"Both Sides of
|Reg's Book Launch
At Cardiff's British
|Contact details are at the end of this
page's tribute to Reg
|Reg in his riding days, in Leicester
Hunter's colours at an individual event in Amsterdam 1953 and at a
WSRA meeting with the then WSRA President and good friend of Reg's,
Fearman Autobiography … 1
Speedway legend Reg Fearman lifts the lid on a controversial racing
|The explosive memoirs of a man, who for more
than 40 years held down every job worth having in speedway racing
and knew intimately every individual in the sport worth knowing,
will be published to coincide with the 2014 British Grand Prix.
Sides of the Fence is an apt title for the long-awaited
autobiography of East End boy Reg Fearman, who was presented with
his racing licence on his sixteenth birthday, in front of more than
40,000 fans at one of speedway’s glamour venues, West Ham’s Custom
|Fearman went on to ride for the Hammers in
the sport’s National League Division One at the height of speedway’s
post-war boom period,
when in 1949 more than ten million spectators packed stadia such as
Custom House, Wembley, Harringay, Manchester’s Belle Vue and the
cavernous Odsal Stadium, Bradford.
|He was part of the British Lions test side
which toured Australia in 1950-51 and also raced for Stoke and
Leicester and in New Zealand.
He went on to promote speedway at Stoke, Middlesbrough,
Leicester, Long Eaton, and Halifax, where his team were British
League champions in 1966.
|His crowning achievement in club speedway
was at Reading, where he refused to accept defeat when the stadium
used by his successful Racers team - which won the British League
championship and the knock-out cup was sold under his feet in 1973.
|When most people in the sport added the
Berkshire town to the list of former speedway venues, Reg was the
driving force behind the construction of a new stadium on the site
of a former rubbish tip, gaining national media headlines in the
|Reg was a successful international team
manager, guiding the British Lions to test series success in
Australia in 1973/74 and again in 1977/78. He introduced speedway
racing to the Middle East, promoting the sport in Egypt, Kuwait and
|On the other side of the fence he was one of
the founders of the Provincial League, which revived British
speedway in 1960 after the number of operating tracks had reached a
post-war low. In
1965 he was in at the birth of the highly successful British League
and three years later was one of the inspirations behind the
creation of a second division for the competition.
|In 1973 he was elected chairman of the
British Speedway Promoters Association and served seven terms.
He had previously been chairman of the British League
Division Two from 1968 to 1972.
Fearman Autobiography … 2
Sides of the Fence is not simply a record of the life and times
of one of the sport’s major personalities.
It does not shrink from tackling head-on some of the major
issues to affect the sport over the years, from shrinking popularity
to drug-taking and race-fixing.
|Fearman spotlights the intriguing characters
that made speedway so exciting and colourful during the years when
the sport challenged football for popularity.
He lifts the lid on the behind-the-scenes controversies and
gives his frank and sometimes damning appraisals of riders,
promoters and administrators.
|He is disarmingly frank about his less
successful speedway ventures, notably his spell in charge of one of
the sport’s most iconic clubs, the Poole Pirates.
The chapter dealing with the period in question says it all,
being entitled The Poole Disasters.
|Away from the speedway tracks Fearman
recalls his childhood in the old East End of London,
the thrill of being a teenage star during the sport’s
post-war golden age, the ups and downs of National Service, and the
heart-breaking illness which robbed him of his first wife and
|Now happily re-married, Reg, a former
President and a still active member of the World Speedway Riders
Association, spends much of his life touring Britain, the Continent
of Europe, the United States and Australia, meeting up with his
former team-mates and opponents.
Sides of the Fence has forewords by five times World Champion
Ove Fundin and the late John Berry, one of speedways most successful
and also most controversial promoters and administrators.
The excellence of the book has been endorsed by leading
|John Chaplin says: “Reg Fearman is the man
who knows all of speedway’s secrets … and is prepared to reveal
them. He has taken a unique, full-throttle, white-knuckle ride to
the top as an international rider, a world-class team manager, a
successful promoter and a formidable administrator. He has never
ducked a confrontation, on or off the speedway track; he knows the
glamorous and the murky side of a tough, fabulously exciting and
sometimes cruel sport, and he spares no one's blushes … not even his
|Brian Belton JP says: From humble origins in
London’s East End, this is the story of how Reg Fearman became a
local hero with West Ham, the cockney giants of speedway, and went
on to represent his country, first as a rider at the tender age of
17, and then as an international manager.
A captivating mixture of
sporting achievement, politics and business and social history, it
also looks at how speedway was resurrected from the doldrums of the
late 1950s and dragged into a new ‘Jet Age’ golden era, a time which
paved the way for the heights that the sport has enjoyed in the
twenty-first century as a global phenomenon. Including a plethora of
untold truths, revelations and a rich treasure trove of photographs,
Reg lays bare for the first time the sensational inside story of the
resurrection of speedway … warts and all!
Fearman Autobiography … 3
Sides of the Fence will be published by The History Press (ISBN:
9780750958486) £16.99 on July 7 2014.
|It will be on sale in Cardiff at the British
Speedway Grand Prix on Saturday July 12 2014,
available at the memorabilia fair organised by Nick Barber at
the Cardiff Blues Rugby Club (10 30am to 4pm adjacent to the
Millennium Stadium, where Reg Fearman will be in attendance
throughout the day to sign copies.
|For photo and interview opportunities and/or
review copies please contact Helen Bradbury at The History Press on
Philip Dalling on 01598 752335
or 07706 999365 or 07732
|John Skinner of Defunct Speedway's
|I know Reg and Phillip, having met them both
and exchanged many emails over the years. Reg still has his
old charisma and with consummate professional Phillip I can't think
of anyone better qualified to write a book like this. I am awaiting
my copy. Good luck with the sales Reg and when you get tired
of signing copies of your book, sign me a blank cheque eh! John
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