Defunct Speedway Tracks

   

 

 
 
Ellesmere Port Speedway
 
The Stadium, Thornton Road, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire operated between 1971-1985


 
Junior rider Kevin Lyth's Memories  Ellesmere Comeback  John Jackson  Ellesmere v Newcastle and Joe Owen 
Ellesmere's 1972 Team  Keith Dwyer's Photos  Ellesmere Badges
 
 
Courtesy of Steve Cummins
 
 
Bring The Sport Back To Ellesmere Port!
 
Calvert Foden says: Just a quick note, a return of the speedway in Ellesmere Port is a must as there's nothing in this town, what a place to bring speedway back would be Vauxhalls Football ground as the clubs folded, it has all the basic facilities just needs a track and team. Just a thought if anybody shares the same opinion.
John Skinner says: It takes more than that Calvert.  Someone with lots of dosh to spend on speedway is needed before your dreams can become reality!

 
 
1972 Team
 
 
Steve Wilkes says:  Ellesmere Port 1972 Team picture - Standing Left to right : Ken Vale, Graham Drury, Geoff Pusey, Paul Callaghan, Paul Tyrer, Colin Goad, Robbie Gardner (Kneeling)
 
 
Another 1972
Line Up
 
Courtesy of Steve Wilkes
Steve Wilkes says: 1972 Team:  Back (Left to right) – Geoff Pusey, Chris Blythe, Colin Goad, Derek Tattersall (Team Manager), Graham Drury & Cyril Francis.  Kneeling (Left to right) – Paul Callaghan & Robbie Gardner. On Bike – Mascot & Paul Tyrer. Team picture taken at Ellesmere Port
 
 
1973 Team
Courtesy of Steve Wilkes
 
Steve Wilkes says: 1973TeamBack (Left to right) – Robbie Gardner, Phil Woodcock, Chris Blythe, Derek Tattersall (Team Manager), Colin Goad, Paul Callaghan & Ian Gills.  On Bike – Graham Drury. Team picture taken at Barrow
 

 
 
Ellesmer Port Badges
 
1972 1973 Year Unknown
     
1985 Year Unknown Year Unknown
     

 
 
Kevin Lyth's Photographs
 
 
John says: Left to right. Louis Carr John Jackson Steve Finch Phil Alderman.  Carr, Jacko and Finchy all went around my circuit (Brough Park Newcastle), like it was their home track.  I always enjoyed matches between Ellesmere and the Diamonds.  Hopefully the Gunners will come back and I will be able to pay their new track a visit.  What are we waiting for then?  Oh yeah a millionaire to come along! Good luck EP
 
 
Kevin Lyth's Memories
 
Kevin Lyth says: Hi john here's a couple of things that might be of use to you, one of them refers to me and the other is a few legends of Crewe Speedway.  I raced at Crewe in the second half's and it was the most amazing track I've ever ridden, I though Belle Vue was the epitome, but Crewe was just amazing!
 
John says:  I have put Kevin's Crewe photos on the Crewe page the rest of his memories relate to him at Ellesmere
 
Kevin Lyth says: My wife had been asking me about photos from when I rode and I don't have any. At that time I was too interested in racing, but my mechanic Pete Noblett took photos of me and what's worse, he has become a bit of a recluse! I've met him a few times in Ellesmere Port and even been to his house, but he just tells me he's too busy to let me in! He has told me that he has photos dating from 1972 the first year of my brief riding career.   
 
Pete must have some amazing photos/records, but I think he will die alone as he has always been, which is very sad because he won't open up to anyone and all those memories will probably be skipped by some council worker.
 

My Second Half Rides

 
A friend of mine said her mum has a load of old speedway programmes. I could have them if I called around, which I did.  Then when I was looking through them, I found my name, firstly in the “Port Scurry” heat and then one with my progression to the Gunners Snowball or rider of the night final as it became.   It is a pity that someone never filled in the second half of that programme as I can't remember how I did in the final! So I've attached my own little bit of personal history and my wife feels a little better that she can see my name in print, from all those years ago, but she would still love a photo, as I would.
 
 
Scans courtesy of Kevin Lyth. A pity the programmes had not been filled in
 
I'm on the other side of the camera now and my name is linked to many photos on google images, but mostly weather shots which I get published on Granada Reports. 
 
Sorry to waffle on, time never meant much to me in those days, except those explosive sixty or so seconds and now time seems so precious and it's racing faster, the older I get. 
 

