Miscellaneous Items Part Two

 
 
Tom Farndon     Bike Transportation   Bikes in the Boot    Tynemouth Sands   Rimini Italy   Peter & Pam Oakes   Peter Collins    Geir Øverby, Norway   Miny Waln, Early USA Great  Tyburn Gallows   Some Foreign Stadia
 

 

Ron Mason

 

Courtesy of Johnno Allanton New Zealand

 

 

Tom Farndon

 
 
 
 
 

  Tom Farndon Remembered

 
A special ceremony to remember 1934-35 British Champion Tom Farndon attracted almost 100 fans and family to his Coventry graveside on August Bank Holiday Monday, the 75th anniversary of his death.
 
Five generations of the family included the youngest, four-weeks-old Beth, and among the Farndon fans was 92-years-old Winifred Simpson who said: 'He was my hero when I was 17.'
 
The event was conducted by the Rev Mike Whawell, honorary chaplain to the World Speedway Riders Association and organised by the authors of the new book on Tom Farndon's life, John Chaplin and Norman Jacobs.
 
Chaplin said: 'The turnout exceeded all our expectations. It was magnificent considering it is three quarters of a century after the tragedy that cut short Tom's outstanding career. He was a huge star - historically one of England's best - in his day, and the occasion was highly emotional, especially for the family.'
 
Farndon, 24, at the time the undefeated British Champion, was fatally injured in a crash at New Cross on the eve of the 1935 Star Championship Final - then the equivalent of a world final - for which he was favourite.
 
Ex-riders Col Smith and Mike Lawrence provided bikes - a Langton Excelsior and 1928 Dirt-Track Douglas (see attached photos).
 
Tom Farndon (born 11 September 1910 Coventry, England died 30 August 1935) was a Speedway rider who won the Star Riders' Championship in 1933. He set out on the road to speedway stardom in 1928 and within five years had reached celebrity status. His good looks and sheer charisma brought him a huge fan following, particularly among young women, and his incredible talent took him to the pinnacle of the speedway world.
 
Tom was the British Individual Match Race Champion and was undefeated from 1934 until his death in 1935. Farndon was killed after a crash on 28 August 1935 whilst racing at New Cross Rangers Stadium in a second half scratch race final. He was involved in a collision with team-mate Ron Johnson which hurled him through the air and saw him land head first on the track. Tom died two days later in Miller General Hospital, Greenwich, without regaining consciousness.
 
 

 

Peter and Pam Oakes

 
August 2010: Steve Magro says:  Pam Oakes, wife of speedway journalist and manager Peter Oakes, recently suffered a massive stroke while undergoing major heart surgery. Pam is in a coma at Peterborough District Hospital and Peter is spending as much time as possible at her bedside. 
Said Peter: "Unfortunately her chances of surviving this are terrible slim and basically we need a miracle. She is on the High Dependency Unit but has no movement at all, although she is breathing by herself." 
Peter, from all of us who know you and Pam our best wishes go out to you both.
At this difficult time you are in our prayers.
 
This morning Saturday 25th September 2010, I (Reg Fearman), talked with Peter Oakes.   Most of you will know that Pamela suffered a major stroke when on the operating table at Papworth Hospital for major heart surgery.  She was in a coma for some time and Peter and family were told she probably had only two days left to live.  Since that time in mid August she has amazed the specialists by recovering consciousness and gradually making minor improvement. She is talking but has very little movement of her limbs, but is just about able, with help to hold a glass to drink from. Pamela was transferred to Peterborough General Hospital where treatment is taking place for stroke recovery. Peter said that it will be a long road but are thankful the first prognosis was wrong.  He said Pamela will be fighting all the way as she has done over these past few weeks.
 
Reg Fearman says:  This morning Saturday 2/10/2010 I talked to Peter Oaks
Pamela:- She has made tremendous strides over these past few weeks.  It was eight weeks ago that she suffered the massive stroke when on the operating table for heart surgery.  Family and doctors were always talking to her and looking for a sign of movement, that  first sign came on 26th August  when she was able to push out her tongue.   Today in Peterborough the weather was good and Sarah was intending to take Pamela out for a while in a wheelchair.  Although Pamela has no movement on her left side she is able to feed herself and take a drink. Staff have  also stood her up for a short while with support. Pamela is now on stroke rehabilitation.  Such great news after such an awful prognosis.
Good news on Pamela - but she still need our prayers.
Cheers,
Reg
Reg Says: Peter told me :- Pamela continues to make improvement after her major heart operation and stroke twelve weeks ago. It was her birthday yesterday, she Peter and family were able to to have a few hours out of the Hospital. Pam like PeterCollins, is able to stand with support, walking is not yet possible although Pamela is determined to walk again.
Improvement: Peter says: Pam is still making good but very slow progress. She was allowed to come with us to Peterborough's dinner on Saturday night. We could only stay for the meal but she enjoyed herself enormously.
 
