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Arthur Payne, Australian speedway rider, born on the 28th August 1923 in Sydney arrived in the UK in 1947 at the age of 24 with no bike or equipment, he did have the company of Australian riders Bill Harris and Steve Langton,  I don’t know if they travelled to the UK together but they all joined the Tamworth Hounds. Establishing himself rather slowly he did manage to finish the season in the top half of the teams averages.

Leaving Tamworth at the end of the 1948 season being transferred for the 1949 season to the Birmingham Brummies, Arthur’s results improved throughout the season and when Birmingham was promoted to Division One Arthur found himself a top league rider.  The following year 1949, his team partner Stan Dell suffered a bad crash on the track that involved Arthur although it was in no way his fault but it left him to continue the season without the partner with whom he had been team riding and lead to the retirement of Stan Dell the following year.

Fortunately for Birmingham, Arthur Payne formed another successful relationship on the track this time with Graham Warren if anything with even more success than that he enjoyed with Stan Dell, Arthur must have been one of those team riders who seem to be around far less today. 1950 and Brummies Captain, Graham Warren, was unable to ride due to an injury sustained whilst racing in Australia during the winter months, Arthur was asked to take over as captain but once Graham Warren returned to the team he took up the captains position again allowing Arthur to return to the ranks and this saw an improvement in Arthur’s points standing for that season although his scoring at home was always far higher than he managed away.

Towards the end of the following season Arthur Payne announced that he would be retiring at the end of the season – no reason given then or since, it was just personal – anyway in the event he was asked to return to the Brummies team when at the start of the 1952 season they were struck with injury and struggling to cope with two of their heat leaders out of action, so a few weeks in to the new season Arthur responded and once he was back on the track and again team riding with Graham the old fire was back and the personal reasons seemed to disappear as he then remained with the Birmingham Brummies until 1954 when with his form dipping he decided it was time to retire again and a meeting in July of that year was to be his last.

Reading this back it sounds like a middle of the road sort of career which I suppose it was, Arthur was part of the back bone of league speedway but his career did have it’s highlights, he was capped a number of times for Australia and qualified for the World Speedway Final on 3 occasions his best result being 5th at his second appearance.


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