Defunct Speedway Tracks


 
 
Miscellaneous
Part 5
 
 
Craig Pendlebury's Photos   Daily Mail Book (1950s)   Singapore  Russ Pursehouse  Denmark v England 1952
Wall, Loop and Globe of Death & Speedway  Argentina 1930s Skid and Alma Skinner  Speedway and Ice News Magazines from 1953 Cec Warren's 1928 Scrapbook  Smythe's Speedway World (Cartoons)
 
 
Enamelled Advertising Sign
 
Courtesy of David Pipes
 
David Pipes says: On my recent holiday travels I came across this metal enamel advertising sign for Wills Star Cigarettes and thought that you might like to put it on your website. Not sure which category to include it under – possibly miscellaneous or even in the Cigarette cards section?  I’m not sure whether the rider smoking the cigarette has already lapped the other three or whether he is just finishing his smoke and intends to catch them up !!
 
 

 
 
 
Singapore
 
Courtesy of John Spoor
 

Speedway in Singapore 1930 and Malaysia 2007 by Tony Webb

Singapore 1930

 Speedway has been held in what could be considered unusual places to hear the roar of speedway machines.  Manilla, Papua New Guinea and Argentina come to mind from the pioneer days, although extended promotions took place in those countries, there were places that conducted only a few meetings that got lost in the mists of time

 

Singapore and China were two countries linked together by separate get rich promotions that had a detrimental effect on Australian speedway in 1930

          Singapore was a British Colony full of ex. pats, Europeans and a mixture of Asian cultures not known for their interest in motor sport, the success of speedway in England and Australia had tempted  A J Reynolds an Australian entrepreneur, showman, theatre manager and speedway promoter that running speedway in this location was worth the gamble 

Reynolds arrived in Singapore in March 1930 and set up the promoting company ‘Singapore Speedways Ltd’, He realised he could capitalise on speedway riders travelling to England and soon after, he was joined by Australian speedway riders Charlie Datson, Jack Sharp, Tiger Lewis* and Fred Yates, all of whom helped with the organisation and preparation. Also to join the troupe was Welshman George Gregor   a Cardiff pioneer rider. 

The venue was Alkaff Gardens built by a Yemeni sheik was to be the location of the track. The 440yds (402m) oval with white board safety fence was surrounded by palm trees. Stands were built and floodlighting installed all at great expense, but Reynolds did not have enough capital of his own to finance such a large undertaking and local contractors may have financed the construction in exchange for shares or the promise of payment later. Practice sessions for the locals were arranged and a riders association was formed. Australians apart, the riders were beginners comprising of a few ex pats, Malay born Europeans, plus various Asians, Chinese and Cocos Islanders

 

. An extensive and expensive advertising campaign began 3 weeks before the opening night (19th April); full page adverts appeared in the press and accompanied by speedway related articles, dominated the newspapers. All along the Serangoon road to the stadium giant Chinese fliers fluttered in the breeze and announced the grand opening. An estimated 35,000 attended that opening night, a figure never to be repeated.

 

          The programme consisted of match and handicap races, plus record breaking attempts NSW Rider Charlie Datson set the first track record for the 4 lap flying start at 86secs. Riders on the opening night included Ong Chin Beng, Lee Seng Soon, Cho Jolly (China), Bepo Wahid (Cocos Islands), Sob Prasong, the Siamese (Thai) motorcycle champion, Philippe Ledonou (France), R. McCreath, Jack Holliman, (Malaya) Bobby Waters, Harry Riches, England. A varied collection of bikes were used, BSA, OEC, Sunbeam, Charter Lea, etc. Douglas DTs. were only used by the Aussies and Welshman George McGregor who was advertised as the English champion!

Aussie Sig Schlam also appeared later on during the short season to augment the few real speedway riders International matches were arranged, China v Cocos islanders and China v England. Captain of China was Ong Ching Bing, England’s captain was Bobby Waters, but these somewhat farcical international races were not completed.

 

 The diet of the same riders in a mixture of handicap races, record attempts and match races soon palled and by the final meeting 7th June the crowds had dwindled to nothing and the enterprise collapsed A.J. Reynolds could not be contacted, apparently he had skipped the country, Ceylon his destination, leaving behind a trail of angry creditors. The elusive Reynolds had a couple of brushes with authority before leaving Singapore, he was  up in court for breaking the strict gambling laws by using lucky programme numbers, but the smooth talker failed to shift the blame onto the programme printers and was fined.

