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Peter Robinson, born in Oxford in January 1919.

The first mention I can find of his appearing in public was in 1946, when he is recorded as having ridden one match for Wimbledon who at the time were competing in the National League which in 1946 was the top British League so where did he learn his trade? I have read that he was riding pre-war but I don’t know where or if it was in speedway (dirt-track) or in one of the other motorcycle disciplines – can anyone throw any light on Peter’s early days?  

There is no doubt that World War II would have something to do with his late entry into the speedway records and I believe that Peter served with the RAF as a pilot so it would seem unlikely that he had time to ride whilst he was serving with the RAF. However if he did start riding in 1938, as has been said, the break for the hostilities would have meant a long gap between his beginning to ride in speedway and his first regular place in a team.  

It would seem that the first true team place was for Southampton Saints in 1947 where he rode 22 matches and finished the season with an average of 10.57 – I am prepared to agree that there are those who are natural riders but 10.57 in your first season, even in National League Three seems a little more than natural talent. Not surprisingly this sort of performance drew the attention of some of the scouts for the higher leagues and he was signed by Wembley for a transfer fee but he would have preferred to return to Southampton this however was not possible as Southampton had replaced him so Wembley sent him on loan to Plymouth instead to allow him to acquire the necessary experience.

1948 sees Peter a team member of the Plymouth Devils in this their second year of operation, still riding well he became a heat leader with Pete Lansdale and Len Read and he remained with Plymouth for three seasons, the first two the team were riding in the National League Division Three moving up to Division Two in 1950, Peter scoring an average above 8.5 for the three year period.

In 1951 Plymouth returned to National League Division Three and there was a change of promotion, now I do not know if it was the management change or if Peter Robinson preferred to remain in Division Two but he was either moved or requested a change of teams for the 1951 season. Peter moved to Liverpool to ride with the Chads and staying with the team for three years until their closure mid-way through the 1953 season during which time he became their captain and attaining a points average over the two and a half seasons he rode for them of 8.75.

Leaving Liverpool following that tracks closure he joined Oxford who were racing in the Southern League in the 1953 season; he rode 8 matches for them. The following year Oxford joined the National League Division Two and Peter remained with them for that season and the following two again attaining a respectable points average for the 3 National League years of 7.34, he was now 37 and I can only assume he decided to retire as he did not reappear for the 1957 season or at least I can find no further trace of him in speedway records.

It has to be said if it were not for the likes of Peter Robinson speedway would not have been what it was back in those post war years, a remarkable solid even performance, appearing to stay with a team as long as there was a place for him and from his points it would seem always giving of his best. He had no recorded severe injuries, although there must have been some tumbles, it would appear that he worked hard and rode well with well-maintained equipment and fully engaged brain.

I am sadly unaware if Peter has died or is still with us, and if anyone can supply further information on Peter Robinson’s speedway career I would be grateful.

Robinson began riding speedway in 1938; his career in speedway being interrupted by the Second World War, like so many riders of the day.  Peter Robinson served in the R.A.F. during World War II, as a Spitfire & bomber pilot. Towards the latter part of the war, he served as a flight instructor having previously logged over 2,000 flying hours with fighter and bomber command.

In 1946 he rode on a limited basis for Wimbledon, before joining Southampton in 1947. In 1948 Robinson was signed by Wembly and loaned out to Plymouth. He rode for Plymouth (Captain) 1948, 1949, 1950. In 1951, when Plymouth was relegated to the Third Division; Robinson agreed to ride for Liverpool, together with Len Read another Plymouth Devil.

The latter part of the 1951 season, due to a variety of reasons the Liverpool team was in disarray, he became the Chads team Captain. From 1951 through 1953 he was the major point’s contributor, for the Chads at both home and away matches. During his last season with Liverpool he easily topped the Chads score charts with 337 points in 40 league matches and seven times hit maximum points.   

1953 brought a shock to the Chad team, they saw their captain wearing the uniform of a R.A.F. squadron leader, Robinson had been recalled to the service. However in spite of the needed addition training and refresher courses, Peter still had the time to ride for the Chads, right up until the team folded in July 1953. For the remaining part of the season, Peter rode for Oxford remaining with the Cheetahs until he retired from the sport in 1956.

I do remember Jackie, in a speedway publication Robinson was referred to as a “Gentleman Speedway rider”. I seem to recall it reported in a Chads speedway programme, (will try to find it) Peter turned up the first time at the Liverpool pits, driving a sports car, dressed in a blue blazer, with the R.A.F. cloth emblem, smoking a cigarette with a holder, bet it raised a few eyebrows knowing the Liverpool crew in the pits. It would appear Peter was the typical “R.A.F. type” I remember so well. However he soon proved himself as a consistent rider with a very much blue collar style of riding. (all business)

In December 1953, it was announced that a rider-business group of Oliver Hart, Ernie Price and Peter Robinson who had been seeking the racing rights for 1954, at Stanley stadium were no longer in negations with the Stanley Stadium authorities.  Spokesman Robinson said, “I regret our negotiations at Liverpool have ended. I personally would still like to see racing at Stanley next season, but it seems unlikely there will be no further negations until 1955”.

With each team he rode for, he was honoured with the captaincy, Southampton, Plymouth, Liverpool.  In the winters of 1948 & 1949 he toured South Africa scoring 74 points against the Springboks.  Peter rode for England at certain International Matches (see attached photo above left). Peter far right.

(So from left to right the riders are; Fred Willis, Bill Griffith, Tommy Anderson, Harry Welch and our subject Peter Robinson)

Peter Robinson

Photo courtesy John Somerville

by Jackie H

 Peter Robinson
Remembered by Richard Austin
                                          Liverpool enthusiast.

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