Ian Robertson’s Death

 
Sad to see my old friend the late Ian Robertson in the programme. He lived in the Port and I was told that he shot himself with a shotgun after his wife had an affair, similarities with Kenny Carter! Although I knew them both, Ian was never as hot headed as Kenny.
 
{Alan Roxburgh says: Hi John.  I have just come across this website and it has really brought back some happy and sad memories for me.  My late father used to take me and  my brother to the gunners throughout the seventies and eighties and my brother and I regularly reminisce about those days and the brilliance of JJ, Stevie Finch and Louis Carr etc.  One point that I would like to comment on was regarding the sad death of former Gunners rider, Ian Robertson.  I note that on your site it was stated that Ian shot himself in a similar fashion to Kenny Carter.  I lived next door to Ian in Great Sutton and was at home on the day when he sadly took his own life at home and just wanted to point out that he never shot himself. (He was found hanged and tragically couldn't be revived).  Ian was truly a great guy and I have very fond memories of him being out in his driveway with his bikes.  Love this website and wish Gunners could be revived.}
 

Stuart Shirley’s Death

 
Kevin says: I was on the centre green the day Kenny tangled with Stuart Shirley and through lack of experience and all out guts, he collided into Stuart.  Tommy Livins and I ran out of the way of Stuart’s bike and his body as he slid past us and hit the track roller. I remember everything in every way, maybe because I was a rider, but I could never understand why I was never asked as a witness to Stuart’s death, especially when the papers said that he broke his neck on Kenny Carter’s handlebars and was dead before he hit the floor! I saw Stuart collide with the fence after the tangle and then he tried to get his left foot down and his front wheel ran along the inside Kerbstone and it was at that point his front wheel hit a grid and that flipped him onto his face, he still had his hands on the handlebars as he went over, at that point it was obvious he was knocked out or even then, that was when he broke his neck, no one will ever know.   
 
The irony of that day is that Stuart’s bike just would not start!   He tried everything and most of us in the pits tried to help him, myself included. He changed his magic box twice, then the plugs and put a new HT lead on and finally it started, only for him to go out with about half an hour of that training school left. In hindsight, it was quite disturbing thinking that everything seemed to be trying to stop him!  Every time I pass the track, I always think of that ill fated day, such a sad day for all of us.    

Regards Kevin Lyth

 
John says:  My thanks to Kevin for sharing his memories.  Painful memories of the deaths of three riders  Ian, Stuart and Kenny.  My thoughts are with them.
 

 
 
Ellesmere Port v Coatbridge
 
29th July 1975
 
Courtesy of Wattie Dunlop
 
Courtesy of Wattie Dunlop
 

 
 
Rob Ashton
 


 
 
Steve Finch
 


 
 
John Jackson (1)
Steve Finch (3)
 

I remember John and Steve hitting 5-1s against the Diamonds super riders both of them
 

 
 
Ellesmere Port 2012
 
 
A sad sight!  Kevin's picture of the track, taken in 2012
 

 
 
Barney Kennett
Phil Alderman &
John Jackson



 
 
Jim McMillan &
Billy Burton
 


 
 
Steve Finch
 
 
Steve Finch Mitch Shirra ? not sure of third
Steve Wilkes says: This is not Mitch Shirra ! It is Steve Finch leading Andy Hines and Andy Fisher of Peterborough.
 
 

 
Martin Dixon &
Billy Burton
 

Steve Wilkes says: This is Martin Dixon of Middlesbrough leading Billy Burton
 

 
 
Louis Carr
 

Louis had a great riding style
 

 
 
Arthur Browning Peter Carr &
John Jackson
 

Arthur Browning, Peter Carr, John Jackson.  Speedway is dominated by riders who like horse racing Jockeys are quite small.  Arthur over 6ft was the tallest rider that I remember from that era. Newcastle Gosforth had Harry Huntly in 1930 who was 6ft 8inches,  Harry was probably the tallest ever and Arthur probably was the second tallest.
 

