The History of Speedway
Like most spectator sports to have stood the test of time, speedway is a beautifully simple spectacle. Four men, riding 500cc motorcycles with no brakes, race four times around a short circuit - and one of them wins. Easy? You bet - and watching the game is easy to do too, as any one of the thousands and thousands who flock to Britain's speedway circuits each and every summer evening will gladly testify!
Legend has it that speedway racing evolved in Australia - at West Maitland in New South Wales - around 1923. The sport had certainly reached Britain by 1928, in which year Scotland had tracks at Celtic Park in Glasgow and Edinburgh's Marine Gardens. In these far-off days, racing was rough and ready, with the big winner each night taking home a handsome amount of prize money - provided he could catch the promoter before he left for foreign parts, as was too often the case!
Nowadays, speedway is ruled by controlling bodies of dignity and distinction, with a world-scale Grand Prix system and league racing in Britain (contested by 33 clubs scattered the length and breadth of the country) can command a gross weekly attendance of upward of a hundred thousand good citizens every week of the summer season, from April until October. Which, when you stop to think about it, can mean that around half-a-million people in Britain alone go to speedway during an average summer month - ever wonder what you're missing?
With further regular league
racing in twelve European nations, and speedway events staged in the USA,
South Africa and Australasia throughout the British winter months, this
sport in thriving as it approaches its eightieth birthday.