Bob was born in Hove (near Brighton in Sussex) on the 12th July 1942. Part of the Dugard speedway family who are now well known in the south of England both as Riders and in association with the Eastbourne speedway stadiums and Schoolboy Speedway and training schools.
Son of Charlie, rider and pioneer promoter and businessman who was involved with running of the Eastbourne club almost from the beginning he took full control in 1935. Being part of this family it is not surprising to find that Bob was in all probability contracted to the Eastbourne club from 1959 to 1971 or may be 1959 and 1971 it is not too clear as his riding services were not confined to the club in fact it seems he only rode for them at the end of his on track career although I understand that it was Bob who built the junior track (schoolboy track) at Eastbourne for his children; Martin, Paul and daughter Charlotte who all enjoyed riding, it has since given pleasure and help to many others. He is on record as also having helped in the running of the Schoolboy speedway and the training at this Eastbourne track, and indeed is now as I write (2013) the senior promoter at the club and with his brother Eric owns the Arlington Stadium .
Bob Dugard is the father of rider Martin and in turn Martin father of sons Kelsey and Connor – all riders and all associated with Eastbourne Speedway. So Bob was and is part of a large speedway dynasty.
I believe his first team ride was at Oxford for the Cheethas in 1960 and 1961 although I can’t find any data and wonder if you was he was riding as either a junior or a second half rider/team reserve. The records show he was at Ipswich in 1962 but again I can find no data. In 1963 he rode for New Cross as the team captain, when New Cross closed down he was transferred to the New West Ham team where he remained until partway through 1965 when he moved to Wimbledon after being invited to do so by Ronnie Greene, Bob says that he preferred the track as it suited his style of riding so he was happy to move. Bob formed a partnership with Trevor Hedge at Wimbledon (Trevor was one of the best riders in the world at the time) and they rode at one and two – they were known as the terrible twins
It is said that West Ham were reluctant to let him go to Wimbledon, and the management at West Ham and its supporters were not at all happy about the move – in fact so displeased that the sound of the joint displeasure reached the ACU who sent a representative to West Ham to pour oil on trouble waters – records do not record if said oil was Castrol R or not.
Anyway Bob Dugard seems to have been happy with the arrangement as he remained with Wimbledon from 1965 until he retired from riding in 1969 but the following year the team had injury problems so Bob came out of retirement in 1970 to help before retiring again. Then in 1971 coming out of retirement once more, this time Bob rode twice for Eastbourne to add a bit of spice at two meetings against local rival Canterbury
Have been in contact with Bob and he has helped by filling in some of the gaps, he also tells me that although he did not ride for the family track on a permanent basis he has always held an interest, acting as a background support and advisor for the promotion since 1966 taking over as promoter once he had retired from riding and as already mentioned the junior and schoolboy club was a particular interest of his. And, of course, he also gave us Martin and Paul.
by Jackie Hodkinson
2013 strangely on July 12th
Photos kindly supplied by Robert Rogers