She has an infection at the moment but they are treating it with antibiotics although it will obviously weaken her as far as working in the therapy gym is concerned. They are enormously pleased with her progress and (privately) the chief therapist has recommended she should stay at the City Care Centre for at least another four weeks. That, in itself, is good news because they will only keep people who are making progress and have further progress to make. If they didn't think she would improve then she would be discharged and usually the maximum stay is six weeks. Pam will have been there four weeks on Wednesday. She is getting a lot of her balance back and has been able to stand up in the gym without major assistance. She still needs to be hoisted in and out of bed but we are hoping in the next week or so she can progress to a standing hoist machine which is far more dignified.
 

 

Peter Collins

 
 
This morning Saturday 25th September 2010, I (Reg Fearman) talked with Angie Collins it is just over two weeks since Peter had an Aneurysm on the right side of his brain and was taken to the Walton Neurological Hospital in Liverpool.   Angie says Peter is very weak and tired, he is being fed liquids through a tube to his stomach via his nose.  He had an Angiogram on Thursday the results which were satisfactory.  Peter has lost some movement on his left side but it is hoped he will make a full recovery given time. He is helped to a bedside chair for a couple of hours each day. Let us not forget our friends who may not be as well as us today
 
Reg Fearman says:  This morning Saturday 2/10/2010 I talked to Angie Collins. Angie told me that Peter was transferred yesterday from the Walton hospital in Liverpool to Warrington which is just a 20 minute drive away.  Angie says Peter is very week and lost a lot of weight due to being in bed for three weeks but his speech has completely recovered.  She has been told that it takes about four weeks for the blood leakage to disperse. Last week he did have a set back after some examinations and spent the night in intensive care. Peter is in the Warrington hospital for rehabilitation, he phoned Angie at 7am this morning and again at 7.30 am to say he was hungry and had not yet had any breakfast, she said she too had not yet had her breakfast as it was only 7.30am.  Angie said she would be cooking one of his favourite dinners and take it in to the hospital later in the day - as she had been doing while he was in Liverpool.
Good news on both Pamela and Peter - but they still need our prayers.
Cheers,
Reg
 
Reg has been in touch again, he says: I talked with Angie today for an update on 56 year old !   P.C. :-  She said he was progressing slowly in re-hab and is due to start intensive physiotherapy on Monday.  It is five weeks since he had the Cerebral Aneurysm which rendered him almost helpless.  Peter has some movement on his left side now but is weak and the brain has to re-learn how to get him mobile.   He has recently been transported by Angie and Haley around the hospital confines by wheel chair but is unable at present to 'go it alone'.  Keep praying, Reg
 
John says: Good Luck PC
 
Reg again contacted Angie and she says: I have this Sunday morning spoken to Angie.   She says Peter has been in hospital now for some eight weeks and at present is in the Warrington Hospital's Physio and Re hab unit and doing very well.  Angie was taking Peter out today albeit in a wheelchair.  P.C. can now stand alone but has support either side for a short walk. His left arm and hand are gaining strength and it is hoped he will be home within a week or so.
 
Reg Fearman says: Saturday November 6th 2010.  Today's news on PC is excellent, he is at home and when I spoke to Angie this morning he was sitting up in bed having breakfast.  He came home yesterday - Friday November 5th - Guy Fawkes night for bonfires and fireworks so Angie and family took him to a local 'party, he sat in the van wrapped up for an hour or so.  He is able to climb the stairs to bed with some support, Angie says there has been great improvement over the past two weeks.  It can only get better.
Cheers,
Reg
 
14th November 2010: Reg Fearman says: I talked to P.C. at his home in Lymm Cheshire on Saturday evening .    He is doing fine and getting stronger every day.  He said he had spent half an hour in the garden that afternoon raking leaves - a little physio !!!.   The strength has returned to his left side and he can manage everything now without assistance. He would like to thank through me all those who have been concerned about his progress over these last ten weeks.   Cheers,   Reg
 
8th December 2010 Reg Fearman says: I talked with P.C. a few hours ago he was in good spirits but said his left arm and the left side of his mouth had not yet returned to normal. He is doing fine and expects to go to Perth for a few weeks in January cheers,   Reg
 

John Says: great news that PC is feeling well enough to travel to Perth.  I assume that's Perth in OZ and not Scotland which is under 2 feet of snow as I type! 