The failure of Singapore did not detour another promoter, who persuaded ten Australians and one Englishman to join him in a tour of the Phillipines and Shanghai in China later the same year.

Original documents are rare but ot is know that a queensland speedcar collector has original Singapore programs. I was at Ipswich museum in 2017 when eddie Abraham brought in some original programes he obtained from a collector in Kingaroy.

The Second Asian Adventure 1930 researched by Tony Webb

The basis of my story is that in 2016 I was able to acquire a collection of newspaper cuttings, an original Shanghai time’s newspaper and photographs of the ill fated tour of China

In April 1930 11 Australian riders travelled from Brisbane to the Philippines to compete in a six week season of racing at the Nozeleda baseball ground Manila. By May not a wheel had been turned on the track and the intrepid adventurers they were en route for Shanghai, China. 

Shanghai was then a very cosmopolitan city and it had a large European population which also included military personnel. All the trappings of European culture were available including 2 dog tracks

 The riders concerned are unlikely to be known to British fans, they include Billy Lunn Yeronga ,  Mannie Scofell Brisbane, Les Lawrence Brisbane, Harold Meston, Les Lawrence, Harry Radford Brisbane, Tommy Tompkins Townsville, Bernie Rein Brisbane. Len Street, Brisbane, Jack Allen, England, Harry Lillingstone Brisbane, and Arthur Yenson. Yenson had emigrated from Britain and did have some experience of motor cycle racing in GB.

All the riders with the exception of Levante were regulars at Davies Park and Deagon Their departure decimated the pool of riders at Deagon and was considered a factor in its demise.

The promoting company was Velodromes Inc, registered in America. President. G.E. Mardon. Speedway manager A.W Beaumont. The promoter was Les Levante a traveller illusionist, known as the great Levante but real name Leslie Cole from Wangarratta Victoria, who had been working in Queensland and saw the chance to cash in on the speedway promotion recruiting the riders from Deagon and Davies park with promises of fortunes to be made..

The Cole theatrical  family, a trio composed  of Cole, his wife Gladys Costin and Esme (acting as assistants for Cole), toured the globe. During which they traveled out of Australia to the PhilippinesMalaya (now split into Malaysia and Singapore), with the speedway party and then after the collapse of the shanghai project they continued on to  BorneoIndia, Russia, China, Japan and England.[The world tour, which was Cole's first, lasted till 1940

. I have in my possession an original letter, signed by all the eleven riders. This document excludes all claims for compensation  by the riders against the promoter and hold Levante responsible. A strange document and one can only speculate on why the riders decided to throw their livelihood into the hands of Levante. As it transpired it was a foolish decision on the part of the riders as Levante absconded with the funds and the the riders were left high and dry with no recourse to the promotion company!. They survived only by the support of ex pats and the local community. Anyway I am getting ahead of myself here.

The opening night of the Speedway was on the 1st of June, attendance is recorded as being 4,000.  The shanghai Sunday times of which I have an original copy out lined the progam of events under the headline dirt course speedway. The program was  eight events with cash prizes of $500, 300 and 50 for the final of the the night. The Asiatic petroleum company put up  a shell silver gauntlet and sash, other trophies were  the john haig shield and gande price ltd trophy. Sadly I have no results; the track was at the stadium, venue of the shanghia greyhound club.

The publicity had Les Lawrence riding a Bitza and billed as holding two world records. Yenson was billed as Scotty, Rein as Bull, Meston as Hurricane, Allen asSsmiler and Radford as Cyclone all in line with the trend of names at the time

The diet of the same 11 riders, some would say low grade riders soon palled and by the first week in July racing ceased Talk now was of building a new track in French town close to the under construction cycling velodrome (board track), by the end of August

There was still no sign of speedway racing. Stories in the press suggested five Chinese riders were on the way from Singapore, no doubt from the now defunct Alkaff Gardens Speedway. The new track may have been constructed but further research is required to find the details.