 
 
Ellesmere Port Badge
 
Scan from Russell Earl
 

 
 
Ellesmere Comeback
 
Colin Hill says: John Just to let you know, that there is currently a move in Ellesmere Port to restart the Speedway. Details and an online petition are on Cheshire West and Chester councils website. More details are on the Ellesmere Port Pioneer website as well.  Regards Colin Hill
 
John says: Good luck Ellesmere, the Gunners may fire again
 
Keith Dwyer says: As Colin Hill has already informed you about the petition to revive the Ellesmere Port Gunners. The online signatures are now soaring to over 200 on there. I am in contact with the local Paper, The Pioneer and for the past 2 weeks they have run a story on it. I have also been in contact with the local council regarding a lot of the fans have not got internet access and now they have given me permission to print a load of paper petitions and organise a meeting as well for them to sign. I have also posted this on the Speedway Forum Site so anyone out there that would like to see the Gunners reformed go onto the Cheshire west website and sign the petition. good luck with the defunct site john
regards
Keith Dwyer
BRING BACK THE GUNNERS
 

 
 
Colin Hill &
Keith Dwyer's Pictures
 
In the following section of this website, the black n white images are from Colin Hill and the coloured images are Keith Dwyers
 
 

 
 
John Jackson
 
 
A truly great rider John Jackson at Thornton Road
 
 
John Jackson At
Rye House
In 1978
 
 
John says: I did a double take first time I saw the above picture.  John Jackson looking like Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits
 

 
 
John Jackson At Teesside 1978
 
 
 
John Jackson 1979
At Thornton Rd
 
 
 Another of John Jackson at Thornton Rd.  1979
 
 
 
Jacko' Thornton Road Pits
 
 

 
 
Alan P says: From the left 1st not too sure? Then its  John Williams/ Louis Carr/ Steve Finch/ Phil Collins/ and John Jackson on the bike.  I have a scrap book and there are no other photos of this person 1st on the left so not certain who it is, two names come up Peter Williams and John Butt, but no photos of them either.  regards Alan
 
Anthony Atkins says: The rider you thought was Pete Williams is in fact a lad called Paul Sheard
 

 
 
Ellesmere v Coatbridge 1975
 
 
 

 
 
Graham Drury
 
 

 
 
Paul Tyrer &
Robbie Gardner
 
 
 
Steve Wilkes says: Rider on the left is Paul Tyrer not sure who is on the right
Steve Baker says: Ellesmere Port page is Robbie Gardner. 
 

 
 
Terry Shearer Leading
Graham Drury 
 
 
 
John says: Brummie rider I believe to be Terry Shearer
Steve Wilkes says:
It is Terry Shearer leading Graham Drury 
 

 
 
Colin Goad
 
 

 
 

Cyril Francis Left &
Graham Drury

 
 

 
 

Paul Tyrer & 
Ian Gills

 
 
Ian Gills in a good mood!
 

 
 
Paul Gallaghan 
& Chris Blythe
 
 

 
 
Colin Goad &
Robbie Gardner
 
 
John says:  I can remember Robbie well when he became a member of my team Newcastle Diamonds he was a high-scoring 2nd string in a powerful Newcastle side
 

 
 
Ellesmere Team Photo
 
 
 Robbie Gardner, Phil Woodcock, Chris Blythe, Graham Drury (on machine), Colin Goad, Paul Callaghan, Ian Gills.
 

 
 
Ellesmere Port 1976
 
Courtesy of Duncan Meredith
 
If you can name the team members please email me John
Steve Wilkes says:  1976 Team Picture:  Standing - Left to Right: Ernie Park (Promoter), Louis Carr, Paul Clements, Chris Turner, Phil Collins, Gerald Smitherman, Steve Finch, Joe Shaw (Promoter)
Kneeling – Left to Right: Robbie Gardner, Mascot, Duncan Meredith. On Bike – John Jackson. Picture taken at Thornton Road – I know it well !
 

 
 
Ellesmere Port 1977
 
Courtesy of Duncan Meredith
 
If you can name the team members please email me John
Steve Wilkes says: 1977 Team Picture: Standing – Left to Right: Joe Shaw (Promoter), Louis Carr, Paul Clements, Phil Collins, John Williams, Duncan Meredith, Ernie Park (Promoter).  Kneeling – Left to Right: Steve Finch & Robbie Gardner On Bike – John Jackson. Picture taken in the Ellesmere Port pits.
 

 
 
Duncan Meredith
 
Courtesy of Duncan Meredith
 
My thanks to Duncan for the photos and to Ellesmere Port for the entertainment when the Gunners visited my track Newcastle.
 