 

 
ZZ Top! Nah the Leningrad Neva Team
 
 

The "Name the Rider" photo to stump you all.  They appear to be mounted on identical ESO/Jawa machines making them eastern Europeans. Please email any ideas John

 
Jim Henry says: It's the Leningrad Neva team - probably the one that visited Belle Vue sometime in the 1960s/1970s is the best I can do. The race jacket motif is the give away.
 
John says: I asked Dave Gifford for his views on the men and machines in this great photo.
 

Giffy says: When we first used Jawas in 1968 they had a rear mudguard with a valance on the right side. An Giffy's Eso with oil tank on rear mudguardoil tank was mounted on the valance. The rear downtube of the frame diamond was 30 mill same as the other tubes. About 1969 or 70 they did away with the valanced guard and the oil tank and put the oil in the frame and increased the size of the downtube, if you look at most Jawas they have an oil filler cap on the frame above the fuel tank. I have a picture of an Eso which also had an oil tank. I have been told by a reliable source that 80% of the Jawa production went to the Soviet Union. Now if this is the case I have a little bit of doubt about the date of the picture being 1971as there are no filler caps on the frames and I think they would have wrecked all the old type frames by 1971! The bikes also have Lucas magnetos which were used on the earlier model. I do have an early model Jawa awaiting restoration, my next project.  Giffy

 
John says: Maybe the Soviets had older bikes and equipment in 1971?   So can anyone name the riders?
 
Bob Andrews says: The masked men photo was Team Leningrad, taken in 1971 at Belle Vue
 
Alan Charles says: Here are scans from the match programme which was 1968 not 1971
 
 
Russian/Eastern Bloc speedway teams visiting the UK in the cold war era were mysterious and great crowd pullers.
 

 

1947 England v Australia

 
Courtesy of Tony Smith
 
Tony Smith says: 1947 England v Australia, Max Grosskreutz Aus, Ron Johnson Aus, George Wilks Eng and Alec Statham Eng. England won the match which ended 58 to 50
 
John says: If you can help Tony with this please send him an email picture_ed@hotmail.com  Personally I doubt the picture is of England V Australia second test as the two light helmeted riders are wearing West Ham race jackets??? but what do I know? eh!
 

 

Katowice 1973

 

 2 Photo's from Reg Fearman turned into a panoramic view by my daughter Helen Skinner

 
Possibly the greatest speedway venue of the modern age Katowice where the 1973 world final, won by Pole Jerzy Szczakiel was watched by a reported 130,000 fans.  The exact figure has long been in dispute with most settling for 120,000.  The conspiracy theorists say the crowd was under 100,000 but no one can deny that the Polish venue was totally packed out and the crowd looked bigger that any world final before or after.
 

 
Speedway Beauty Contests
 

Courtesy of Dave Rowland

 
John says: Beauty Contests were common place in the years gone by.  Now in 2014 they are regarded as demeaning to women.  They are no longer part of speedway's social calendar despite the start girls at some tracks and the big televised GP events etc. Speedway teams Beauty Queens are now a thing of the past.
 
The above picture shows Miss Poole, Miss Sheffield, Miss Wolverhampton and Miss Newcastle.  Can you name any of the girls, say what the competition was called and provide the year John
 
Alan Bristow says: Possible clue is in the number cards; the ballroom at Belle Vue was called the "New Elizabethan Ballroom". Memory is a bit faded now but I have a vague recollection of a "Miss Speedway competition" taking place in the sixties with a contestant from each team. I think the judging took place in the ballroom in the afternoon and the contestants (probably these are the first 4) paraded at the evening speedway meeting. I believe it was done at a PLRC or more probably BLRC meeting
 
Colin Jewes says: Agree this is Belle Vue. I went to the PLRCs and BLRCs in the '60s, and my recollection is that there wasn't one at the first in 1962 but that they started in '63, or maybe '64.  I recall one if not the first in the ballroom following a raining mtg,  so did they plan the first for the centre green, revert by force to the ballroom, and thereafter go to the Ballroom, (i.e wouldn't have Elizabethan cards the first time in there, as it was by default.) If so - a lot of there speculation here - , but I'm going for 1964 ! Definitely a PLRC not a BLRC
 
