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The National Speedway Museum
Ellesmere Port
The Stadium

The stadium was opened in 1968 by Joe Mercer who was at the time the manager of Manchester City Football Club, Ellesmere Port being his home town and where he started his football career. It was not until late in 1971 that Ian Thomas held a Speedway demonstration for a representative of the council and about 400 sundry spectators who watched whilst Colin Tucker and a couple of grass-track riders rode around the edge of the football pitch.

The demonstration must have ticked all the right boxes as the Ellesmere Port Gunners were formed for the 1972 season and the promotion team of Mr Thomas, Bill Carmen and Wally Mawdsley entered the team in the British League Division Two and the first meeting, a challenge against Sunderland, was held on the 28th March, it was a draw.

1973, a management change, Jim Sephton and Ron Nesbit became the joint promoters trading as Hornet Raceways Limited although this was only for a couple of years as in 1975 a new promotion team took over, this time it was Ernie Park and Joe Shaw who saw the Gunners become founder members of the newly formed National League. In 1976 Ernie’s son Richard joined his father making a three way co-promotion until following the sad death of Ernie Park in 1979 when Richard Park and Joe Shaw were joined by Mrs Park.

Speedway at Ellesmere Port came to an end in 1982 after entertaining their supporters for eleven years mainly I understand because promotion and riders could not agree the terms of payment.

Then in 1985 renewed hope for the supporters as Promoter Mervyn Porter reopened the track with a team riding in the National League - but the revival was to be short lived as the track was to close again following a benefit meeting held on Boxing Day for the Gunners skipper Joe Owen who’s crash on the Birmingham track caused injuries that meant Joe would never walk again.

Following that last meeting the track was covered with sand and in 1988 Greyhounds took over the space once ridden by speedway bikes, since then there have been many rumours of the return of Speedway to the venue and indeed a few noise tests have been held but to date (2013) to no avail.

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Information courtesy John Jarvis and his book the Homes of British speedway and our thanks to John Somerville for the photograph of the track