Eric Langton -born 27thSeptember 1907 in Leeds and his first venture into motor sport was as a road racer and he also enjoyed success riding trials bikes. It was not however very long before he tried his hand, and foot atDirt Track racing.
His speedway career started in the late 1920’s atBelle Vue Aceswhere he honed his skills before riding forLeeds Lionsin 1929 the following year returning toBelle Vue, becoming captain in 1936 and remained at Belle Vue for the rest of his riding career.
It is often said that it wasEric Langtonthat created, developed, the foot forward style and it is indeed true that at the end of the 1920’s most, if not all riders adopted the leg trailing style so it is possible those who say it was he who development the foot forward riding style are correct.
Winner of theStar Riders’ Championshipin 1932 and runner up in 1934 were his notable individual achievements but the team he rode with were very successful during the period he was with them becoming as a teamNational League Championson 4 occasions, the National Trophy winners no less than 7 times and FIM Champion of the World Finalist 1936 1937 1938 1939
Eric was also successful on his many trips abroad to South Africa and Australia during the British winter season. He was awarded his first English Cap in 1930 and this was followed by many more. Eric retired in 1939 when the World War II started but returned briefly in 1946 but retiring at the end of 1947.
I understand that he was interested in the machinery of speedway and not just the riding and is credited with pioneering, with his brother Oliver, the sprung forks when most were rigid and developing lightweight frames, this was whilst he was riding but once retired he was credited with developing speedway machines that were popular and used world wide in the 1950s.
Eric Langton was a member of theVeteran Dirt Track Riders’ Associationfrom the inception and when it later became theVeteran Speedway Riders’ AssociationthenWorld Speedway Riders’ Association.
He eventually moved to Australia and continued his interest in all things mechanical by renovation and rebuilding vintage cars and bikes. He died in Perth Australia in 2001 at the age of 93 and I understand that his ashes were returned to England and taken to the family plot. Many of his trophies are on view at the National Speedway Museum.