Historical Dates and Information
1946 Two Cycle Speedway Leagues Recorded.
Both East London and Glasgow were the very first Cycle Speedway recorded leagues, thus the sport was officially born.
1948 Manchester, Stockport & District League formed.
On 11th November 1948 the Manchester, Stockport & District League was formed, this being Cycle Speedway's oldest League.
1950 NACSA formed.
On 14th January 1950 the National Amateur Cycle Speedway Association(NACSA) was formed at the offices of the News Chronicle, Bouverie Street, London.
1950 Cycle Speedway bike launched.
In March 1950 J.A.Phillips launched the Speedtrack Cycle Speedway machine, this bike having no brakes nor gears, and coming complete with the Avon Skidway Special tyre on the front and the Avon Skidway Gripster tyre on the back. The bike also had the infamous 'Cowhorn' handlebars. Len Silver helped design the bike especially for Cycle Speedway.
1951 Cycle Speedway Gazette is launched.
In May 1951 the Cycle Speedway Gazette was launched by it's Editor John Leith of Coventry.
The National Team Championship Trophy was purchased at a cost of £85 and 15 shillings.
1958 February 26th.
Findon Cycle Speedway Club formed in Adelaide, Australia.
1958 BCSF is formed.
In 1958 the British Cycle Speedway Federation(BCSF) was formed in London by two go-ahead names in the sport, these being Derek Bacon and Vic Cowell. Three founder Leagues were represented at the first official meeting at Wandsworth, these being North West Middlesex, Southern Premier and Southend. North London also attended, but took no part in the proceedings as they had previously voted to stay out for the present, but would watch the Federation's arrangements with interest.
1958 First World Individual Championship.
The first World Individual Championship Final was held at the Minklerstraat track, in Hilversum, Holland, on the 14th June. The first World Champion was 22 year old Martin van de Brakel(Hollandse Welpen), who raced to a 15 point max. Runner up was Dixie Dean(Wembley All Stars) after a run-off with Pete Blackwell(Kingstanding Monarchs).
1960 British League is launched.
At the beginning of the 1960 season, the British Cycle Speedway Federation launched it's new showpiece league, naming this the 'British League'.
1961 Cycle Speedway Annual is launched.
During the 1961 season the Cycle Speedway Annual was launched by it's Editor's Harold Smith and Dave Stevens. The Annual was published from 1961 - 1962, missing 1963, and again being published from 1964 - 1966.
1962 Home Counties League formed.
In 1962 the Home Counties League was formed, and by 1965 fifteen teams were racing under it's format, with 275 riders registered, 167 seniors and 108 juniors. By 1966 this had risen to nineteen teams.
1965 Dutch Tour of England.
In 1965 the last remaining Cycle Speedway team in Holland, "De Hollandse Welpen", sent a team to England to represent Holland. Their itenary included matches against Beckenham, South London, Tottenham, Leicester and Edmonton(on their tarmac track). The team consisted of: Herman van Boeijen, Fred van den Dolder, Anton Kok, Johan Koudijs, Donald Reiche and Freek van der Wildt.
1967 Sport Collapses in HOLLAND.
The sport in Holland suffered a major blow with the news that Hollandse Welpen had folded. Welpen were formed some time ago by the Flying Dutchmen club joining forces with various other clubs to make one large club run by a committee. The club staged a number of international matches and hosted visits from British club sides. Ironically it was this that proved to be the club's downfall. The visit of Granton Griffins and Bristol CSC greatly increased the amount of work which had to be done by officials and it seems the committee broke up under the strain of the organisation involved. The sport will be much the poorer for the loss of quality riders like Donald Reiche and Johan Koudijs.
1967 the BCSF Disbands.
During 1967 the British Cycle Speedway Federation(BCSF) disbanded. Often referrred to as the 'Feds', the federation lasted nine years, and during it's administration raised the level of the sport in both presentation and professionalism.
1968 English League formed.
In 1968 the English League was formed, this replacing the 'British League'.
1968 End of Cycle Speedway Gazette.
1968 saw the demise of the Cycle Speedway Gazette, which was then the sports longest surviving magazine. It came to an abrupt end in June after 342 editions.
1969 Spokesman Magazine is launched.
The Spokesman Magazine was launced during 1969 by Kingstanding's(Birmingham) Harold Smith.
