The excitement of Grass-track racing in Notts in the 1950s
Park Hall in the 1930s
Dating from the 17th century, the house was home to the Hall
family from 1736 until 1903
The early days of motorcycle sport in Mansfield Woodhouse
By Tony Clement
Mansfield Woodhouse was surprisingly the venue for dirt track
motorcycle racing in the early days of the sport, in the Spring of
1928.The Mansfield Chronicle of the time advertised it as
‘Mansfield’s new sport’, and was constructed at Park Hall,
Mansfield Woodhouse, and situated in the private park of Mr and
Mrs W B Makings.
The course was opened in late April 1928, and was available for
inspection and trial runs by prospective competitors the on
Sunday, which the public could watch free of charge, the whole
thing was sponsored by the Midland Motorcycle Dirt Track Racing
Club, and was hoped to be a great attraction for motorcycle
enthusiasts from all around the area.
The track was 880 yards in circumference and 30 feet wide, and had
The first meeting was on the 19th May 1928, and the first race
being won by E. Housley, a local rider.
The track was used again in 1929 and was completely remodelled and
relaid with a cinder surface. The exact location of the track in
not really known and has now probably been covered by housing.
Can you help with info on local riders? Click
From the Antipodes to Woodhouse
Dirt track racing was similar to speedway racing with the
competitors sliding their machines at acute angles around the
bends, the competitors would wear special steel shod boots to help
them slide around the corners.
It had its origins in Australia and in the 1920s was staged there
under floodlights; it was very popular attracting 30,000
spectators on Saturday nights in Sydney, Adelaide and various
The Australian riders introduced the sport to England in the early
1920s and became hugely popular from the 1930s onwards.
The full results of speedway meetings at Woodhouse are listed in
The History of British Speedway
Saturday 19.5.28 Park Hall, Mansfield Woodhouse
24.5.28 ; 23.5.28
Motor Cycle Dirt Track Club. Abandoned after 4 races (rain). Track
half-mile per lap, egg-shaped.
Mansfield MC Race E Housley (493 Sunbeam), J Mills (490 Norton)
25.53mph 350cc Novice W M
Haslam (AJS), H “Skid” Skinner (Rudge-Whitworth) 31.03mph 350cc
General W M Haslam, Reg Airey
(Chater-Lea) 28.57mph 600cc Novice G Walters (497 Ariel), Skid
Skinner (348 Rudge) 30.77mph
Saturday 2.6.28 Park Hall, Mansfield Woodhouse
600cc Reg Airey (348 Chater-Lea) 41.8mph
WOODHOUSE MAN WAS BRITISH GRASS TRACK RACING CHAMPION
Another Mansfield Woodhouse resident, who now is largely
forgotten, was at the forefront of grass track racing in the early
days of the UK championship, he achieved triple victories for
three consecutive years in the 350 cc. Class.
was the British Grasstrack Champion in 1951, 1952 and 1953 in the
350 cc. Class and finished second in the 1956 finals. He was also
2nd in the 500 cc class in 1952.
The finals were staged at Kirkby Mallory in Leicestershire in
front of a record 30,000 crowd with a final average speed of 59.01
mph. Sid was a member of the East Midlands Centre team.
Sid was an exceptional rider and the feat of winning three British
championship titles, should be recognised.
Sid was helped in his grasstracking career by another Woodhouse
local, Lionel Burdett, who built Sid’s machines for him at
his workshop near to Priory Square at Woodhouse. Researching
Lionel Burdett we think he used to live in Pleasley in the early
1950s, and had an unusual car for the time, a Riley RME, in black.