Defunct Speedway Tracks

 

Leicester Speedway

 
The Stadium, Blackbird Road, Leicester where speedway operated on and off between 1928-1983.  The teams were known as the Hounds, the Hunters and the Lions
 

 
Leicester Badges
 

 
 
Memories
 
Pit Crew Man Graham Wale
 
Graham Wale says: Hi There John.  Great site. I was at the very first meeting of the reopened Leicester track in March 1968 when a crowd of over 11-000 where in attendance and I became a big supporter of the Lions right up until 1977 when a new career stopped me from attending meetings
 
Between 1972-4 I was also the assistant to a number of Leicester riders and found myself working in the pits and going to just about every meeting the length and breadth of the country, I worked with Malcolm Ballard, Dave Jessup briefly and Malcolm Brown plus one or two others.
 
The job entailed fueling up the bikes mainly 500cc Jawa's and warming the machine up prior to the start of racing and pushing the riders of onto the circuit at the start of each heat.
I worked along side a great friend of mine at the time Rob Sensical who is now involved with the new Lions but I lost contact with Rob in the early 80's but perhaps through your website he may surface once more.
They where great days.. Regards  now based in Essex....Great to see the Lions back..
 

 
 
Ernest Frank Potter
 
CK Potter says:  Hi JS enjoyed going through your site about Blackbird Road my late father Ernest Frank Potter was the cashier at Blackbird road when it opened in 1928 he was a qualified accountant and told me of the many cheques he had written to the big names of the day. In 1933 prior to my birth he moved to Manchester to take up  a position as company secretary. He never lost his enthusiasm for speedway and we frequently went to Bell Vue which I understand had occasional meetings during the war time.He died in 1997.
Keep up the good work.  Yours C.K.Potter
 

 
 
Janet Hambleton's Photographs
 
 
The Parker Drive Entrance In 1957
 
 

 
 
Leicester Team 
 
 
Courtesy of Graham Gleave 
 

 
 
November 1983
The End Of The Stadium
 
 

 
 
Leicester Track
 
July 1984
 
 

 
 
1988 Houses Being Built On The Site
 
 
The old entrance on Parker Drive was here.
 

 
 
How It Looks Now!
 
 

 
 
Charlie Barsby
 
 
Janet Hambleton says: Charlie Barsby & his wife looking at my speedway scrapbook, Nov. 2004.
 

 
 
 Bruce Forrester, Norman Hunter
& Bruce's Wife
 
November 2004
 
 

 
 
Blackbird Road
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

These colour pics of Leicester Stadium are by courtesy of Chris Holmes. My thanks go to Chris for sending these pictures of Leicester Speedway's defunct and since redeveloped track site.  Let us hope the new track at Beaumont Park never suffers the same fate as Blackbird Road!

 

 
 
Leicester
Car Sticker
 
Courtesy of Tom Roe
 
 

 
 
Leicester Badges
 
1949 1950 Year Unknown
     
1968 1970 1972
     
   
Year Unknown    
     

 
 
Memories
 
Mick Clowes says: I saw my first speedway at Long Eaton at the tender age of 10 in 1962, and was immediately captivated. As I live closer to Leicester than Long Eaton I had to wait until the Lions arrived at Blackbird Road in 1968 before I could attend regularly. Then it was every Tuesday night and “Soldier Boy” (the unofficial cheerleader) striding out in front of the stand, waving a lions flag, and urging us all to “Give us an ‘L’, etc”. I remember the crowd at the opening was estimated at 11,000. Happy days. My partner and I have supported the new venture at Beaumont Park from the off and are now season ticket holders.
 
As I collect speedway badges, I was recently in Wilkinsons buying a couple of box picture frames in which to display my collection, when I bumped into a friend who enquired why I had bought the frames. Upon receiving the answer she asked if some old speedway photos would be any use to me, as her mum was just about to throw them out. What a red letter day this was as the old album contained some 32 images, neatly held in with those old stick on corners. They are all B&W obviously and mainly of the Hunters era, but as I was a toddler at that time, I have only seen one or two names before. They are of the “personality photo” style sold at track shops everywhere and I have named them (possibly incorrectly) where I can.  Feel free to use them for your site as you see fit, but would you please credit them to my friend’s dad - Terry Robinson.
 