Levante had now departed from Shanghai along with a fair part of the riders funds. leaving the riders stranded in Shanghia with the Japanese army approaching and a very unsafe place to be

Most of the riders found some work in Shanghai and eventually they all returned to Brisbane in twos and threes. Billy Lunn who owned a garage in Yeronga was the first to come home on the Taiping in early August. Harry Radford and Len Street were next on the Nel-Ore on August 22. A month elapsed before Bill Rein, Harry Lillistone and Townsvilles star Tommy Tompkin arrived on the Tanda on September 29. The remainder of the party Jack Allen, Arthur Yenson and Mannie Schofell came home the next week. All three started riding again at Davies Park on November 12 1930

Harold Meston obtained a government position with Shanghai Water Corporation and stayed in China until 1938. Les Lawrence also stayed on in a Government position until 1938 when the advancing war made it unsafe. The wife and four children of Les Lawrence were rescued under heavy gun fire by the British battleship HMS Duncan and taken to the safety of a P and O Liner. Les stayed on for a bit longer.

 What became of the riders after their adventure? Tommy Tompkins, Arthur Yenson, Jack Allen and Harry Lillistone continued riding in Queensland until the mid thirties. Billy Lunn returned to the family garage in Yeronga, Morrie Scofell had a taxi business in Brisbane and Harold Meston resumed riding in 1938. Les Lawrence was the uncle of the late Charles Wheeler a well  respected speedway benefactor in later years.  Of Yenson, Street, Rein  and Radford little is known to the author

The Great Levante became a famous  performer in theatres around the world and was the sole benificary of the Ill fated adventure. Deagon never recovered from the loss of the main competitors for most of 1930.

Davies Park likewise had a brief spell of revival after the riders returned but never really recovered and closed its doors in March 1931

Speedway racing took place with varied degrees of popularity in PNG, and Manillia in the Phillipines in the seventies but it was not until 2007 that the next revival took place .this was under the most unusual circumstances with unlimited finances available. This is the third story of speedway in Asia.

Kuala Lumpar Malaysia 2006-2008.

I

Ivan Mauger, six times world speedway champion had gone into promotion with great success  after retiring from racing. Always a visionary Ivan could see the potential for South East Asia to be included in the FIM Speedway World final series with the growing interest in motorsport in the region. Before he could put his own plans in operation he had a surprise invitation from the Malaysian Motor Sports Organisationand Competitors Association in December 2006, A call to help them set up speedway on an International standard, the very thing he had in mind.

 At the same time the Government of the City of Kualar Lumpar were experiencing a serious safety and social problem with young motorcyclists racing around the city streets and suburbs..In 2006 the Minister for sport came up with an a radical  scheme, again enlisting Ivans help.

The Sports ministers plan which he put to Ivan was to eventually build a motorcycle speedway at Bakur Jillia Peoples Park , they would supply smaller speedway bikes and encourage the youth to race on a track instead of the city streets. The grand plan was to have a full international meeting by October and eventually a round of the world championships

To start the process they would build a practice track on the out skirts of  Ivan  was appointed to oversee the building of the tracks, organising the bikes and running the training schools. Ivan spent 10 days a month in Malaysia from April to November  working on the project

There were 260 applicants for the first session in May 2007. Ivan recruited a former UK National league rider as assistant coach, Linden Warner a former Suffolk boy who had raced for Mildenhall, Ipswich, Hackney and Birmingham and was now a KL resident was the man.

Things happen fast in Malaysia by September the  new stadium was ready to FIM standards. The go ahead authorities had purchased all ivans long track stadium equipment from New Zealand and the project was ready. Ivan and Linden had groomed a number of Malaysian youngsters on smaller bikes. The government were so impressed they instructed Ivan to purchase 12 speedway bikes from the Jawa factory

 To draw the crowds and bill the events as international, three new Zealand riders Sam Taylor, Andrew Aldridge and Ricky Wells were invited to be resident riders. The addition of japanese rider  Hideaka Oti and Englishman Linden Warner completed  the International content.The meetings consisted of races for the smaller bikes and the youngsters advancing to full Jawa speedway bikes as they progressed.