 
 
Brothers Peter
& Louis Carr
 
Courtesy of Duncan Meredith
 

 
 
Steve Finch
 
 
Courtesy of Duncan Meredith
 

 
 
Louis Carr
 
Courtesy of Keith Dwyer
 

 
 
More Of
Keith Dwyer's Photos
 
 
Pete Ellams giving John Jackson a lift back to the pits
 

 
 
Steve Finch 1978
 
 

 
 
Steve Finch 1979
 
 

 
 
Memories
 

Colin Hill says: Dear John, I have recently found your website which includes memories of Ellesmere Port Speedway " The Gunners".  I went to many of the home and away matches back in the mid to late 70's with my late father.
Some of my memories include:

  • As the ground was shared with the Town football team, the track went around the outside of the pitch area, making it one of the longest in the country.
  • The "Gunners" always practiced on a Saturday morning and entry was free to watch them. Many of the fans would then go over to watch Belle Vue later in the day as many of their younger riders learnt their trade at the Port, so on race nights it was quite common to see the Collins family at the Port.
  • Tragically a rider died from his injuries at one of the practice sessions when he parted company with his machine, slid onto the grass and struck a heavy pitch roller which had been left there. I can't remember the lads name or exactly when it was though.
  • The team bibs had earlier been yellow writing on a red background ( a reverse of the last ones).
  • The local pub was named after the team.

Thanks again for the memories.  Colin Hill

 
Keith Dwyer says: Hi John with regards to the young rider that was tragically killed at the Ellesmere Port training school his name was Stuart Shirley. A great young up and coming rider. I was actually in the pits on that day and was one of the lads that helped carry his bike off the track. hope this helps and keep up the good work on the site. Regards Keith
 

 
 
Paul Embley's Photographs x 4
 
 
 
 
 
Paul Embley says: I rode at Ellesmere from 1978 till 1982, then had a spell at Wolverhampton and did 3 meetings for BelleVue. Had to retire due to an illness in my muscles.
 

 
 
1980 Team
 
Courtesy of Steve Wilkes
 
Steve Wilkes says: 1980 Team.  Left to right – John Jackson, Pete Ellams, Steve Finch, Louis Carr, Peter Carr, Paul Embley & John Williams. Team picture taken at Rye House.
 

 
 
1982 Team
 
Courtesy of Steve Wilkes
 
Steve Wilkes says: 1982 Team: Back (Left to right)  - Steve Finch, Mike Lohmann (Team Manager), Phil Alderman, Rob Maxfield, John Jackson, Richard Park (Promoter).  Kneeling (Left to right) – Billy Burton & Glenn Parrott. On Bike – Eric Monaghan. Team Picture taken at Ellesmere Port.
 

 
 
Ellesmere Port v Newcastle
 
There were many great entertaining meetings between the two sides and my favourite of the era Joe Owen, rode for both sides.
 
 
John Jackson leads the diamonds Nigel Crabtree & Derek Richardson.  Jacko was second only to Joe Owen in the league in my opinion.
 
 
Keith Bloxsome, Paul Embley, Gary Ainsley & Peter Carr
 
 
John Williams
Derek Richardson Louis Carr &
David Bargh
 
 
 
Away Action At Brough Park Newcastle
 
Courtesy of Steve Wilkes
 
Steve Wilkes says: A great photograph of Newcastle Diamond Tom Owen battling with John Jackson at Brough Park in 1978. John Williams is the Gunner just behind John Jackson.
 

 
 
Joe Owen
 
John says: I have placed this picture of Joe below the Ellesmere v Newcastle section.  That is because he was the darling of both sets of fans:
 
 
Here he is winning the National League Best Pairs for Ellesmere in 1985.  Joe only rode at Ellesmere in 1985 after Newcastle closed down, but he made such an impact at Ellesmere before his accident, leaving him disabled.  Such a sad situation for both sets of fans.  Ivan Mauger was the Newcastle favourite with Joe a close second to Ivan!
 

 
 
1985
Title Winning Gunners
 
 
1985 title winning Gunners Richie Owen, Gary O'hare, Miles Evans, Dave Morton, Dave Walsh, and front: Louis Carr & Joe Owen
 

 
 
Joe Owen With Page 3 Girl
Sam Fox
 
 
Joe Owen accepting The 1985 National League Pairs Trophy from the gorgeous Samantha Fox.  Joe was on his own (despite this being the Pairs) because his partner Louis Carr crashed in the final and was unable to stand alongside Joe at the presentation (Or maybe he was frightened of Sam!!). Louis recovered from his smash and had a great season whereas Joe had a life threatening smash later in the season and ended up paralyzed. Such a sad end to a glittering career.
 

 
Do you have any Ellesmere photos to share? email me John
 

The contents of the site are and should not be reproduced elsewhere for financial gain. The contributors to this site gave the pictures and information on that understanding.  If anyone has any issue or objections to any items on the site please e-mail and I will amend or remove the item.  Where possible credit has been given to the owner of each item.


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