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The National Speedway Museum

EDINBURGH
Training and Trials Tracks
plus some Ice Racing

Gyle Trotting Track - this track as the name suggests was used during the summer for pony trotting. A noise test for speedway was held and passed in 1968 which lead Ian Beattie to organise a band of helpers to construct a red-shale speedway track inside the trotting track. The safety fence was constructed from bails of straw and a caravan was parked on site to serve as a changing room.

I don’t know if the intention had been to hold meeting but none were ever held, training sessions did take place the first held on the 14th December 1968 when it was noted that Andy Meldrum looked particularly impressive. The track was a similar shape to that at Newcastle’s Brough Park and like many new speedway ventures was not without problems with the neighbouring residents, the start of the training sessions delayed for a week by the complaints from the locals who had not as yet heard or experienced what the track would actually mean to their environment.

Training at the track continued for the next two years with, in 1970, particular note taken of Bobby Beaton’s riding which was described as fast and thrilling.

The track became disused by both speedway and ponies and was eventually the land used to build the Royal Scot Hotel which in 2002 became the Edinburgh Marriott Hotel.

Gyle Trotting Track

Murrayfield Ice Ring - the book of the ‘Homes of Speedway’ reports that -

“The Murrayfield Ice Rink was completed just as the Second World War broke out in 1939, and spent its early few years as an Army store. It eventually opened as an ice rink on 7 August 1952.

Late in 1971, trials were held on the 175cc bikes, which actually proved that speedway on ice could work. Promoted by Chay Sports Limited, whose directors were G. P. Chatham and T. J. Hay, the first of meeting took place on 9 January 1972, when Edinburgh beat Ayr 42-34 before a crowd of 4,000 spectators. The final event of the five was held later that same year on 16 April.

Under the promotion of Ian Thomas and Graham Drury, the roar of speedway returned to the venue on the afternoon of 15 February 1987, when a four-team tournament was staged as a farewell meeting to Jim McMillan, with the result being: England 28, Sweden 27, Denmark 23, Scotland 18. Completing a double bill of activity in the evening Jan Anderson won the Yugo Cars Classic individual event.”

Murrayfield Ice Rink

Craigmillar Trotting Track - the venue was used for a very short period in early 1960s as a speedway training track although its original purpose was a trotting stadium.  In 1961 it is reported as having been used by Fred Chalmers, AlexHughson and Roni Ferguson, and in all probability by other riders. There is also a strong suggestion that the track continues to be used as a training facility for a number of years following this recorded use in 1961 but there is no substantiated record of this later use.

The site is now a well established industrial area.

Craigmillar Trotting Track

It should perhaps be said here that there was at least one track so far un-mentioned - Stenhouse Greyhound Stadium - a demonstration of just a few laps was undertaken in 1935 with a view to run a speedway meeting on the trotting track that was between two fences, it was also proposed to have bookmakers in attendance. The proposal seems to have gone no further.

There was a proposal in 1949 that Stenhouse should become a second track for Edinburgh in addition to the Old Meadowbank Stadium but the Speedway Control Board refused a Licence.  Eventually the stadium became enveloped in an industrial estate in the early 1970s all tracks and fencing disappearing but the totalisator board was left in place - I know not why, perhaps a monument to track sport!

Thanks to John Jarvis for allowing the information contained in his book ‘Homes of British Speedway’

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Seafield Beach - this area of beach was used by Don Cuppleditch and Bob Mark for practice in the winter of 1949/50. The area now hosts a sewage works.