 
 
The Hunters 1950
 
Courtesy of Graham Gleave
 

 
 
Terry Robinson's Photographs
 
Alf Parker
 
 

 
 
Fred Perkins
 
  
 

 
 
Charlie Barsby
 
 

 
 
Harwood Pike
 
 

 
 
Tommy Miller
 
 

 
 
Cyril, Bob & Bert Roger
 
 
The picture of these 3 riders was found amongst Terry Robinson's Leicester photo collection, Cyril is wearing a New Cross Jacket, if you can tell me which team the other men were attached to, I will copy the photo to the appropriate team pages John
 
Reg Fearman says: The Roger brothers: Bob raced for Swindon and Bert was at New Cross they were their major clubs but all raced for other teams during their careers.
 

 
 
Jock Grierson
 
 

 
 
Jack Mountford
 
 

 
 
Leicester Hunter's 1955 Team Photo
 
Courtesy of Graham Gleave
 
Len Williams, Ron Phillips, Charlie Barsby, Ken McKinlay (on machine) Ted Flanaghan (Team Manager), Gordon Mc Gregor, Derek Close & Johnny Green
 

 
 
Terry Robinson's Photographs
 
Mainly Leicester Riders 
 
John says: As a Newcastle fan my knowledge of Leicester riders from this era is nil.  If you can say which photos are of personnel that were not Leicester riders please let me know and I will transfer the images to the appropriate  team page.
 
Roy Bester
 
 
 
Picture TR1. Possibly a Leicester rider?  Please help if you can name this rider  John
Reg Fearman says: Roy Bester the South African 
 

 
 
Brian Crutcher 
 
 
 

 
 
Reg Fearman
 
 
Picture TR4:
 
Col Greenwell says: This is Reg Fearman
John says: Yes of course that is Reg and I wonder why he looks so happy, maybe he found a sixpence in the pits!
Reg Fearman says: Yes this looks like Reg Fearman!
John Says: Well done Reg, nowt wrong with your eyesight !  For those of you who do not know.  Reg Fearman turned promoter in the early 1960s and was very successful.  Was there a more successful promoter than Reg? Debatable but I think he was number 1.
 

 
 
Lionel Watling
 
 

 
 
Bill Griffiths
 
 
 
 Ken McKinlay
 
 
 
Hurri- Ken Left & Ove Fundin
 
Courtesy of Mike Kemp
 

 
 
Joe Bowkis
 
 
Jeff Porter says: Joe Bowkis was a member of the very first Poole team in 1948, on loan from First Division side Harringay. He stepped up to Team Captain early in the season, and had an excellent year. He was, unsurprisingly, recalled to Harringay for the 1949 season, but struggled to make an impact in the top level and was offered for transfer, at which point Leicester snapped him up. He rode for Leicester from 1950 for the remainder of his speedway career, retiring during the 1953 season, due, it seems, to poor health although he was only about 30.
 

 
Laurie Holland &
Lionel  Benson
 
 
I believe one of the 2 shown above is Laurie Holland.  Can you say which picture is of Laurie and also whom the other rider is John
 
Robin Smith says: Just picked up your website and have a couple of issues which might be of interest.  The photo questioning Laurie Holland might well be Laurie on the left but he was not around long so I would not be positive but the one on the right is definitely Lionel  Benson who was balding prematurely . The problem is who is in the photo you named as Benson because that is not him?  Has the appearance of a young Ron Wilson but the smarter later leathers and  Kevlar probably rules that out. Regards
 
Paul Huband says: Hi John, This could be a question asked sometime ago. I was browsing the website and notice that there was a question relating to my uncle, Laurie Holland. He came over to the uk from New Zealand with his Brother Mick Holland and race for Leicester Hunters. He is on the left Regards. Paul.
 

