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Rye House
the present track track  

Following the evacuation of the original Rye House track in 1958, this the new track was constructed during the summer of 1959 on an adjacent piece of land and was ready for the opening meeting on 3rd August, the promoter Leslie H Lawrence staging the August Trophy as the opening event and this was won by Brian Meredith, following this opening event the team returned to the Southern Area League racing for the rest of the season.

In 1960 the management reverted to an Open Licence and ran open meetings and training for the next six years. Their was a change of management in 1961 when Gerry Bailey and Jack Carter took over the organisation of the Rye House Stadium, whilst open meetings continued the stadium was fast becoming known as the Acknowledged Training Track supplying, it seems, an endless number of promising youngsters. Whilst matters on track seemed to continue in a stable manner in 1965 another change of management occurred - the organisation now known as WBS Promotions was fronted by Bill Wainwright, John Bailey and Tommy Sweetman, this promotion lasted until 1968 when Jack Carter and Gerry Bailey returned to take up the reins again this administration working under the title of Carter & Bailey Ltd. There seems to have been a further tweaking of management during the period  1971 to 1973 as the programme listed the company of Carter & Bailey Ltd as proprietors of the Rye House Stadium and Johnny Guilfoyle and Bill Mathieson as promoters - during this period the safety fence from Mr Guiflyle’s former training track at Chadwell St Mary was installed at Rye House.

Allied Presentations Limited promotion arrived at the stadium in 1974, and with it Len Silver and his Rayleigh side in time for the start of the British League Division Two season and with Mr Silver his crew and team now known as the Rye House “Rockets” and sporting the, now well known, blue and yellow rocket logo shown above. The following year the team became founder members of the strangely named New National League which in truth was just the Old British League Division Two re-badged, so to speak.

In 1975 Len Silver was still running the show and the stadium but under a different corporate name, it was now called Rye House Speedway Ltd. 1976 another change saw the addition of Colin Pratt to the promotion, this co-promotion continued until 1979 when Mr Pratt moved on leaving Mr Silver once again in sole charge and so it remained until the end of the 1985 season when having completed 12 years of successful promotion he left to concentrate on his Silver-Ski holiday business. Ronnie Russell stepped into the breach and remained as sole promoter until 1989 when he was joined by Barry Klatt and Rye House was once again run under co-promotion.

1991 and the British League and National League amalgamated into the British League and then divided into two divisions which meant that Rye House was once again a member of the British League Division Two. 1993 and Peter Redfern and Roger Shute join Ronnie Russell in co-promotion at the Hoddesdon stadium however it was not to be a smooth ride for them and they spent the season trying to find ways of overcoming the falling gate numbers, at the end of the season two of the trio were in poor health and decided to leave, so Mr Shute and Mr Redfern left the promotion team to recover and that left Ronnie Russell alone, he considered that it was not possible to continue and therefore had to inform the BSPA that Rye House would not be entering a team in league racing for the 1994 season.

The track was covered in tarmac and used for Stock Car Racing and it seemed that, as at so many other tracks, this would be the end of speedway at Rye House, they had not reckoned with the determination of the venues speedway enthusiasts. By 1999 a group of these headed and encouraged by John Stoneman and Steve Ribbons formed the Rye House Speedway Club with Len Silver as president, they assembled a team to compete in the Conference League - problem now was they had no track to call their own so the ran their home meetings from Eastbourne, Mildenhall and King’s Lynn. Although it was realised that the eventual aim was to reinstate a speedway team at the Rye House Stadium it did come as a delight and surprise to most when an agreement was signed with the management of the Stadium for speedway to return to Rye House for the 2000 season. This was achieved, it is said, by the input from Len Silver not just his negotiation skills, experience but also an agreement of financial support. To this end Mr Silver became the promoter and their only problem seemed to be that the track and safety fence had to be installed on top of the stock car circuit for each meeting and then removed; the first meeting of the new era took place in the May of 2000.

During 2000, Len Silver managed through detailed and no doubt persistent negotiation to secure the master lease on the whole stadium which meant that a new and permanent speedway track would be built at the end of the season. The Rye House team remained in the Conference League for a short period, joining the Premier League in 2002 and true to the background of training and encouraging juniors and novices a new Conference league team was also formed to race during that year this junior league team took the name of ‘Raiders’ leaving the senior team to use the Rocket Nickname. There is a team still racing in the Premier League but the Conference/National league team stopped competing at the end of 2012

At the time of writing (2013) Len Silver and Hazal Naylor are still promoting speedway at the Rye House Stadium - they have improved the facilities year on year and must surely be congratulated on their achievement and devotion to speedway and Rye House.

Return to 'R' Tracks Index Read about the early days of Rye House The Class of 1963

Our thanks to
John Jarvis for his
permission to use data from his book
“Homes of British Speedway”