Bob Bath says: The picture is from 1964-I recall Miss Newcastle winning it- I wonder what happened to all these beautiful girls of 1964-hope they had happy lives and are still with us. Bob Bath
 

 

Wolverhampton's Dave Mobley

 
 
Dear Mr Skinner, 
Many thanks indeed for your wonderful speedway web pages. They have brought back many memories of when I was a novice rider in 1964 at Wolverhampton. 
I helped Bill Bridgett and Reg Fearman to rebuild the track since its closure for many years. We managed to bring an old tractor back to life and used it to help grade the track. 
The bike in the picture was built by me in the bathroom of our flat in Bath Road, Wolverhampton. The brand new JAP engine cost me £100.00 from Alec Jackson in the Harrow Road, London, and I believe I bought the frame from Howard Cole's father at Monmore Green. 
I was in the Ambulance Service at the time and not long married and Bill Bridgett was kind enough to give me a few second half rides. However I could not afford to keep the bike and the chap to whom I sold it wrapped it round the safety fence on his first time out. 
Should you be interested I can tell you a lot more, but in the meantime could you let me have an email address for Reg Fearman as I am delighted that he is still going strong and I would love to know if he remembers me from all those years ago.
 Sincerely,
 Dave Mobley.
 
John says: Hi Dave, I would be interested to hear more from you to put on this page.  I have forwarded your email onto Reg who may reply direct to you.
 

 

New Zealand- Selwyn Burt

 
 

Allan Batt says: Rest In Peace- Selwyn Burt!

 
Speedway in general lost a great friend when Selwyn Francis Burt passed away on Sunday May 16th 2010. Selwyn, a life member of the Christchurch Speedway Association was one of the founding members back in 1958. He was a noted Solo and TQ racer back at the old Aranui Speedway, riding for Canterbury in teams events alongside English legend Norman Parker and hometown heroes Mick Holland and Barry Briggs, before embarking on a very successful TQ career that saw him win two South Island titles.When Templeton Speedway (now known as Ruapuna) was being built he was one of a small group of enthusiasts that never gave up on the dream, when finance and labour became scarce. Once the track was completed he went back to riding Solos and racing the TQ's each night and again was to the fore winning a South Island Solo Championship and being one of the pacesetters in the TQs.
 
Selwyn also worked hard in the background providing riders and drivers with machines to race, and parts to keep them going, often without recompense. This was not limited to Christchurch riders and drivers either with many others benefiting from his knowledge and benevolence. His mechanical ability was also highly regarded  and sought after, so much so that Selwyn prepared JAP engines from time to time for Ronnie Moore. When Ronnie made his comeback to the UK in the late 60's Selwyn put together an engine for him, shortening the stroke by using a BSA Gold Star con rod. It went well too! Coincidental or not, it was pretty much this configuration that was used in the JAP 4B Up until last summer Selwyn remained a true supporter of  Speedway racing taking to the spectator  seats at most meetings until the onset of ill health. Space prohibits a comprehensive run down on his contribution to the sport in Canterbury, particularly in the Ellesmere district , and a career in other forms of Motor Cycle racing that saw him win multiple New Zealand titles on Grass Tracks, Hill Climbs and TT Races but it is needless to say that his place as a true Speedway legend is well deserved for a man who sought no accolades yet loved the sport at all levels. Selwyn was extremely proud of the 'Life Time Achievement' Award presented to him by the Canterbury Vintage Speedway Enthusiasts Club in 2006 and mores the pity that his nomination for national recognition was unsuccessful...but to be fair- he was always happy with his lot.
Allan Batt
 

John says: Selwyn was the brother of, Murray Burt, who rode in England, for the Newcastle Diamonds in the late1960's

 

 

 

Dog Tracks in London

 
Reg Fearman says: At one time there were 33 Greyhound tracks in London, only three remain, Wimbledon Crayford and Romford. 
Many of those Greyhound Stadiums  also encompassed Speedway Racing over a long period from 1928 -  two years after the Greyhound stadiums were built -  Wimbledon closed its doors for Speedway Racing in 2003.  On that final night the turnstile takings were stolen!!!!.  The last of the London speedway tracks.   The A to Z says they closed in 2005 but I checked on google and the web site.
Enough from me, it is 35celsius here at 6pm - must go and jump into the pool.
Reg

Enjoy the weather Reg.  It's raining here in England!  A-Z uses Robert Bamford's "Homes of British Speedway" as a reference and he says Wimbledon closed 2005. Whom am I to disagree, I am just this websites owner and you are Mr Speedway.  Oo-er I am disagreeing with one of speedways big noises!

