Defunct Speedway Tracks



Sunderland Speedway


Sunderland Greyhound Stadium, Newcastle Road, East Boldon, Co Durham.  Speedway took place here in 1964 and 1971-1974 The team was known as The Saints, The Stars and the Gladiators

Sunderland Badges


Jim Airey 1964


Courtesy of Steve McClurey


Sunderland Saints 1964

Vic Ridgeon

Very Stylish Vic Ridgeon


One of Vic's Bikes After Restoration


Next Week!
The above photo is from the Sunderland v Middlesbrough Programme 19th May 1964 advertising Newcastle as next weeks visitors.  I can only name 2 of the riders. Mike Watkin and Russ Dent, can you help with the others? John
Dave Gifford has been in touch and has the following to say about the above photo:
Hi John mate, the Sunderland Middlesbrough photo 1964. I would say its Maury Robinson on the right.
Thanks Dave but there are still 3 names to find.
Brenda Robinson says: 1st left is mechanic (we think to Mike Watkin)  2nd left is Derek Greaves - far right is Maury Robinson (next to Derek is Brough Park's track marshall !)

Sunderland v Newcastle
What is the ultimate event on Wearside? A match of any kind against the "enemy" from Newcastle!.. Here above, is a copy of a programme that signalled the rallying call.  Sunderland v Newcastle circa 1964
A great programme cover, art work excellent and the price too!  It would be great to get Sunderland back in operation in the same league as Newcastle what great local derbies we could have against the Saints (Stars Gladiators).

Sunderland had their brief encounter with speedway in 1964 and it took 7 years before they were to take to the track again
Sunderland Stars 1971
Courtesy of John Spoor
John Knock, John Goodall, Manager: Alan Middleton, George Barclay, Brian Whalley, Alan Mackie, John Lynch and Captain Scarlet: Russ Dent on bike.
Russ Dent
Russ Dent says:  My happiest time in speedway was with Sunderland in the early 1970s

Sunderland v Teesside
Opening Meeting
 2nd May 1971

Courtesy of Wattie Dunlop


First programme of Sunderland's second spell 1971




Sunderland v Rayleigh
9th May 1971

Sunderland Badges
As Sunderland only operated for 5 campaigns 1964, 1971, 1972, 1973 & 1974 I expect badges from Sunderland's speedway years will likely be highly collectible items.
1964 1971 1972
1973 1974  
John says: My thanks to Wattie Dunlop for sending me scans of his Sunderland badges.  1964 Sunderland Saints, 1971-1973 Sunderland Stars & 1974 Sunderland Gladiators 

Sunderland Stars Team 1972
Help please with names and the year
Steve Remington says: The year is 1972 Colin Armistead (manager), Jim Wells, Graeme Smith, George Barclay, Jack Millen, Dave Gatenby, Peter Wrathall and Russ Dent on machine

East Boldon Stadium

East Boldon Stadium, home of Sunderland Speedway


The Stadium In
More Recent Times
This is Sunderland Speedway Stadium now, alas only the Greyhounds race around this track now. There has been no speedway here for 31 years at the time of writing this in 2005: -

Action From Sunderland

Action from Sunderland Russ Dent gate 2 and George Barclay gate 4, 1972 were you there? let's hear from you if you were there.

Mike Stores has been in touch he says he was probably amongst the faces on the photo. 

Sunderland v Peterborough
13th July 1973
Courtesy of Andrew Gallon


Sunderland Stars


Sunderland v Teesside 31/05/1974 Brian Havelock & Roger Wright


Sunderland v Teesside
31st May 1974

Sunderland V Teesside 31/05/1974 Bruce Forrester & Russ Dent



Vic Harding



Archie Cooper's Photographs

My friend Archie was at a match between the Gladiators and the Rockets with his camera and he took the following pictures: - I will ask Sunderland stalwart Bob Ferry for the names of the riders
Sunderland v Rayleigh