1969 Avon Tyres Announcement.
The Avon Rubber Company announced it's plan to stop production of the "Skidway Gripster" cycle speedway tyres. In a statement from it's head office in Melksham, Avon confirmed that they had ceased to manufacture any cycle tyres following a company re-organisation. The final batch of "Gripster" tyres was distributed to the trade in September.
1969 New scoring system announced.
In 1969 the English League announced a new scoring system, this to be a 4-3-2-1, which would replace the 3-2-1-0.
1971 Historic Day as Top Officials Come Together.
Representatives of the four leading Associations in England came together at a meeting at Uxbridge on 12th December 1971, with the intensions of forming a single controlling body by 1973. NACSA were represented by Chairman Brian Moston, who stated that the association had 35 member clubs, mainly from the North of England, and that they had in place both junior and senior Individual and team championships. The English League was represented by it's General Secretary Bill Gill, who stated that the league had 11 members, and were hoping to expand to 14 by 1972. Two area league competitions for both junior and seniors were in place, these being the Gold Cup knock-out competition and the Individual Championships. Chairman of the Southern Counties John Richardson stated that as the newest of all the leagues represented they had a line up of 10 clubs for 1972, with competitions in place for both junior and senior riders. The East Anglian Association was represented by it's chairman Mike Parkins, who informed the meeting that having started with five clubs in 1969, there were now 16 members for 1972. Bill Gill spoke at length about establishing a united sport in order to obtain recognition by central government and by county and local authorities. He continued that this in turn would lead to funding from the Sports Council, stating that local councils should provide cycle speedway tracks with the funds available, just as they build many other sports facilities, and that cycle speedway should not have to fund and provide their very own facilities. Mr Vic Cowell spoke of the need to set up an Advisory Council for a period of two years, with the suggestion that the new Council would consist of the eight members present at Uxbridge, this to be agreed by the respective associations.
1972 New Constitution Adopted.
The Objectives and Constitution of the new Cycle Speedway Council were formulated and adopted during 1972. The Cycle Speedway Council agreed that former NACSA Championships should form the basis of the National Championships.
1972 New Clubrooms at Findon, Australia.
In Australia, new clubrooms at Findon(Adelaide) have just been completed at a cost of $7,000. The money was borrowed from the local council and the club has 10 years to repay the loan. The building is 60ft by 31ft and has been furnished with 100 chrome chairs and 20 laminex tables at a cost of $1,000. Findon are also building a boxing ring and purchasing gymnastic equipment so the club members can keep fit. It will also provide activity for them during the off-season which is in July & August of each year. The clubrooms at Findon were officially opened on May 21st.
1973 First Cycle Speedway Council Annual Meeting.
On Sunday 18th November at the Horspath Village Hall, the newly formed Cycle Speedway Council had their first ever Annual General Meeting. Discussion regards the scoring system plus the programme formulae were the main items on the agenda. The Council voted narrowly in favour of retaining the 3-2-1-0 scoring system, but next year will see major changes in the way the National Individual Championships are run. Local and Regional qualifying rounds will reduce the entry to 64 riders who will contest the final stages over a three day weekend. The Council voted in favour of Rod Witham's and Mike Parkin's proposal, and it now seems likely that East Anglia will stage the "new look" finals next summer.
A new National Executive Committee which will control all aspects of the sport throughout the UK was elected as follows: Chairman - Brian Moston; Secretary - Bill Gill; Treasurer - Mel Perkins; Fixtures Secretary - Dave Blinston; Press Officer - Jimmy Cobain; Public Relations - Ron Johnson; Referees - Mick Little; Minutes Secretary - Sandra Cobain.
The objectives of the Cycle Speedway Council include gaining full recognition from the National Sports Council and other bodies including local authorities. It is hoped funding will be forthcoming from some of these organisations.
On the National Competitions scene, the Council will take over the British Team Championship and the National Senior & Junior Individuals, but the Junior Team Trophy and Consolation Trophy - introduced by NACSA only two years ago - will both be dropped.
1974 Spokesman Magazine Ends.
Due to the illness of Harold Smith, the Spokesman magazine ceased circulation. Sadly he was to pass away the following year, being fondly remembered at the time as the longest serving Club Secretary(Kingstanding Monarchs), and the former editor of both the Cycle Speedway Annual and the Spokesman Magazine.
1974 The English League Review is launched.
At Easter the English League Review was launched in a joint effort by Graham Sutton and Mike Pretty. This was originally published on a fortnightly basis, but switched to a monthly edition which enabled the standard to be raised, with the inclusion of photographs in May 1975. The Review came to an end in December 1977, after no successor could be found for Graham, who was now involved with a new publication, the SPOKESMAN.