 

 

Dog Track in Tahuna NZ

 
 
Construction underway at the Greyhound track at Tahuma NZ.  Ron Johnston at the controls of one of his earth moving machines.
 
Ex Belle Vue rider Ron Johnston says: I operated two hydraulic chain diggers for 18 years doing all telecom work in the area on this Photo I was doing a chain trench round Tahuna Speedway track which had been closed down and dog racing took over. The trench was for the Hair for the dogs to chase.
 

 

Bike Transportation

 

Courtesy of John Hunter via Dave Rowland

 
Local Newcastle rider John Hunter transporting his bike to Newcastle's Brough Park in 1948:  Making the short trip from his home (Wallsend) to Brough Park for an evening's racing.  John Hunter is driving his unwieldy looking combo with his mate on the back seat.  The guy on the solo on the left was another rider Stuart Robson.  The combination was a1923 Harley Davidson.  I don't know what the other road bike was.  The speedway machine in the sidecar was I am told a Rudge with a JAP engine.  The other speedway bike has it's chain removed so the back wheel could revolve freely on the road.  It was common to see speedway bikes transported in this fashion before car ownership did away with the motorcycle combination.
 

Courtesy of John Hunter via Dave Rowland

 

Another trip in 1948 this time back from Brough Park speedway to John's home in Wallsend.  This time John Hunter is on the back with his brother riding.  If you have any 1948 programmes have a look for John's name

 
Tynemouth Sands
 

Courtesy of John Hunter via Dave Rowland

 
In 1948 there was no petrol for pleasure purposes.  John Hunter would get up early for a day's practise on the beach, with a difference.  He would put his speedway bike on the local coastal route train at his home station, Wallsend and get it off again at Tynemouth, just a few minutes by rail.  He would then push the bike down to the Long Sands (Tynemouth Beach).  He got in some practise, but only if the tide was out!  These photos were taken at about 7.00am when the tide was well out.  He would wake everyone up and attract the attention of the local police.  The police would stop John, warn him about the frivolous waste of petrol and tell him motorbikes were banned from the sands.  John would patiently explain that speedway bikes ran on wood alcohol, not petrol and produce a copy of the beach by-laws showing that there was no ban on bikes using the beach at  that time of year.  He would then continue his practise session on the beach.
 

Courtesy of John Hunter via Dave Rowland

 
1948: John, his sister and two friends pose for this photo during one of the early morning sessions on the beach at Tynemouth.  The modern day Tynemouth inhabitants would have a fit if they were woken by speedway bikes at dawn.
 

 
Bikes in the Boot!
 
Transporting Speedway Bikes 1968
 
 
Few riders even in the 1960s had 2 or more bikes, a van and a mechanic.  This is Oxford rider Ronnie Genz in 1968 showing how it was done 40 odd years ago.  Car fans will note Ronnie's Mark 1 Cortina, now a classic.
 

 

Items From Geir Øverby, Norway

 
Norwegian Geir Øverby has been in touch and sent me some of his photos.
 
 
Geir says: Hi John, I "told" you for about a year ago that I would collect the race-jackets.  Send you photos and explanation of the four I have obtained on. From left; NMK Oslo`s (Norsk Motor Klubb) race-jacet from ca. 1955-1980. Has been used by legends such as Aage Hansen, Leif "Basse" Hveem, Henry "Stompa" Andersen o.a. I got the jacket from Aage, in gift to my collection on Oslo Open at Bjerkebanen, may 2009. # Belle Vue  race-jacket, used of Dent Oliver (please what year? 1960-62??) # Ipswich Witches race-jacket, used of John Louis`(reserve-jacket) in 1977. # Sponsor  race-jacket used of Roger Johns about 1970.
My Jawa 890 in home garden.
 
Aage Hansen was proff. in Witches 1957, but had to give up his proffcareer because knee injury. # Aage was 7 times Norweian Champion 1955-61. Nordic Champion 1957. Uofic. world champion in Oberhausen, Tyskland 1960. Picture from Dælenga Oslo 1954. Aage, and (the dormant English-man) is Ronnie Moore and Jack Young. Next from Denmark 1956, Aage lead before Joel Jansson Sweden, Simo Yllinen Finland and Erik Vincent Denmark. Aage (right) at start, contrymatch Norway/Poland 1956.
I hope this can be of some interest to you and your amazing story page.
Sorry for my poor English , but hope you anderstand som of it.
 