Meetings were held well into 2018 with world class presentation and great trophies being donated, then the bombshell dropped. The Sports Minister lost his position and the three year  Government support was withdraw as the new sports minister was not in favour of the scheme. Political backlash.. Ivan battled on but there was not enough spectators to keep the show running. There was no shortage of young Malaysians wanting to ride but no bums on seats and once again speedway in Asia came to a halt.

It is the authors opinion that speedway today would be in a better position today  if the visions  and creation of international ties by  Ivan Mauger on a global scale had come to fruitition. There is magnificent footage on U TUBE and other web sites.

So ends my writings on speedway in Asia, I welcome any further information. On binbooks@iinet.net.au 

 
 

 
 
Early Riders Falling
 
 
Speedway has always been a very dangerous sport.  In the early days, the bikes were not very powerful but the bikes often unseated their riders as shown above.
 

 
 
Jack Wood 1929 In Denmark
 
 

No need for goggles or a face mask for this Douglas rider. Do you know who he is John

John says:  I thought the above rider was Sprouts Elder but once again I am wrong!
Hello John  I have found some information about this picture.  This rider is named Jack Wood .Picture taken in 1929 in Denmark (Copenhagen)
Greetings Sebastian Sojka
Dave Gifford says: Hi John mate, the Douglas rider with no goggles or face mask looks very much like Sprouts Elder to me but I wouldn't put money on it unless it was yours! Not only is he riding without the aforementioned items but I bet he doesn't have four helmets painted different colours and a flunky to follow him around the pits with a hand held fan between races! I also suspect he wouldn't have had a pit crew of four to put fuel and oil in the bike, and if a race didn't go as planned he would have probably said "I screwed up" not, " we missed the setup!!" As for airbag safety fences? The shame would have killed him!
I think I might be having one of my cynical moods but flowers and peace as always,     giffy.
John says:  Thanks Dave, your words echo my thoughts!  Nicki Pedersen springs to mind re the fan to keep him cool.  I could do with a fan wielding flunky when I have to deal with my in-laws!
 
 

 
 
 England v Overseas
 
 

Bob Bath says: Hi John, the rider in the strange race jacket is Chum Taylor-World Finalist in I think 1955-rode for Poole in last year of Prov Lge. and Cradley Heath in 1966-I recall seeing him then though that was at the tail end of his career.

Chris Sweetman says: This race jacket was used for a Test Match series, England v Overseas in the mid 1960s.
 
 

 
 
Jack Parker &
Bluey Wilkinson
 
Courtesy of Bob Newton
 
Jack Parker left and Bluey Wilkinson right. Picture would have been taken in Australia but no other info is to hand so if you can supply any info please email John
 

 
 
"W"
Race Jacket!
 
Courtesy of Graham Gleave
 
Graham sent me this picture.  I hadn't come across the race jacket before.  I first thought Weymouth but couldn't find a match then Graham said "This is Ivor Davies and the team... Wolverhampton Wasps!
John says my investigations show Wolverhampton were the Wasps from 1951 to 1954.  In 1950 the team was known as the Wulfrunians!   Wolves is such an obvious nickname for Wolverhampton I wonder why they were ever called anything else
 
 

 
 
Craig Pendlebury's Photos
 
Craig says: Here are some recent (2013) pictures of Reg Wilson, Doug Wyer, Neil Machin and myself taken at Torun when we went to watch Tai Woffinden win the world title...Reg & Doug with Per Jonsson, Reg & me with Jerzy Szezakiel, 4 of us with Jan Zabik who was at Sheffield briefly he is manager at Torun and one with old girlfriend!
 
 
Doug Wyer, Jan Zabik Neil Machin, Reg Wilson Craig Pendlebury
 
 
Doug Wyer, Craig Pendlebury and Neil Machin
 
 
Doug Wyer, Craig Pendlebury and Neil Machin with A.N. Other
 
 
Reg Wilson, Per Jonsson and Doug Wyer
 
 
Jan Zabik, Craig Pendlebury, ? Reg Wilson and Doug Wyer
 
 
Craig Pendlebury, Jerzy Szezakiel, Reg Wilson
 
 

 
 
Speedway & Ice News
 
 
 
I have 5 1953 Speedway and Ice News magazines for sale.  I have decided to sell them to raise funds for paying my website hosting fees.  The 5 Magazines are shown below.  Send me an email if you wish to discuss John
 
