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The National Speedway Museum

Construction of the track was undertaken at Melton Road at the end of 1928 after, not surprisingly, a proposal to build a tract at or no the Cricket ground in Aylestone Road was turned down. They were probably not aware at the time of the problems caused when speedway tries to share a venue with football but cricket!!! Mind you it did happen briefly at Romford’s Brooklands Stadium.

Leicester Super at Melton Road was built by George Walker very quickly, the track and a 5,000 capacity grandstand was completed in five weeks, the track was huge by British standards 586 yards and 2 feet no doubt because it was designed and tested by New Zealand rider Stewie St George and large high-speed circuits were the norm in Australasia.

Under the management of Speedways and Sports Limited, who had appointed Robert ‘Jock’ Hallas as the track manager, a Grand Opening was held on the Whitson Sunday (Christian festival of Pentecost, the seventh Sunday after Easter) which fell in 1929 on the 18th May. Races at this meeting were held over only three laps rather than the more usual four because of the tracks length even so three laps meant that each heat was a mile long (visions of refuelling come to mind if four laps had been attempted particularly with purpose built speedway machines) Californian ‘Sprouts’ Elder loved the large track and went on to win the Melton Handicap held at that first meeting that was watched by over 20,000 spectators.

Unfortunately the track had its first fatality during its first year, a Super Scratch event was scheduled for the second half of a meeting on the 21st of September and during the first heat of this mixed ability event, Roy Sims-Reeves lost balance and slowed his machine and was unavoidable hit from behind by a junior rider and Roy Sims-Reeves sadly was killed instantaneously from the skull injury he sustained. Also during that first year of track action a light car racing event took place in November.

For the speedway season of 1930 a team was entered by the promotion in the Northern League, known as Leicester Super they finished the season mid-way down (or up) the league table, entered again the following year of 1931 the team held their last meeting at Melton Road on the 15th August and withdrew having completed 15 of the scheduled 18 meetings and Alex Jackson who was track manager at the time was asked to disband the team. It was however during this year that Greyhound racing arrived at the venue.

There followed two years when unofficial meetings were held at the stadium, first the ex-Leicester Super rider Alex Bowerman ran three meeting in the month between 9th June to the 9th August 1931 and in 1936 Harry Bowler ran another six both solo and sidecar but all unauthorised and therefore the situation where riders arrived to race under a false and sometime silly name in an attempt to avoid suspension by the ACU a ruse that was not always successful.

Although the site of the stadium is now allotments the pub opposite still sports a sign depicting a speedway rider although the name of the pub has been changed from the Speedway Hotel.

Leicester Super

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