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The National Speedway Museum

The Class of 1963

Back in 1963 I was just one of the many starry eyed kids at Rye House who learnt just how hard speedway riding really was. Under the watchful eye of headmaster Mike Broadbank and his father, we soon discovered it was much harder and painful than it looked!!. In a moment of reflection I thought it may be of interest to mention some of the names of that class of 1963,some are present day members of the association.   

Star pupil was Ian Champion who graduated to ride for Long Eaton and Reading Ian lived nearby and pushed his bike to the track, Alan and Peter Jackson were two other locals. Geoff Hughes who later rode for Wimbledon was greatly envied as he had purchased the immaculate equipment of Ronnie Moore. Novices came from far and wide , the West country duo of Harlequin kid Stuart Wallace and  Exeter novice of the year Syd Whately, from Coventry Pete Gay and Norm Unger and Dave Battle, Tony Childs, Bill Billman from Norwich. For sheer spectacle there was teenage leg trailer Ray Cousins, of whom the pundits said if only he would put his foot forward he would be a star. Ray just enjoyed his speedway. Then there was the flamboyant Tyburn Gallows, reputed to be Pierrepont's assistant hangman!  Glyn Chandler, Geoff Marsh, Mike Coomber, the late John Mills and Bob Varney  all had some of their early rides at Rye.

There was very little Sunday racing then,  Rye was a meeting place for riders to come and try out machines or just to offer friendly advise and have a yarn. Colin Pratt, Dingle Brown, Tommy Sweetman, Ken Vale, Jackie Biggs, Bill Wainwright and Norman Hunter would often be there. A hire bike was available from that wonderful Edmonton character Robbie Mcleod and  Alf Hagons right hand man Bill Mathieson would always help out with spares

I think my end of term report would say " failed...must pay attention" ...... but I did learn a greater appreciation of the art of speedway which I have never forgotten. Thanks for the memory.  

  

Tony Webb Brisbane 2008

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