Steve Clarke (white) Russ Dent Pete Wigley(y/b) & George Barclay 

More of Archie's Photos: -
John says: Archies 3 photos feature the Sunderland Gladiators can you name anyone and say the year,  I believe Sunderland were the Gladiators in 1974  Help please in naming the riders John
Bob Ferry says: Hi John, Pretty sure pic 1 is George Barclay, pic 2 is Jim Wells & George Barclay, (with Bob Young and Trevor Barnwell). 3 is George Barclay and Jim Wells, with Brian Foote (Rye House) All pics taken on 3/5/74, score was Sunderland 38- Rye House 39
Steve Baker says:  Hello John, I have some names for Archie Cooper`s photo`s.  Russ Dent of Sunderland is in all three pictures, Jimmy Wells is the other Gladiators rider in pics 2 and 3.  Brian Foote is the Rye House rider in pic 3.
Trevor Barnwell is the Rye rider in Y/B in pic 2 and I think the other Rye rider is Bob Young. The year is 1974.
Bob Ferry says: Hi John, I think Steve is wrong, I would say def not Russ Dent, also have the prog and Jim Wells didn't ride with Russ in that meeting, Barclay was his partner, also has a distinct style does Barclay. Sorry to disagree with Steve.
Steve Brown says: I have to agree with Bob Ferry. The only one I wasn't sure of was Bob Young, but I would certainly say that it was George Barclay; it's definitely not Russ Dent.
Steve Baker says:  Bob Ferry is quite right about George Barclay. When I looked at the photo`s Dent and Barclay had very similar leathers plus a white scarf and I picked the wrong one! I bow to your superior knowledge Bob!
John says: Yes Steve we all expect Bob to get it right with Sunderland riders. 

Sunderland v Coatbridge
14th June 1974


Russ Dent &
George Barclay


Local Rider John Robson

Vic Harding (Right) Pete Wigley John Robson & Steve Clarke



Brian Havelock Leads
Bob Young &
Trevor Barnwell



Russ Dent inside
Pete Moore
Brian Havelock
& Pete Wigley


John Robson
& Russ Dent
Local riders, John Robson (left) with Sunderland captain Russ Dent.  John's first taste of racing was as a stock car driver before he turned to speedway.  It is fair to say John never reached the heights enjoyed by his two sons Stuart and Scott
John Robson warming his engine up in the Sunderland pits
John Robson


George Barclay


All names supplied by Bob Ferry. Visit Bob's website for more about Sunderland



Graeme Smith


Courtesy of Graeme Smith



John says: I attended the 2005 Sunderland Reunion and here are some pictures from the reunion night.  The event was well supported with many ex riders in attendance.

2005 Reunion
Ove Fundin's
Rotrax JAP

Ove Fundin's Jap from the 1950's John (ginger) Abigail is the current owner of this machine.

 Website Owner John Skinner With Ove's Bike

Above: Defunct Speedway website & Newcastle History Site webmaster John Skinner with Ove's bike, (it is nearly as old as John), wishing he owned it!




Pictures from Colin Poole: left ex-riders, Ray Day & Norman Redmond. right Russ Dent & Brian Havelock



Peter Baldwin's Photos


Above Jim Wells and Sid Sheldrick



George Barclay & Tom Owen



Russ Dent &
Chris Roynon



George Barclay
Tom Owen &
Terry Kelly



Jim Wells &
Chris Roynon



Russ Dent Leading Tom Owen



Sunderland Gladiators


Courtesy of Archie Cooper

I can only be sure of Brian Havelock and Russ Dent can you name the rest and confirm the year which I guess is 1974 John
Tony Richardson Says: Is the rider on the far right John Robson, Scott & Stuart Robson’s Dad?
Update: Line up from almost the same photo in Richard Nicholson's book North East Motorsport as follows:  Sunderland Gladiators 1974 Paul Callaghan, George Barclay, Brian Havelock, Vic Harding, Jim Wells, Colin Armistead, John Robson and Russ Dent on the bike


George Barclay

Courtesy of Archie Cooper

If you can scan your photographs, programme covers or badges I would like to hear from you  John

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