1974 First National Finals Week-End.
The first National Finals Week-End was held in Norfolk over the August Bank-Holiday, with 64 riders brought together to contest the Semi Finals and Final itself. The Junior Final being held at Hellesdon Community Centre(home of the Norwich Stars) on the Monday Bank Holiday morning, with the Senior Final being promoted by Galley Pirates at Sloughbottom Park in the afternoon.
1974 Cycle Speedway Handbook launched.
The Cycle Speedway Handbook was launched by Mike Green during 1974.
1975 Annual General Meeting of the Cycle Speedway Council.
At the November meeting of the Cycle Speedway Council it was agreed to replace the traditional scoring system with 4-3-2-1.
1976 Executive Cycle Speedway Council Committee.
Chairman: Mr Brian Moston, 36 West End Avenue, Gatley, Cheadle, Cheshire.
General Secretary: Mr Bill Gill, 67 St Francis Way, Chadwell St Mary, Essex.
Secretary: Mr Paul Bodley, 3 Chesterton, Stirchley, Telford, Shropshire.
Treasurer: Mr Mel Perkins, 112 Ollands Road, Attleborough, Norfolk.
Competitions Liason Officer: Mr Graham Dent, 164 Low Leighton Road, New Mills, Cheshire.
Referee Liason Officer: Mr Jimmy Cobain, 2 Allan Drive, Marple, Stockport, Cheshire.
1977 New Tyre Unveiled.
In early 1977 a new cycle speedway tyre appeared on the market. The 26 by 1 3/8 inches gripster pattern tyre was made by Trelleborg, and imported from Sweden. Although similar to the tread pattern of the Varnamo tyre, the material was considered far more superior.
1977 International Bike Show.
The Cycle Speedway Council had a stand at the International Cycling Exhibition in Harrogate. The No 90 stand was extremely busy, with many of the visitors admiring the silver ware on display, including the magnificent National Team Trophy. One of those who showed great interest in the stand was the Duke of Gloucester, who asked many questions regarding the sport. Amongst the new exhibits on the Trade Day was the Holdsworth Claud Butler 'Speedway' frame, this being unveiled on the day itself. The frame came complete with straight forks made from 531 tubing. The response to this frame was overwhelming, so much so that the company now intend to market a complete machine in time for the 1978 season.
1977 Corona joins ranks with Cycle Speedway.
In March it was announced that soft drinks giant Corona had agreed to sponsor the British Team Championships.
1977 SPOKESMAN is born.
In September a new cycle speedway newspaper was launched, the SPOKESMAN. This was a four page broadsheet, jointly edited by Rod Witham & Graham Sutton, and carried news of the new sponsorship deal with Corona Soft Drinks, plus a preview of the Daily Mirror British Individual Championship. It also had reports of the Cycle Speedway Council's stand at the Harrogate International Festival of Cycling. Photographs were supplied by Roger Nicholson.
1977 Rider Registration Fees Introduced.
A major change for 1978 will be the introduction of a Rider Registration Fee. At the BCSC annual general meeting it was agreed that riders signing for clubs(other than local league clubs) must be licenced and fees are likely to be set at £1 for senior and 50p for junior riders. This was to allow the BCSC to become more financially stable.
1978 BCSC Changes.
At the Annual General Meeting of the BCSC held on January 28th 1978, it was agreed to rename the "National" Championships to the "British". The new title would apply retrospectively to all previous championships.
1978 Executive Cycle Speedway Council Committee.
Chairman: Mr Bill Gill, 67 St Francis Way, Chadwell St Mary, Grays, Essex RM16 4RB.
Secretary: Mr Mel Perkins, 9 Meadow Close, Hethersett, Norfolk NR9 3DZ.
Treasurer: Mr Dave Flemming, 25 Wellington Buildings, Wellington Way, Box, London E3.
Public Relations Officer: Mr Rod Witham, 14 Joy Avenue, Newton Flotman, Norfolk NR15 1RD.
Development Officer: Graham Sutton, 391 Wimborne Road, Oakdale, Poole, Dorset BH15 3EE.
Competition Liason Officer: John Mealing, 159 Handley Green, Basildon, Essex.
Registration Officer: Ian Hodges, 17 Wallshead Way, Church Aston, Newport, Salop.
Referee Liason Officer: John Tombs, 98 Rifford Road, Exeter, Devon.
