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Mr. Peter Sampson owner of Paradise Wildlife Park again hosted the Celebration of Speedway, all fingers had been crossed for good weather after the recent snow falls.  The crowds turned up in their hundreds for this annual event, including the Mayor of Waltham Abbey, Cllr Antony Watts, who had been invited by Peter. This year much to see for the newcomer and the devotee.   

As usual the celebrities were out in force, Freddie Williams, twice World Speedway Champion, and his charming wife Pat were kept very busy with autograph hunters as were Bert Harkins, Bengt Jansson (who flew in from Sweden), Colin Pratt, it’s a day when fans can get close to their heroes from the past, also a chance to chat to Luke Bowen of the Rye House Team, he said he’s really looking forward to the new season.


One of the other major attractions are the bikes old and new, the cameras were busy clicking around these machines, most no longer working on the speedway tracks but they have seen a lot of racing in the by gone days. Luke Bowen had his current machine on the Rye House speedway stand. There were dozens of stalls to peruse, magazines, DVD’s Photographs, Paintings and if you felt hungry plenty to tempt the appetite.

The raffle proceeds this year was given to the Mike Letch Fund to help raise money for his new wheel chair, the Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund has also contributed, Mike was badly injured at Rye House meeting in the 1970’s and is now resident in Australia. The prizes included signed race jacket signed by Ivan Mauger, 9 times World Champion Speedway and Longtrack Champion. A signed print, tickets for various speedway events in 2012.

A presentation was made to Peter Sampson and the Speedway Museum by John Chaplin in the shape of Ron Clarke’s Odsal blazer that had been donated by Ron’s daughter in the USA.

The day had been a great success and the fans of speedway looked forward to next year’s celebration and to this years racing at their local tracks.

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 Celebration of Speedway 2012

 Copy and photos courtesy of Maggie Radcliffe

Click for Berts Harkins report

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