 
May 6 1953
 
Courtesy of John's Speedway News Magazines
 
Norwich v Birmingham.  Fred Pawson, Aub Lawson,  Alan Hunt & Eric Boothroyd
 

 
 
May 13 1953
 
Courtesy of John's Speedway News Magazines
 
Old Meadowbank, Leicester's Alf Parker and Edinburgh's Harold Fairhurst
 

 
 
May 20 1953
 
 
Courtesy of John's Speedway News Magazines 
 
The above cover photograph was taken at Belle Vue during their match with Norwich.  Riders are left to right Merv Neil, Roy Craighead, Peter Craven and Willie Wilson 
 

 
 
May 27 1953 
 
 
Courtesy of John's Speedway News Magazines  
 
 

 
 
1953 Leading Scorers 
 
 
Courtesy of John's Speedway News Magazines   
 
 

 
 
Southampton v Wolverhampton 
 
 
Courtesy of John's Speedway News Magazines    
 
 

 
 
Harringay 5-1 
 
 
Courtesy of John's Speedway News Magazines     
 
The strong Harringay pairing of Jeff Lloyd and Arthur Atkinson have been clocking up many 5-1's.
 

 
 
June 3 1953
 
Courtesy of John's Speedway News Magazines 
 
Old Meadowbank action on this issue's cover. Monarch's Dick Campbell battling with Glasgow's Tommy Miller
 
So there they are 5 issues of Speedway and Ice News from 1953, 65 years ago.  The mags are in excellent condition and if you want to buy/discuss them send me an email John
 
 

 
 
Circa 1950 'ish
Daily Mail Book
 
John Skinner says:  I received the following scans some time ago and cannot now recall whom I got them from. If the person who sent me them will get in touch email me here John.  I will be happy to give you credit for supplying them or if you prefer anonymity that is fine, I will leave the items as they are.
 
There are no photographs in this book.  The writer and illustrator was Roland Davies, he has used his artwork instead of photos and it works for me. Roland did a brilliant job.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

1930's Argentina

 
 
 

The above rider looks like Frank Varey and because the bike is unusual, a Scott, ridden by Frank at the time, can you confirm John

 
 
Who are these 1930's riders in Argentina. One is Frank Varey, can you name the others John
 
Terry Stone says: number 13 on top of car Eric Langton number 3on wing is Frank Varey, number 2 on other side ? is it Sprouts Elder. 
John says: Yes 3 out of 3 Terry you get my special prize of a round of applause clap clap!
 
Arnie Gibbons says: The attached programme scans are from the 20 November 1930 River Plate programme - River Plate v Team Huracan. Note the riding numbers match those in the photo for Langton and Varey, but Elder is listed as 4 with no rider allocated no 2.
 
 
 
 
 
Sprouts Elder
In Argentina
 
 

Sprouts Elder in Argentina.  Do you have any info on Argentina speedway. John

 
 

 
 
Wall Of Death 
 
 
There were many Speedway Riders who doubled up as Wall of Death Riders.  I have started this Miscellaneous Speedway item as a tribute to the brave guys and girls who rode the wall.  My memory is not great but I know NZ World Champ Ronnie Moore was also a wall of death rider.  More evidence of speedway's wall of death riders follows below: -
 
 
Russ Pursehouse
Wall of Death & Speedway Rider
 
Kathryn Danzey sent me some pics of her dad: - Russ Pursehouse, he rode speedway at Fleetwood Lancs and was also a top Wall of Death rider.  Kathryn has sent me 8 pictures of her dad.  John says: As a boy, I was fascinated by the wall of death when it appeared once a year, in my home town, Newcastle upon Tyne. The "Travelling Show" that came to Newcastle every year during my childhood had two really old bikes, Red 1920s Indians, I think?
 
So here we go with pictures of Russ Pursehouse (Kathryn's dad)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Russ Pursehouse The Loop Of Death & Speedway  
 
 
Russ was obviously a daredevil and an entertainer, hats off to him for doing the wall and the loop: below are pictures of Russ at Fleetwood Speedway.
 
 
This is Clifford Russell Pursehouse but everyone called him Russ, and when he raced on the speedway, he was apparently, ‘Red Russ”, as he wore red leathers.
 
