Lionel Crossley is mostly known as a timekeeper and writer of the book Chrystal Palace Speedway (Thrills and spills of the 20s and 30s) and although I have been unable to find out much detail of his time with speedway I have managed to find a general outline of his life in the sport.
First problem I am not sure of his date of birth or where this was but it has been suggested to me it was Romford, Essex in 1913, if this is wrong and you know different please contact me.
Lionel it appears was in at the beginning of speedway in the UK, first riding at Chrystal Palace, the track started around the beginning of 1928 and Lionel rode there in 1930 & 31 riding a Rudge. He also rode at New Cross and later at Dagenham.
When looking into Lionel Crossley speedway past all sorts of snippets come to light but unfortunately not in detail, we know he was an official timekeeper at Wimbledon and several other tracks but did you know he helped out at the fledgling training track at Iwade in 1976, timekeeping and then writing the lap times on a blackboard with chalk all to help the trainees.
Lionel was a member of the World Speedway Riders’ Association for many years and could be seen at many of the social events – was a constant visitor to the BMF rally at Peterborough when he could be seen admiring some of the vintage machines that must have brought back memories of the past for him. He died in 2002 and is very much missed, we have lost a knowledgeable and very approachable gentleman.
Lionel’s book of the Chrystal Palace Speedway is sometimes available as a seconded hand item or a quality black and white photocopied edition can be had at a very reasonable price from The Crystal Palace Foundation web site with order form here.