John says: I have reproduced Geir's email above, without correction.  His English is better than most Englishmen's Norwegian.  I am only fluent in Geordie myself.  More of Geir Øverby's photo's follow below:

 
 

Ronnie Moore, Aage Hansen and Jack Young (with Castrol-pot) at Dælenga, Oslo 1954 Aage  won this race.

 
 

Geir's beautifully restored Jawa 890 photo taken in his back garden.

 
 

Aage Hansen at start in contrymatch Norway/ Poland, Geitryggen Skien 1956

 
 

From Sleskov Speedway Arena, Danmark 1956. Aage Hansen leader (and win) before Joel Jansson Sweden,
 Simo Yllinen Finland and Erik Vinsent Denmark

John says: My thanks for the above pics and text from Norwegian Geir Øverby
 

 

Jack Winstanley's Steel Shoe and Helmet

 
 
 
 
 
Photographs of Jack Winstanley's steel show and helmet were supplied by Jack's son George Winstanley. 
George says: the helmet is my dads from his early career I think its the one he used (looking at the pics) from Long Eaton '51. inside the makers name is Compton Sons & Webb ltd, London. I believe they made helmets for the military in WW2 The steel shoe is the last one he used until he retired, late 60,s. It may have been the one he used at Newcastle !? . He used to make his own steel shoes. (notice the sole & heel removed, so it was a better fit).
 

 

New Zealand Postage Stamps

 

Courtesy of Dave Gifford

 

2009: The above picture of Ivan Mauger appears on the $1.50 New Zealand postage stamp.  The full set is shown below:

 
 

 
Ivan Mauger at Redcliffe Longtrack
 
Courtesy John Abel
 

John Abel helping Ivan Mauger at Redcliffe Longtrack, Brisbane Australia, during the match races with Phil Crump. 2002 -2003?

 

 

Nederland v England Amsterdam 1954

 

Courtesy of George Winstanley

 

Courtesy of George Winstanley

 
Courtesy of George Winstanley
 

The Dutch programme with 3 of our riders names misspelled.  If anyone has a completed programme please send it to me

 

 
Mike Parker's International Speedway

Rimini - Italy 1966

 
Newcastle Diamonds promoter, Mike Parker took a party of his Newcastle riders and machines to Italy in 1966. 
 

Courtesy of George Winstanley

 
John says: The "Mike Parker Speedway International" tour truck which appears to be a 1960's removal van.  No idea who these 3 are?  Either speedway guys or midget car men.
Brenda Robinson says: Left - Milton Caisley, Middle could be Graham Beattie (we think !) and on the right - Alan Paynter
 
 

The Italian programme cover from Mike Parkers trip to Rimini 1966

 
 

The programme was translated into Italian, English and German

 
 
The inside of the programme showing Mike Parker's English riders: Jack Winstanley (Newcastle), Graham Beattie, Maury Robinson (Newcastle), P Harris, Alan Paynter, B Oliver, P Sharples, Milton Caisley (Newcastle).
I think all of these riders had a Newcastle connection.  Mike Parker must has taken his lesser light Newcastle Diamonds riders to Italy with 1966 Jack Winstanley as the star.
 
Hi ! This is Brenda Robinson (Maury's wife) trying to help with the riders in the Rimini pictures on your site: The people mentioned in the programme were not the only ones on that venture - Goog Allan and his Wife Ursula were also there - and so was I !  I was given a free trip  in order to help . Maury & I had to take 2 riders with us in our own car  - so I was given the "free seat !  Some of us stayed in a B & B  & I helped to do some of the publicity & did the lads washing (in a "dolly tub" outside our B & B !!) Alan Paynter took  ill & had to have his appendix removed and I  had to help the nuns in the hospital to look after him  !.  It was extremely hard work for all the lads as they had to prepare, grade, water the track - in the heat during the day and distribute publicity leaflets in the evenings.  During the meetings  they had to be pushers, track marshals, starters etc as well as grading the track and they all had to ride as well as drive the midget cars !
 
 
 
 
3 of our lads larking about in the Italian sunshine, Maybe all 3 were midget car men and not speedway riders.  If you know who they are please email  John
Brenda Robinson says: The 3 riders hosing down the midget car are : Left - Milton Caisley, with the hose - Paul  Sharples and Rt. could be P.Harris ? 
 