 
 
Les Beaumont
 
 

 
 
Roy Browning
 
 
 
I wonder if Roy used the same Barber as team mate Ken Mckinlay!  Ken usually hid his barnet under a bobble hat
 
Hurri-Ken McKinlay
 
Courtesy of Adrian McKinlay
 
Adrian McKinlay says: Hi John, I was wondering if you could help identify this 1950s hunters rider?  It has been listed as dad, but my brother and I do not believe it is him.  I'm thinking possibly Jack Geran or Ivor Brown as they rode with similar head wear.
Mike Kemp says:  Hi John,  Just seen new photo in name the rider part one I feel sure it is Ken McKinlay riding for Leicester.  Ken always used Hick Finn front forks on his bike and always rode with his socks turned over his boots
John says:  The only way I would know it was "Hurri-Ken" would be if he was wearing one of his trade-mark woollen bobble hats!  Mike has supplied the following photo of Ken riding for Leicester
 
Ken McKinlay Outside Sweden's Ove Fundin
 
Courtesy of Mike Kemp
 
John says:  So what do you think.  Ken has his socks turned over his boots in the pic with Ove Fundin and the "Mystery Rider" in the pic above the Ken and Ove pic also has his socks turned over his boots.  I agree with Mike that it looks like Ken McKinlay.  Perhaps Ken's sons will look again and give us their take on the evidence! email John
Adrian McKinlay says:  Hi again John,  just responding to the updates regarding my dad, Ken Mckinlay, on your website
This photo (see below), appeared on ebay and I think it answers my initial question?
 
 
 

Also after talking to my brother again we came up with some traits that dad had.  He never wore a white peak on his helmet at any time or period during his career.  He always routed his cables over the handlebars never underneath and he always used a throttle guard on the handlebars. Dad was famous for using upswept cowhorn bars.  He would never have ridden with his leather cuffs undone, he was renowned for his immaculate appearance and turn out.  If you look at the original photo I sent and the one of Jack, I have attached with this email I am sure you would agree it is one in the same rider, that being Jack Geran who by the way was a great friend of dads.  I remember visiting his guest house in Exeter as a child.  The photo of dad and Ove which I also have along with countless others clearly shows the points I have outlined I think?  Many thanks for your help, I only do this to clarify info for ebay sellers who quite often list a photo as being dad when in fact it isnt, the last one of dad being confused with Sverre Harrdfelt!!!

 
John says: My thanks to Adrian McKinlay for telling us how to tell apart Ken McKinlay and Jack Geran.
 

 
 
Harry Edwards
 
 
Taken 1962 at Neath. Roy Taylor, Harry Edwards and Glyn Chandler
 

 
 
BBC Radio Leicester Reporter
Mike Smith Holt
 
 
Stephen Butt says: Dear John,  We corresponded a few months ago. Attached is a recently-discovered photograph of BBC Radio Leicester reporter Mike Smith with two Speedway rider at Blackbird Road, Leicester.  The date is about 1971-73.  Any idea as to the names of the riders. Please feel free to publish the image.  Best wishes Stephen
 
John says: It appears to me that this Leicester meeting was some form of an international event.  The guy on the right I think is England rider Ray Wilson not sure who the rider in yellow is.  If you can throw any light on the event and the rider in yellow please email me John
 

Mick Clowes says: Hi John,  On the Leicester information, the colour photo  with  the BBC Radio Leicester reporter and Ray Wilson has an unknown rider in the red and yellow leathers.  He is the brilliant John Boulger, probably my favourite behind Ray Wilson. Wish I could wave my magic wand and get this pair into today’s lions team!! We would win the lot!  Keep up the good work, brilliant site. Regards Mick

 

John Malpus says:  I thought that you would like to know that the reporter is actually Mike Holt who is currently a LONG EATON supporter.  I travelled the length and breadth of the country after he and his cousin introduced me to speedway.

 

 
 
Leicester v Wimbledon
 
30th July 1974
 
 
 

 
 
Len Williams
 
 
Len Williams can anyone say which seasons he rode at Leicester.  This picture looks like it was taken in the 1950's John
 
Col Greenwell says: Not that I knew!.....But from Peter Morrish's book, British Speedway Leagues 1946-64..Len rode for Leicester....1951-52-53-54-55-56.
 

 
 
Jack Winstanley
 
Courtesy of George Winstanley
 
John says: I liked Jack, he rode for my team, Newcastle in 1948 and again towards the end of his career for my club the Diamonds in the 1960s.  He is a young man in the above Leicester photo.  Jack could turn his hand to anything.  I have seen him doing stunts on motorcycles and I also know he tried Midget Cars under Newcastle Promoter Mike Parker in Rimini Italy.
 
