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The National Speedway Museum

Somerton Park Speedway
1964 to 1977

Bikes arrived in Somerton Park to compete in grass track meetings in 1928 although only a few were held that year with more held in 1930. Greyhound racing followed and continued until 1963 when the land was sold to the council.

The council leased the land to speedway promoters Charles Foot and Mike Parker, a track was constructed by Jon Erskine and the first speedway meeting took place on 17 April 1964 in front of a gate of 10,000 this meeting was in the Southern League but the the team, called the Wasps, also competed in the Premier League in their first season.

In 1965 the Premier and the National league were amalgamated  to form one league called the British League. The Wasps finished sixth in a league of 18 teams.

There were changes of promotion in 1966 when Mike Parker was joined by Bill Bridgett and Ken Sharples who tragically was killed in a road crash in 1967. Eddie Glennon then joined Bridgett and Parker to form the promotion team for 1968. Unbelievable history repeated its self when Ken Sharples was sadly killed in a car crash half way through the season. Bob Radford was to fill the speedway managers post in 1969.

It was all change on the promotion front again for 1970 when Pete Linsdale, Pat Tapson, Wally Mawdsley and John Richards took over at Newport, but not for long, in 1971 Mawdsley and Richards left Newport to concentrated on their Exeter team and track. And yet another change was on the cards because in 1973 the promotion was listed as Wally Mawdsley on behalf of Brendon Motors and the speedway manager was Maurice Morley.

During all these management changes the team ploughed on in the British League never winning but most of the time in the top half of the table that is until 1977 when the British League licence and the team were sent to Bristol where they were ready for the launch of the new Eastville Stadium. And Newport, well they were left with a new team in the National League, their fans were not amused, lost interest and drifted away mostly I suspect to follow their team to Bristol. Speedway ceased at Newport Somerton Park at the end of the 1977 season.

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Our thanks to John Jarvis for the information taken from the book “Homes of British Speedway” and to Michael Terran for the programme cover images