 

Jack Winstanley enjoying the Rimini sunshine

 
 
Jack Winstanley right wearing hat.  The rest may be Newcastle riders in Rimini
Brenda Robinson says: In the cafe pic - With Jack Winstanley -next to Jack is  Paul Sharples, middle Mick Hanley, next to him (possibly P. Harris ?) left of pic - sorry don't know. 
Reg Fearman says: The cafe photo with Jack W. wearing the hat.   On the extreme left almost hidden is Graham Beattie.  I am unable to help with the others
 
 
Use a tractor! seems like hard work in the Italian heat. Jack Winstanley on the left.
Brenda Robinson says: The picture. where they are grading the track - far Rt. is Maury Robinson, next to him (? P.Harris) Middle - sorry don't know - 3rd from left is Milton Caisley , 2nd left is Mick Hanley and Jack Winstanley on left (in hat).
 
 

Rimini 1966

 
John says:  The trip looked a bit like a circus or maybe an episode from Auf Weidersen Pet, with boss Mike Parker conspicuous by his absence when the lads were working hard on the track etc.  Jack Winstanley had a reputation for getting stuck in to everything he was involved in, he wasn't afraid of hard work.
I wonder what impact the Parker visit to Rimini had on the locals?  Did they flock in their thousands to watch the racing?
 

 
Olle Nygren
 

Courtesy of Thomas Sagergrim

 
Harald-Olof Ingemar (Olle) Nygren (born 11 November 1929 in Stockholm, Sweden) The above picture shows two road bikes was that Olle too?
 
 
Olle Nygren second from left with the 1960s Norwich team
 

 
Ken le Breton
 
The White Ghost

Courtesy of Reg Fearman

 

Ken Le Breton at home in Sydney, Australia.  Ken was fatally injured in an Australian track crash in 1951.  Older fans in Newcastle and Glasgow remember the White Ghost.

 

 
Miny Waln an American Great
 
 
 

Tribute to an USA great, by Bob Fricker

 
Minard H. Waln, aka Miny Waln was known the length and breadth of the short track racing world as the "Mighty Mite,” was born in Cedar Rapids , Iowa November 20, 1901. Miny spent most of his school and boyhood days on his
family country estate, taking long courses in the art of hunting, fishing, hiking and the like.  After finishing school, Waln began travelling and visited Richmond, Virginia during the first world war.
His racing career began in 1918 at the age of 16 and in his first year racing he took the Iowa State Championship.
 
 
"I rode a Pope at Cedar Rapids my first race" Miny said.  John says: Pope motorcycles were around in the early part of the 20th century.  This old v twin looks like a dirt bike, maybe Miny rode one like it?
Miny says: "The favorite was a scrappy guy named Peanuts Spurgeon, of Marion , Iowa . He was taking bets he
would lap me. I chased him down to the finish line and almost nosed him out."
 
 
After winning in the American East, he came to Los Angeles , California in 1924 and raced on the 5/8 mile Ascot track along with other venues at The Beverly Hills 1¼ mile *board track, Long Beach, Emeryville, San Diego and numerous other tracks. He rode primarily Indian, JAP, Douglas, Crocker and even threw his leg over a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle during his brilliant racing career.
 
*John says: Board Tracks were an American phenomenon.  Large oval tracks made of wooden boards with steep banking.  Board track bikes were more or less the same bikes used in dirt track racing.
 
The biggest crowd Miny ever appeared before was at Syracuse , New York where 90,000 fans saw him take the
nationals in 1930. Syracuse was then the Indianapolis for bike racing. The major factory teams were there, men like Jim Davis, Joe Petrali, Freddie Ludlow and Andy Hader. Miny had won there in 1929 also, but in front of a smaller than the 90,000 1930 crowd. 
 
In 1931 at the Breakfast Club, was the night when short track racing started in Southern California. Miny, with his experience, was a natural winner over the kids at the new sport. Only Sprouts Elder stood in his way. They ran nip and tuck as top scratch riders for a while, and then Miny took the lead. Sprouts retired and for a couple of years Miny ruled the roost. When the Breakfast Club shut down, Waln retraced his steps to Richmond.Virginia. There he won two national
championships at the Richmond Decoration Day race meet and returned to California shortly thereafter, where he continued to thrill speedway fans.
 
Waln, was the first USA rider to introduce the British Comerford JAP machine into the United States, he held records at
practically all tracks of the western circuit. Some of the records were Oakland , California 4-lap handicap record,
Fresno , California. 4-lap scratch, Gilmore Stadium, 4-lap handicap, Atlantic Stadium 2-lap, San Diego, California.
1-lap title and Bakersfield Ca., he held the 5 mile record on the big track.
 