 
Jack Winstanley's
Race Jacket
1950
 
Courtesy of George Winstanley, Jack's son
 
 

 
 
Jack Winstanley &
Charlie Barsby
 
 
Janet Hambleton says: I don't know if this photo is good enough to be included on your website as my camera wasn't the best and particularly when using the flash.  However, I thought I'd send it anyway as it shows Jack Winstanley in November 2004 at a Leicester reunion.  The rider closest to the camera is Charlie Barsby -  one of my favourites. 
 
John says:  Thank you Janet for your photo.  I have enhanced it a little, as you will see above.
 

 
 
Reg Fearman
 
 
Reg Fearman says: Hi John, Indeed Leicester! I raced for them in 1953-1954.    In 1962 Mike Parker and I took the club into the Provincial league straight from the National league and it hemorrhaged money with very, very poor crowds.  In 1968 along with Ron Wilson my co director I transferred Long Eaton a "Cinderella" club to Leicester into the British league.  There it stayed until 1984 when the stadium was sold for housing.   Yes I've read that all systems are go for a new sports complex in a not too salubrious part of Leicester. The following 3 Leicester pictures are from Reg Fearman's collection: -
 
 
Reg's Picture
No. 1
 
 
Reg Fearman in Leicester Hunter's line up number 1: Ted Flanagan Team Manager, Fred Perkins, Squib Burton Promoter, Len Williams, Lionel Watling, Reg Fearman, Front row:- Roy Browning, Charlie Barsby, Dennis Parker, Ivor Brown.
 
John says: I asked Reg about Squib Burton and this is what he said:
 
Hello John,   Squib was a rider in the '28 to the '38 period and was very good, he got the name as a firework the Squib Zooooom Bang !!    He was a Douglas rider and a gentleman who lived in Lutterworth near Rugby and owned a garage there for many years. Cheers,  Reg
 
 
Reg's Picture No. 2
 

 

Reg Fearman in Leicester Hunter's line up number 2:  Ron Philips, Ivor Brown, Joe Crowther Team Manager, Reg Fearman, Ken McKinley, Front row :-Len Williams, Charlie Barsby, Bryan Elliott, Gordon McGregor. Dave Hankins ?
 
Alan Goodman says: the rider named Dave Hankins? is definitely not Hankins. I think it could be another Hunters junior of the time, - Barry East.
 
 

Reg's Picture No. 3

 
 
Reg Fearman in Leicester Hunter's line up number 3: Squib Burton Promoter, Lionell Watling, Ken McKinley, Don Potter, Reg Fearman, ?? Ted Flanagan Team Manager, Front :- Charlie Barsby, Jock Grierson on the machine, Bill Griffiths.
Reg Fearman says: About 3 am last night I thought of the name of the rider on the last team photo on the Leicester A to Z It is marked with a question mark, he is standing next to Ted Flanagan.   His name is Alf Parker and no relation to Jack, Norman or even Mike.
 
Thanks Reg and sweet dreams in future try drinking Horlicks and counting sheep!
 
Reg says: John,  the above photos were taken between June 1953 and September 1954 you will notice how many faces changed in that short time.  This was due to the fact that tracks were closing and more riders were chasing fewer jobs. Reg
 
 
Don Potter
 
Courtesy of Graham Gleave
 

 
 
Close Riding At
Blackbird Road
 
 
You could cover these 3 riders with a blanket!  The action photo Courtesy of Mike Kemp is of Roy Browning, Dick Campbell and Len Williams
 

 
 
Bryan Elliott
 
 

 
 
Stefan Kwoczala & Charlie Barsby
 
 

 
 
Jack Geran
 
 
I like Jack's handlebars, they don't make them like that anymore!
 

 
 
Blackbird Road From
The Press Box
 
Courtesy of Stephen Butt
 
Stephen Butt says:  This view is from the back of the Press Box, and I think it is a very evocative image, which the team parading, and cheerleaders (I think) in the foreground.   This must be from the late 1960s as far as I can work out.
 
John says: If you can name anyone in the above photo please email me John
John Malpus says: This photo can be narrowed down to 1968 to 1971 as the cheerleaders (The Lionesses) in the foreground were the girls who sold the raffle tickets, one of which was the sister of Alan Jones, former co promoter of the Lions.  The names of the Lionesses were, Celia, June, Jean, Joan and Jane.
 

