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Bill Kitchen born in Galgate, Lancaster on the 7th December 1908. From the stories one hears it seems that when Bill entered the speedway scene he was already a competitive motorcyclist, I have found records of his rides in the TT races on the Isle of Man  it seems that he competed for 4 years 1930 to 1933 inclusive, would be good if I could also report that he had won but that was not so. He also raced grass track and sand and was successful at road trials.

He joined Belle Vue in 1933 and although it was his first regular track he had ridden dirt track before as an individual a few times but he must have learned something because he took the Belle Vue track with impressive maturity. Such was the skill he showed he was offered a team place at Belle Vue becoming one of those overnight stars one hears about when people forget the amount of work that has been put in by the rider.

Remaining with Manchester Belle Vue until World War II intervened and all speedway league racing stopped and the riders called up. However the Manchester track continued to hold open meetings during the hostilities and when he was moved from being stationed in the south of England to the North it meant that Bill Kitchen could, on occasion, take part in a meeting.

Following the termination of the war Bill found himself ‘posted’ to ride for the Wembley Lions and although he may have regretted leaving his native north I am sure that regret would soon have dispersed as the Lions settled down into winning ways. He remained with them from 1946 when he was appointed their Captain a position he retained until he retired from riding in 1954.

Bill Kitchen was appointed a member of the England team on many occasions (I believe it is in the region of 70 caps) and although he did not manage any notable individual awards his team medals must be close to being a record.

National League Championship winners in 1933, 1934, 1935 & 1936 all as a member of the Manchester Belle Vue team then after the war with Wembley Lions the same award in 1946, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952 & 1953.

National Trophy Final Winners, Belle Vue 1933 to 1935 inclusive and in 1948 with Wembley Lions.

ACU Trophy Final Winner, Belle Vue 1934 to 1937 inclusive.

British Speedway Cup Winner Belle Vue 1939 – Lions 1948

He qualified on 3 occasions for the World Speedway Final Championship and was placed 1937 8th, 1938 5th, and 8th in 1949 he was 6th.

Although he retired from riding in 1954 he did not retire from Speedway, coaching at Plymouth and was the ACU track inspector for a while. He was a member of the World Speedway Riders’ Association and became the President of that association in 1970.

Bill Kitchen died in May 1994

BILL KITCHEN

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