In all Miny held 15 national title medals and was a 3 time USA National Champion from 1930-1932. He retired
from racing speedway in 1938 aged 37.
 
The late 30’s brought Miny onto a different form of racing. He built midget cars and stacked up prize money with Louie Foy behind the wheel of the Dale Drake Special.
 
He went to work for Lockheed in 1938 where he was in charge of a hydraulic crew for years and then went on to be a supervisor on final assembly and finally a test mechanic.
 
 
Through out his career his pretty wife Gwynie was ever present at the races. She was immensely popular with the motorcycle fraternity. The great tragedy of Miny’s life was when Gwynie succumbed to a brain tumor in 1963. They had traveled the country and had been inseparable for 37 years.
 
 Joe Walker, of Santa Ana , former Sprouts Elder Mechanic, who watched Waln race for years, observed, Miny was one of the all-time greats. He was such a mild mannered, soft-spoken gentleman, nobody would suspect he was such a tiger in action and tough enough to take such a battering over two decades and quit in one piece.” 
 
 Miny purchased some land in a small town about 100 miles east of Los Angeles, known as Hemet, California. There he owned property that consisted mainly of apricot orchards. He raised his two daughters and retired, being close to them and his grandchildren. Miny would frequent the local tracks at the time and shared in many reunions, seeing his old friends and fellow racers at tracks that continued to prosper such as Costa Mesa Speedway. Miny passed away in 1991, but I am sure he is riding faster than he ever dreamed. A true legend in his time, he was always looking for a way to do whatever he could to outrun the competition. Godspeed Miny!
 
Miny Waln Racing Stateside
 
 
John says: I had this photo on one of my Name The Rider pages for quite a while. This sender of this scan has had the photo for years despite not knowing who the riders are, the track or the year.  I would guess it is 1931-1933 and possibly foreign?  Please email if you can help John
American Bob Fricker says: John, would you think foreign as in the USA ? I would almost guess that it appears to be my grandfather Miny Waln by his riding style and the bike (the rider in front). I just posted some pictures from his scrapbook and a few other items on the Jockey Journal website and here is the link. Jockey Journal  I have one of his old helmets and an engine from way back. Let me know what you think. Thanks Bob Fricker
 

 

1934 American Riders

 

Courtesy of the book:  Speedway Motorcycle Racing or Thrilling The Million

 
 
John says:  I am always looking for pictures and stories of the early pioneers in the USA or Australia so if you have items please email me John
 

 

Tyburn Gallows

 
 
 

Londoner Raymond Sidney Humphrey aka Tyburn Gallows was born 7th September 1934 and died 1994.  Ray changed his name to Tyburn Gallows to catch the promoters attention.  It was rumored he was an assistant hangman turned speedway rider.  Well changing his name did the trick of getting him noticed as here I am writing this piece about him fifty years on.

Tyburn's talent was obviously in self promotion as he struggled as a rider and never made the grade despite his willingness to travel the country for rides and a team place.  It was never on the cards for a world class rider bearing the hangman's name!
 
 

Stoke's Tyburn Gallows hanging an effigy of the rival Cradley team assisted by Reg "hang 'em high" Fearman in 1961

 

 
Geoff Pymar's Secret Weapon Ovaltine
 

Courtesy of Colin Greenwell

 
John says: Geoff Pymar had an incredibly long speedway career.  Maybe that was thanks to his wonder drug, Ovaltine!!  I am going out now to buy a tin.
 

 

Jack Young Advertising Cigs

 
Courtesy Colin Greenwell
 

 
Some Foreign Stadia
 

Brisbane Exhibition Ground

 

Courtesy of Reg Fearman

 

Courtesy of Reg Fearman

 

Always of interest. Stadiums in other countries. Send me your pics please John

 

 

Amsterdam

 

Courtesy Phil Small

 

 

Courtesy Phil Small

 

 

Waikaraka Park International Speedway - New Zealand

 

Courtesy of Bob Andrews via Reg Fearman

 

 
Sydney
 
Reg Fearman says: SYDNEY AUSTRALIA. The following three photos are of the Grand Prix Stadium I do believe it was called Stadium Australia then, ( they changed the name later ).    I was there and took the photos !! Sitting in the Grandstand looking left at the pit bend,  the centre and then the first bend.   So far it is the only Grand Prix Round staged in  Australia  of the current promotion. It took place on the 26th October 2002.
 
Photo courtesy of Reg Fearman
 
Photo courtesy of Reg Fearman
 
Photo courtesy of Reg Fearman
 

Sydney October 2002

 

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