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Arthur Atkinson born in Nelson, Lancashire in 1911, began riding motorcycles at the very early age of 13, he enjoyed riding trials and grass track before turning to speedway in 1928, just about the first opportunity he would have had from the point of view of both age and track availability.

1928 saw his riding at Blackpool although this was short lived because in 1929 he joined Leeds and became their captain, again he was only with Leeds for one season moving to Wembley Lions in 1930 he was with the team when it won the Southern League, unfortunately, at the last meeting of that, the 1930, season he had a track accident that caused him a head injury that left him unconscious for some while.

1931, during most of this year he did not ride, whether the result of his accident or a reported disagreement with the Wembley management we do not know, perhaps a combination of both. However in September of that year he joined West Ham Hammers where he must have been content because he remained with them until the start of World War II in 1939.

He was awarded his first cap for England in 1936 travelling with the test team to Australia, he had ridden in Australia before as he had won the Western Australia Championship back in 1930, he continued riding for the English team right up to the start of World War II when Arthur joined the Royal Air force.

It appears from the available facts that he was in no hurry to return to the riding side of Speedway following the war but choose instead to manage West Ham with Stan Greatrex during 1949 and in 1950 he and his wife became promoters of the Rayleigh Rockets when the team was first formed but it would seem this was not satisfying enough for him because he returned to track action riding for West Ham in during 1951 moving to Harringay for 1952 and 1953 before retiring for the final time, to concentrate solely on his farm.

Arthur Atkinson qualified for three World Final Championships including the very first in 1936, he was a member of the teams taking various team awards between 1936 and 1938 and in 1938 won the Coronation Gold Cup Best Pairs, anyone know who his partner was?

Arthur was a member of the World Speedway Riders’ Association (formally known as the Veteran Speedways Riders’ Association and originally the Dirt Track Riders’ Association)

Arthur Atkinson

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