1978 International Bike Show.
As previously in 1977, the Cycle Speedway Council had a stand at the Harrogate International Bike Show. The stand was bedecked with colourful race jerseys, posters, programmes, bikes, and as before the National Team Cup. The stand attracted many thousands of visitors, including international delegations from Italy, Holland and the Far East. The Italian former world professional road-race cycling champion Adorni was facinated by the technical aspects of the bikes, especially the new off-set spindles. The new Leo cycle speedway tyre was launched at the show, these retailing at £2.00 each.
A new cycling SPORT was also launched at the show, this being 'Bycycle Moto-Cross', or BMX for short, and this is expected to make a big impact in Britain in the future. This sport is currently all the rage in the United States.
1979 A Dream Comes True.
A life long dream for an International Tour to Australia moved one step closer when the Cycle Speedway Council gave it's unanimous seal of approval to the sports most ambitious project in the sport's history. The tour is scheduled to take place in 1981, and will be centred on the Adelaide raceways of Findon & Salisbury. The Sports Council has agreed in principle to a grant aid of 75% towards the teams travel costs.
1979 London Boost.
Administrators in the South East pulled off a major scoop with the announcement that BBC Radio London was to sponsor the London League. In addition to providing a printed fixture list and prizes for the winning teams, Radio London also featured the sport every Friday at 6.10pm.
1979 Knight Rider.
Specialist Cycle Speedway suppliers Ace Cycles unveiled their new Knight frameset. Made of Phoenix tubing throughout, complete with straight forks and fitted headset, the Knight retails at £35.00p.
1979 Wilkinson Sword.
Wilkinson sword announced that they would sponsor an annual Award of Merit scheme. Made by the company's own craftsmen, the 42" sword has a rosewood grip embossed on gold plate and is handsomely mounted on a wall plaque. The trophy was valued at £300.
1979 Poland Prospects.
There were reports that cycle speedway existed in Poland, these being strengthened by a postcard received from Poland by John Mealing(National Competitions Secretary) requesting details of the sport.
1979 21st Birthday Down Under.
The Findon Club celebrated it's 21st Birthday with a party at its Reserve Parade Headquarters. Twenty year old Scottish born Neil Toye won the Australian National Title at Findon in April. This was his first title victory in six years of racing.
1979 24" Tyre is Introduced.
News that initial supplies of the 24" Leo Gripsters were now available was welcomed by the cycle speedway fraternity. Retailing at around £2.00p each, the tyre will satisfy the demands of the 9-13 year olds within the sport who have found it so hard to compete on a full size bike.
1980 Enter TSB as Sponsors.
One of Britain's Biggest Banks will sponsor the British Under 21 Championship this year. The sponsorship deal was announced by the TSB Marketing Director Mr John Warner, who stated how pleased he was to be sponsoring the 1980 Youth Championship. This now means that all the British Cycle Speedway Championships will be sponsored in 1980.
1980 Lions Squad announced for Aussie Tour.
After a lengthy session behind closed doors at London's Bedford College, the National Selectors have chosen the following squad for the 1981 International Test Series in Australia. The Full Squad is: Tour Director - Graham Sutton; Team Manager - Dave Blinston; Riders: Alan Cox(London); Roger Ellis(Wolverhampton); Martin Gamble(Sheffield); Ian Gill(Tilbury); Mike Hack(Stoke); Geoff Patman(Bristol); Phil Pilbrow(Norwich); Pip Serbert(Halifax); Colin Sutton(Poole); John Vallis(Oxford); Rod Witham(Brandon). Non travelling reserves: Andy Dack(Ipswich); Dave Parsons(Wolverhampton); Tony Ridgwell(Southend); Andy Schofield(Hull).
1981 Lions Arrive in Australia.
On the 22nd February 1981 flight BA11 lifted off from Heathrow Airport with the British Lions on board, it's destination Australia. The trip had been made possible by the perseverance of Cycle Speedway Council Promotions Officer Rod Witham, his Aussie counterpart Mick Harley, a valiant band of pioneers, plus a sizeable grant from the Sports Council. Great Britain were unbeaten in the Test Series, winning by seven rubbers to nil, whilst popular Phil Pilbrow from Norwich became the first Cycle Speedway World Master.
1983 First Australian National Team Visits the UK.
In 1983 the first ever Australian National team visited the UK to compete in the World Cup Finals at King George V Playing Fields, Grays, Essex, the home of the Thurrock CSC. England won the event with 49 points, Wales came runners up with 44, Scotland third on 38, and Australia next on 25.
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