Both Sides of the Fence
By Reg Fearman
Published by The History Press -
Speedway legend Reg Fearman lifts the lid on a controversial racing life
The explosive memoirs of a man who for more than 40 years held down every job worth having in speedway racing and knew intimately every individual in the sport worth knowing, will be published to coincide with the 2014 British Grand Prix.
Both Sides of the Fence is an apt title for the long-
Fearman went on to ride for the Hammers in the sport’s National League Division One at the height of speedway’s post-
He was part of the British Lions test side which toured Australia in 1950-
His crowning achievement in club speedway was at Reading, where he refused to accept defeat when the stadium used by his successful Racers team -
When most people in the sport added the Berkshire town to the list of former speedway venues, Reg was the driving force behind the construction of a new stadium on the site of a former rubbish tip, gaining national media headlines in the process.
Reg was a successful international team manager, guiding the British Lions to test series success in Australia in 1973/74 and again in 1977/78. He introduced speedway racing to the Middle East, promoting the sport in Egypt, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi.
On the other side of the fence he was one of the founders of the Provincial League, which revived British speedway in 1960 after the number of operating tracks had reached a post-
In 1973 he was elected chairman of the British Speedway Promoters Association and served seven terms. He had previously been chairman of the British League Division Two from 1968 to 1972.
Both Sides of the Fence is not simply a record of the life and times of one of the sport’s major personalities. It does not shrink from tackling head-
Fearman spotlights the intriguing characters who made speedway so exciting and colourful during the years when the sport challenged football for popularity. He lifts the lid on the behind-
He is disarmingly frank about his less successful speedway ventures, notably his spell in charge of one of the sport’s most iconic clubs, the Poole Pirates. The chapter dealing with the period in question says it all, being entitled The Poole Disasters.
Away from the speedway tracks Fearman recalls his childhood in the old East End of London, the thrill of being a teenage star during the sport’s post-
Now happily re-
Both Sides of the Fence has forewords by five times World Champion Ove Fundin and the late John Berry, one of speedway’s most successful and also most controversial promoters and administrators. The excellence of the book has been endorsed on the dustsjacket by leading speedway historians.
John Chaplin says: “Reg Fearman is the man who knows all of speedway’s secrets … and is prepared to reveal them. He has taken a unique, full-
Brian Belton JP says: From humble origins in London’s East End, this is the story of how Reg Fearman became a local hero with West Ham, the cockney giants of speedway, and went on to represent his country, first as a rider at the tender age of 17, and then as an international manager. A captivating mixture of sporting achievement, politics and business and social history, it also looks at how speedway was resurrected from the doldrums of the late 1950s and dragged into a new ‘Jet Age’ golden era, a time which paved the way for the heights that the sport has enjoyed in the twenty-
Both Sides of the Fence
It will be on sale in Cardiff on British Speedway Grand Prix day on Saturday July 12 2014, available at the memorabilia fair organised by Nick Barber at the Cardiff Blues Rugby Club (10 30am to 4pm), situated adjacent to the Millennium Stadium. Reg Fearman will be in attendance throughout the day to sign copies.
For photo and interview opportunities and/or review copies please contact Helen Bradbury at The History Press on
Philip Dalling on or or