Nottingham Speedway

 

White City Stadium, Trent Lane, Colwick Rd., Nottingham Speedway between 1929 and 1938.  Nottingham Tornadoes Motor Club started grass track racing in 1928 then a year later a speedway circuit was laid by Olympic Speedway Ltd Nottingham.

 
 
 
Phillip Dalling says: I have attached a couple of pics of the White City Stadium (John: see above)
 
Speedway in Nottingham began when, in 1928,  the Nottingham Tornado Motorcycle Club acquired a site for grasstrack racing close to the still existent Nottingham Racecourse at Colwick, to the east of the City.   
 
A dirt surface was laid down for the 1929 season at what had become known as the Olympic Speedway.    After a season of open meetings Nottingham joined the Southern League for 1930.     The track withdrew from the league midway through 1931.
 
The venue was subsequently rebuilt as Nottingham White City Stadium,  with greyhound and speedway tracks, and spectator facilities very similar to what can still be seen at Owlerton,  Sheffield ie a main grandstand,  covered terraces (with some seating) on the first and fourth bends, and back-straight terracing.
 
Speedway returned in the National League in 1933 but crowds were inconsistent.  There were a few pirate meetings in 1934 and Nottingham joined the new Provincial League for 1936 and 1937,  latterly under the management of Fred Whitehead of Hackney fame.    The promotion was taken over by multi-track promoter Arthur Westwood for 1938 but was short-lived,  with the licence being transferred to Leeds.
 
After World War Two there was talk about speedway returning to Nottingham on several occasions,  but the greyhound management was not keen.   The 380-yard speedway track was in fact concreted over and used to parade the greyhounds on wet nights.
 
The only racing in Nottingham post-war was on a grass track with sand on the bends at Highfields,  close to the University Park campus of the University of Nottingham.   Belle Vue stars Louis Lawson and Dent Oliver rode in these meetings.
 
According to an article I wrote for Speedway Star in 1968 I visited the track that year with former Nottingham rider Fred Strecker.    I have to admit that I had completely forgotten the visit until I found the magazine which carried the story.
 
The Nottingham name was,  of course, used for a Long Eaton-based team for a couple of years.
 

 

Ernest Watts

 

The following items concerning Ernest were sent to me by his relative Sandy Childs.

 
 

Ernest was riding for Olympic Speedway in 1929 and 1930.  Here we see him on his Douglas DT modelling the "Pudding Basin Helmet"  Although the helmet protected the cranium it did nothing to protect the face

 
 
1929 crash involving EW Ford left and Ernest Watts right.  In 1929 crashes were all the more worrying as the equipment used by the early riders did not match modern standards of protection.  Ernest had an injury which kept him out of action for a while.  Here is one of his fan mail letters written in the ever so old fashioned way of 1929 : -
 

 
 
Ernest Watts on the bike.  Do you know whom the others are? email if you can name them.
 
 

Ernest is on the bike do you know the make of bike and who the guy in the hat was email

 
   
 
3 of Ernest's 1930 pay slips.  I am Guessing that 10.00 13shillings for a nights work was quite a lot of money back in 1930
 

 
The Sorry End of the White City Stadium
 
Courtesy of J Spoor
 

 
Chris Wallett's Photographs
 
Chris Wallett has been in the area during 2010 and taken these pictures x 3 of where the stadium used to be
As you can see from the pics (Below) there is no evidence of a stadium. The site is covered by modern industrial units.  The main one being the A Plant hire training centre. Interestingly an old house named Trent Villa is still there and
is visible on the aerial photo you have. As you can see from my pics that house is still there but looking worse for wear but gives a good bearing on where the stadium was as it was dead opposite the 1st/2nd bend apex. No chance of speedway ever returning there.
 
 
The old building Chris refers too.
 
 
 
 
So! Nottingham White City Speedway.  Can you email me any images of the track, rider pictures or programmes etc
 

 
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