 
 
John says: Thank you  Kathryn.  Is that you in the above picture?  John
 

I am always on the lookout for interesting items/stories.  If you have one and want to share it then send me an email John

 
Alan Mercer says: Hi John just saw these photos of Russ Pursehouse on your website, I have been looking for this rider's name for 5 years! could you please pass my details to Kathryn Danzey or give me her email so that I can add her fathers name to the riders register I have written. You will find other speedway riders on my website www.vintagewallofdeath.co.uk together with my riders register that still changes daily, regards Alan Mercer
 
John says: It's  always good to hear from someone who found his visit to www.defunctspeedway.co.uk useful.  I have put Alan in touch with Russ Pursehouse's daughter so both of these visitors to my website have had a worthwhile connection and may mutually, get a whole lot more out of it?
 

 
 
Clem Beckett on "The Wall"
 
 
Courtesy of Les Drury
 
Courtesy of Les Drury
 

 
 
Wall Of Death &
Speedway List
 
Alan Mercer's List Of Speedway Riders Whom Also Rode The Wall Of Death, dozens of speedway riders rode the wall.
 
 
There may be other speedway riders not on Alan's list, who doubled up on the "Wall" side shows.  If you know of any and have documentary evidence or better still photos of them doing wall related stunts please email me John Skinner and NO! Skid Skinner is no relation of mine.  I wish he was!
 
John Skinner says: Alan Mercer has been able, so far, to answer my questions on the Wall, Globe and Loop.  I asked Alan to advise me of any speedway riders (not on his list above) who rode any of the 3 sideshows as well as the speedway tracks.  I have started the following list: -
   
Rider                             Speedway Track or Other Comment
   
Roy Mahon One of two Kiwi's brothers don't know Roy's brother's forename
? Mahon The Mahon brothers came over from NZ for late 30's early 40's here in the UK     
Robert "Brisbane " Smith * I assume Robert was from Brisbane in Oz?
Charlie Oates  Is one more speedway rider to add to the Wall of Death list
Charles Hornby Is another speedway rider to add to the Wall of Death list
   
 
* Robert "Brisbane" Smith     A sad report from the "Times" in 1931: -
 
Alan Mercer says: Hi John thanks for the reply, Kathryn has already emailed  me so that's a success. If you go on my website and go to the riders register, open the register and at the top there is Other Notes, if you click on that all the speedway riders I have found should come up. If not drop me a line and I will send you a copy. Attached is a copy of what I see on the screen. If any names I have missed please drop me a line also, I love finding new ones.
The array of bikes will shock you Indian Scouts are favoured still by the worlds best riders. If you tried for a wall at your event today you would be spoilt for choice, there are 5 on the road, one more currently in storage and another nearly completed after a 20 year lay up. There is a Harley Davidson Pea Shooter about to rejoin a wall in the US and I know of at last one Brough that went on the wall as a bet in the early sixties, there are bantams and 500 and 650 bsa and triumphs still in use also plus in Asia there are loads of 2 strokes, cheers Alan
Alan Mercer says:  Sorry to disappoint you but my research has turned up Robert "Brisbane" Smith being British, born in sunny Kilburn. Cheers Alan

 
 
The Globe Of Death
 
 
Circa 1930's Another fairground attraction closely related to the Wall of Death sideshows. Riders in the Globe of Death, looped the loop, riding upside down briefly. 360 degrees inside a globe of steel mesh, whereas riders on the wall did not ride upside down just horizontally, both sideshows took a lot of courage and I am not surprised that quite a few speedway riders also rode in these attractions.
 
 
Sheffield Speedway's
Billy Bellhouse
 
 
Billy Bellhouse was a former Sheffield Speedway rider who between 1932 and 1935 travelled throughout Europe on a Wall of Death show. His main specialty was in fact the Globe of Death, on which he performed gravity defying leaps on his 'Indian' motorbike.
 
Whilst performing in Spain in 1935, Billy Bellhouse had an accident and had to travel back to England. Although his love of motorbikes continued, he never performed on the Wall of Death again and opened a fish and chip shop business in Sheffield, a trade which his son Jim has continued.
 
