech. In the second photo he is the one to the left of the photo. We still possess the bike although it is in need of great repair.
 
John says:  I have photos taken recently of the old AJS, in its now sorry state.  But, if like me, you are an old bike buff you will want to see Peter's photos, try this link The Bikes Part 7
 

 
 
1939 High Beech
Track Championship
 
Courtesy of Peter Covell
 
A turn out of more than 30 riders for the 1939 track championship
 
 
High Beech Team
 
Courtesy of
 
John says: Can you advise me on this photo.  Looks like a  High Beech team mounted on Rudges or early JAPs  John
Tom Marriot says: Hi John, the rider on the right is Charlie Appleby. He rode for High Beech just before the war in 1937 and 1938. 
John says: Yes Tom.  If this photo is from 1937/38 they would all have been mounted on JAPs.  Canadian Charlie Appleby was unfortunately fatally injured in a crash at Brough Park Newcastle in 1946
Tom Marriott says:  The other riders who rode at that time were A V Sweby, R Harding, A C Anderson, A Kaines, S R Clarke, R P Lewry, N E Roberts, C A Wells, J Milross, H A Barnes, A Windmill, R E Westwood, E Francis, R C Baker, T W Hayhow, H Mann, F R Williams.
Tom Marriott says: The rider 4th from left with glasses may be Alf Kaines but not positive. With the names from above you may never find all the names to fit the riders!
 

 
 
Delta Mike's Photographs
 
 
Pic 1: Mike says: High Beech 1947/48 Jim Purdey - Age 16
 
 
 
Pic 2: Mike says:  High Beech '48/'49 Jim Purdey leading, 2nd rider unknown, 3rd rider Rick Shaw.
 
 
 
 
Pic 3: Mike says: Saturday Meeting approx 48/49  Ron Annal, Ken Monk, Vic Ridgeon, Johnny Fry
 
 
 
Pic 4: Mike says: 1st Easter Meeting - 1950, Left to right Tommy Black, Bob Stubbs, Bill Harrison, Geo Flower
 
 
 
 
Pic 5: Mike says:  The Pits Area 
 
 
 
 
Pic 6:  High Beech Mike says:  Race start, Left to right, Jim Purdey, George Flower, and Sorry, I don't know :(
 
 
 
Pic 7: Mike says: High Beech Race Start. Left to Right, ? Wingrove, Ted Moore, Jim Purdey and Vic Butcher
 
 
 
Pic 8: Mike says: High Beech Meeting 1948, Right Harold Sim, Left Jim Purdey
 
 
 
Pic 9: Mike says: High Beech,  Race Finish for Jim Purdey
 
 
Pic 10: Mike says: High Beech Pre-Race Photo, 2nd from left Rick Shaw, Cyril Bridges on Bike, Jim Purdey, Bill Bridges, Ed Cook and ? Wingrave
 
 
Pic 11: Mike says: High Beech  1949/50, Extreme Right Jim Purdey and Centre Ken Osborn
 
 
 
Pic 12: Mike says: High Beech 1950, Left Bill Osborn and Centre Jim Purdey
 
 
 
Pic 13: John says: My thanks to Mike for willingly sharing his photos with us.
 

 
 
Norman & Ikey Jacobs 1960
 
 
Norman Jacob's father Ikey Jacobs inspecting what was left of the track in 1960, This was the starting line
 
 

Young Norman, leg trailing at High Beech

 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 

High Beech 2007

 
 

The back straight reclaimed by mother nature

 
 
 

The fourth bend

 
 
 
Home Straight Terracing
 
My thanks go to Norman Jacobs for supplying his photographs, shown above.  They were taken in 2007
 

 
If you can scan any pictures, programmes or badges send me an email John

 


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