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The National Speedway Museum

The Eagles almost landed 1953 - 1957

by Richard Austin

Following the Liverpool closure a number of attempts were made to re-open speedway, the greyhound committee was all in favour of speedways return, even showing a willingness to upgrade the track and improve the facilities. Mr W. A. Coats a local Liverpool businessman having prior promotion interests with Wigan Speedway, Woodhouse Land Stadium, looked to have secured the promotion agreements, but it fell through. Two other attempts, one included ex Belle Vue rider Dent Oliver and another, businessman/rider partnership with Peter Robinson and Oliver Hart, also failed to bring speedway back to Merseyside.


The speedway Press reported January 18th that Johnnie Hoskins, manager of the Belle Vue Aces, was active in a new bid to revive speedway on Merseyside. The plan, to race a meeting every other Monday beginning in April, the first season to be Open meetings with star riders from First and Second divisions making up first half of the meeting, then after the interval, running six novice races. Johnnie’s Liverpool team would be drawn from promising Belle Vue based novices, plus a couple of veteran Chad riders. Peter Craven winning the 1955 World Speedway Championship would also have helped to generate a renewed interest in the sports return to Liverpool. The Hoskins plan failed.


April 1957, the great ex Chad rider Reg Duval promoted speedway at Stanley Stadium, a new team, the Liverpool Eagles. Opening night April 22, speedway was back, a crown of 11,000 saw Liverpool’s own “mighty atom” Peter Craven overall winner of the Easter Trophy meeting. Unfortunately the open license promotion failed after seven meetings due mainly to the combined opposition from a number of rival narrow minded speedway promoters, making unrealistic demands on the new Duval speedway promotion such as rider restrictions and appearance money. The position taken by these outside promoters was truly amazing and short sighted. Speedway at the time was going through a depression: tracks were closing, only eleven teams were running in the National League.

Again, speedway visionary, Johnnie Hoskins, Belle Vue manager was certainly all for the Liverpool/Duval promotion, viewing a golden opportunity to tap into speedway inner-city rivalry. The Liverpool closure also deprived local riders of track booking, one cause for riders to drop out of the sport, insufficient meetings to make riding speedway a full time occupation.

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