John Skinner says:  This section on speedway riders whom tried their hands on the Wall or Globe is very interesting.  I would be happy to receive more photo scans or stories on these fairground attractions as long as there is a speedway connection.  So if you have items I would love to hear from you.  John
 

 
 
Skid & Alma Skinner,
Nee Johnson
 
John Skinner says:  My namesake Skid Skinner was no relation to me, maybe I should change my name from John to Skid for a laugh!  Or maybe not!!
 
 
 
Skid's wife, Alma Skinner/Johnson about to ride pillion on the wall.  Skid rode the wall but was better known on the speedways.  I will bet that riding the Wall on the back of the old Indian Scout is harder than riding on the front.  Skid had a seat and handlebars whereas Alma only has small footholds and her husband to hold onto.
 

 
 
Wall of Death & Speedway Rider Dick Campbell
 
 
Dick came to the UK from New Zealand as a wall-of-death rider in the circus, and only took to speedway when he saw the sport at Belle Vue, Manchester in the 1940s.  He rode for many seasons for Edinburgh joining the Monarchs in 1948
 

 
 
More Speedway/Wall Related Pictures
 
From The Wall Of Death Man: Alan Mercer   
 
1930 Bob Lee
(Restall) Germany  
 
 

 
 
Curly Can & Wynn Souter UK  
 
 
John says: The lady (Wynn) looks very young.  Maybe like speedway, riding the "Wall" is for youngsters.
Tom Marriott says: John Curly Can AKA Curly Lee is non other than a very young Goldy Restall. All three Restall brothers rode the wall in England Canada and Germany. before the war. They got out of Germany when the brown shirts were beating people up in the streets.
 

 
 
Speedway Promoter & Wall Of Death Owner Fred Mockford
 
 
John says: Alan Mercer sent me this picture. It is of the New Cross speedway team.  The promoter Fred Mockford had a Wall of Death sideshow and his New Cross Speedway riders Stan Greatrex, Nobby Key and Ron Johnson also rode for him on the "Wall".  Stan broke his leg on his first show on the wall for him!, and I thought speedway was dangerous!
 

 
 
1939 Poster
 
 

 
An Australian
"Wall" Rider
 
 
I believe in the "Land Down Under" water swirls down a plughole in the opposite direction as it does here in the UK and strangely I think Aussie and New Zealander Wall riders went around the wall the opposite way to us. My evidence to make such a claim, "the above photo"
So the photo shows An Australian Wall rider. Going the other way around the wall! Not really sure but I think Clockwise down under is the opposite to us in the Northern Hemisphere!  Or is it an urban myth? 
 
Alan Mercer's Wall of Death Website
Enter Wall of Death
 
 

 
 
Reg Smythe's Speedway World (Cartoons)
 
 
 
 
Nigel Bown has helped the website a number of times and he has sent me the Skid Sprocket Cartoon Booklet by Reg "Andy Capp" Smythe see the images shown above. 
John says:  I have read the booklet and was tempted to include all 70 cartoons on the website but that wouldn't be fair as I don't own the rights to them.  I am showing a handful of Reg's cartoons by way of an advertisement for the booklet.
 
 
 
 
 
John says:  My thanks to Nigel Bown for sight of the booklet.  If you would like to buy a copy then try emailing: skidsprocket@gmail.com
 
 

 
 
Speedway Rider Challenged the Wall and Won
 
Courtesy of John's Speedway News Magazines
 

 
John says: I asked our Wall of Death contributor, Alan Mercer, did the 1930 era British Speedway bikes, Douglas, Rudge and JAP ever appear on the Wall?
 
Alan Mercer says: Hi John, there is little literature on the early bikes used in the UK, the Indians were still favoured as the trick bike (as now) as long as it could be made oil leak free it was used. Identification from photos has also been  hard, showing anything could be ridden, a 1000cc Vincent Black Shadow for example has been used on the Wall on occasions , cheers Alan
 
John says: If this "Miscellaneous" Item has made you want to see more Wall of Death stuff, visit Alan Mercer's great website www.vintagewallofdeath.co.uk
 
If you have any Wall of Death stories featuring speedway riders or photos please  email me
 
 

 
 