 
 
1968 Leicester Team
 
 
1968 Team Ray Wilson, George Major, Vic White, Anders Michanek, John Boulger, John Lanford and John Hart
Owen Pearson says: 1968 Lions photo. Don't remember any John Lanford. Surely, it's Norman Storer between John Boulger and John Hart.
Bob Bath says: Hi John, Owen Pearson is right-in the 1968 photo of Leicester the guy identified as John  Lanford (who he?) is indeed Norman Storer-a salt of the earth guy never a star but a solid team man-I recall him appearing in the 1964 PL Riders Final so he was no slouch. Cheers Bob
 

 
 
1969 Leicester Team
 
 
1969 Norman Storer, Dewayne Keeter, Malcolm Brown, John Hart, Graham Plant, John Boulger and Ray Wilson capt on machine
 

 
 
John Boulger
 
 

 
 
Anders Michanek
 
 

 
 
Phil Herne
 
 

 
 
1979 Lions
 
Courtesy of Chris Holmes
 
Ila Teromaa, John McNeill, Vic White, John Boulger and Tom Godal at the back. Mike Farrell and Colin Cook are kneeling with John Titman on the bike
 

 
 
Ila Teroma &
Ernst Bøgh
 
Courtesy of Ernst Bøgh.
 

 
 
Reider Eide &
Ernst Bøgh
 
Courtesy of Ernst Bøgh.
 

 
Courtesy of Chris Holmes
 

 
 
Dave Jessup
 
 
Looking over his shoulder was something he did often as he was usually in front.  He couldn't reproduce his high standards at world championship level.  Dave is definitely a candidate for the best rider NEVER to win the world crown
 

 
 
Leicester v
Kings Lynn
 
Courtesy of Jim Blanchard
 
Leicester v Kings Lynn, I need help naming the riders as I only recognise Michael Lee (in white helmet) email if you can name the others John
Steve Wilkes says: Picture taken in 1979 at Leicester the riders are : Rob Hollingworth, John Boulger & Mike Farrell, Michael Lee
 

 
 
Golden Helmet Match Race At Leicester
 
Courtesy of Jim Blanchard
 
Courtesy of Jim Blanchard
 
Two photo's from Leicester of the Golden Helmet decider between Mike Lee and Peter Collins
 

 
 
Leicester Lions
 
 

Leicester Lions, can you name them for me please and say what year this was  John

Dom says: From the left Les Collins, Colin Cook, Phil Herne, John Titman (on bike), Finn Jensen (?), unknown and possibly Ian Clark.  Cheers, Dom (an exiled Belle Vue fan in London).
John says What a shame you are being held against your will down in the smoke, us northerners need to stick together
So we still need a couple of names for this team shot, please help
Paul Redmond says:  The Unknown rider is Rolf Gramstad
John says:  We now have a difference of opinion Tony Richardson says:  Is the rider kneeling on the right Pete Smith former Middlesbrough Rider.
Jeff Higgott says: The rider kneeling at the right hand side is definitely Pete Smith
John Jones says: You can take off the question mark, the rider 2nd from right is definitely the great Finn Jensen!
 

 
 
1980 Team
 

Courtesy of Chris Holmes

 
Andrzej Huszcza, Les Collins, Bob Garrad and Ian Clark standing. Colin Cook and Rolf Gramstad are kneeling and John Titman is on the bike.
 

 
 
Leicester v
Kings Lynn
 
Courtesy of Jim Blanchard
 
John says: Leicester v Kings Lynn.  I need help with the riders and the year John
Steve Wilkes says: Bent Rasmussen, Tom Godal, Pete Smith, John McNeill
 

 
 

The End Of
Blackbird Rd!

 
 
 

The Blackbird Road Club closed its doors in 1983 but  has opened up again in 2011 at Beaumont Park

 
 

 
 
Sean Pattern's Photographs
 
Sean Pattern says: Here are my photos showing part of the housing estate where the track used to be.
 

 
Left: Stadium Entrance was on the left about where the white car is.   Right: Parker Drive Leicester, Old Entrance to the 3/4th bend
 

 
 
Norman Storer & Ray Wilson
 
Owen Pearson says: Hi John, The BEST Leicester pair ever. Norm the Storm & Willey.[Norman Storer & Ray Wilson]
 

 
 
1983 Last Ever Blackbird Rd Programme
 
 
 

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

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