Odense 1952 Denmark v England Test Match

 
Courtesy of George Winstanley
 
Courtesy of George Winstanley
 

John says: Jack Winstanley's son George has sent me these images. His dad Jack popped up all over the place and was here in Odense 1952.  Can you name any of the guys pictured above?  John

 
Terry Stone says: Photos from George Winstanley are from Denmark 1952 Left to Right Howdy Byford 5th Phil Bishop 10th Bill Kitchen
 
Courtesy of George Winstanley
 
Can you name any of the guys pictured  John  Terry Stone says: Bill Kitchen is on the mike
 
Dane Soeren Kjaer has been in touch, Soeren says: The 3 items shown above are from an International between Denmark and England, 29th June 1952. I have some details which are shown below: -
 
Denmark Won 54 pts                  England Lost 53 pts                                                     
         
Leif Bech    15 pts. Bill Kitchen 18 pts.   
Orla Knudsen  13 pts Bob Beaker   16 pts.
Kiehn Berthelsen 12 pts.    Terry Courtnell 11 pts.   
Erhard Fisker 5 pts.     Lloyd Goffe 5 pts.  
Irving Irvinger   5 pts.  Phil Bishop  2 pts.  
Morian Hansen 4 pts.    Jack Davis 1 pt.  
 
Soeren then emailed me later saying:- by looking deeper into my files I found a second meeting the same year (1952), which I give you below. This time George's dad Jack Winstanley was listed in the England team.
 
24th August 1952, English - Danish team match:
 
After the narrow defeat to Denmark on June 29. There was no doubt the English team was determined to get revenge, and indeed they got it.
A convincing victory 64 - 44.
 
Team line up, However, no individual scores mentioned.
 
 
Denmark  44    England 64
   
Orla Knudsen Bill Kitchen
Leif Beck  Colin Clarke
Leif Hirsborg   Kid Curtis  (possibly Jack Davis?)
Oluf Elsberg  Phil Bishop
Kaj Larsen Lloyd Goffe
Morian Hansen Jack Winstanley
Reserve: Lindegaard Petersen  
 
John says: Not sure about Kid Curtis aka Jack Davis!  Kid Curtis was Fred Curtis imo but my thanks to Soeren for the information.
 
The last words on the Odense topic go to Soeren Kjaer he says:
After taking a closer look into the letter published, I can see that the writer mentions the Danish Championship final, which was ridden on October 5. same year.
Therefore I find it likely, the photos  are from this august meeting rather than the former, also  based on the name Jack Winstanley.  But Howdy Byford is not listed anywhere.
 
 

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.


Home
Contact Me
A-Z of Tracks
Name The Rider Part 1
Name The Rider Part 2
Name The Rider Part 3
Miscellaneous 1
Miscellaneous 2
Miscellaneous 3
Miscellaneous 4
Miscellaneous 5
Miscellaneous 6
Miscellaneous 7
Reg Fearman 1
Reg Fearman 2
Reg Fearman 3
Reg Fearman 4
Reg Fearman 5
Reg Fearman 6
Reg Fearman 7
Reg Fearman 8
Reg Fearman  Autobiography 2014
Eric Williams
Bob Andrews
Ivan Mauger 1
Ivan Mauger 2
Ivans 2010 Book
Dave Gifford Page
R Spencer Oliver Photos
Helen Jobson Photos
John Chaplin Photos
Ivan Stevenson Photos
John Hyam Page 1
John Hyam Page 2
John Hyam Page 3
John Hyam Page 4
Tony Webb Photos
Jim Henry Page 1 1928
Jim Henry Page 2 1929
Jim Henry Page 3 1930
Jim Henry Page 4 1931
Jim Henry Page 5 1932
Jim Henry Page 6 1933-57
Graham Gleave Page
Argentine Tour 1929-30
Les Drury's Page
Norman Jacobs Page 1
Bill Fletcher Photos
Peter Orpwood
Veterans
Oval Track Racing
Pre Speedway
Cigarette Cards
World Championship
Books
Bikes 1
Bikes 2
Bikes 3
Bikes 4
Bikes 5
Bikes 6
Bikes 7
Bikes 8
Links



Copyright 2005 John Skinner. All rights reserved.  Advertisers / sponsors are welcome on this website. email me for the price.