Author Topic: West Ham Speedway 1947  (Read 2982 times)

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Offline ALANF

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West Ham Speedway 1947
« on: 26 May, 2009, 06:40:16 PM »
I was looking through a srapbook, compiled by an older brother, of the 1947 season. One notice stated that "London season will open at New Cross on March 25, unless the use of electricity is banned by the Ministry of Fuel." The other clubs were going ahead with their opening meetings, but has made the provision to switch to daylight meetings if they were refused permission to use the lights! How far we have come since those post War days. The league consisted of Wembley, West Ham, Wimbledon, New Cross, Bradford, Belle Vue and Harringay(Thats the way it was spelt in those days.) The opening meeting at Harringay attracted 30,000 fans. I believe that their were 3 divisions plus a Scottish division.
My real interest began when I was about 10 years old, with the arrival of the great Jack Young, although I was also a fan of Aub Lawson. Aub's trademark neck scarf, trailing out behind as he overtook another rider, will long remain in my memory.
I lived a short distance from the Custom House Stadium, and I can remember, as a punishment, not being allowed to go to the meeting. I could hear the start of each race, and by the rise and fall of the engine noise, when they were in the straight or the bend, and finally the end of the race. What torture for a small boy! I cannot think of any worse punishment I suffered as a boy, than to be banned from watching the speedway team in action.
Alan

Robert Rogers

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Re: West Ham Speedway 1947
« Reply #1 on: 27 May, 2009, 08:05:08 AM »
Alan, Thought you would like the Photo of Aub, with my favorite, Tommy Price, Wembley and Englands first World Champion.

Wembley won the 1947 Leauge.

Offline Limey

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Re: West Ham Speedway 1947
« Reply #2 on: 27 May, 2009, 06:18:33 PM »
ALLAN
 I lived in Churchill Rd during those years and as a kid I still remember hearing those bikes, counting the laps, the smell of the dirt track and the cheers from the crowd when you knew the 'Hammers' must have won the race. 'Up the Hammers' :)

Offline ALANF

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Re: West Ham Speedway 1947
« Reply #3 on: 27 May, 2009, 09:05:59 PM »
I am still a Speedway fan, and when I get the chance, I go to watch "Poole Pirates." The races don't seem as exciting as when I used to watch West Ham in the old days. There doesn't seem to be very much overtaking. Of course, we were spoilt at Custom House. They had the longest track in the country, and was a track built for speed.I understand that in the 60's or 70's, the wheel size was changed, to lower the top speed. Can anyone confirm this?
As a point of interest, in 1968, I went to see a team called Weyouth, who were just starting up. The announcer introduced their new manager, and I was amazed to see it was an old West Ham favourite, "Howdy" Byford" Does anyone remember him?
Alan

Robert Rogers

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Re: West Ham Speedway 1947
« Reply #4 on: 28 May, 2009, 08:11:20 AM »
In the 1950's the track was reduced from 440 yards to 415 yards to satisfiy Jack Young who then set a blistering track record which survied into the late 1960's. When the Hammers returned in 1964, after a nine year absence there had been changes to the wheels, so a new Track Record was set to reconise the slightly slower speed. Ray Wilson of Liecester and England finally beat Jack`s record in 1969, which was never beaten, so Ray is technically the fastest ever man around the Custom House Track.

Howdy was known as the `Clown Prince of Speedway`, he also rode for Hackney and at one time was the Manager for West Ham.

There are various items on West Ham on the Newham Story, plus the West Ham Speedway Site, (Custom House Kids) and the Speedway Plus site. For anybody interested in Wembley whose Management also managed West Ham in the 1930's, there is an item on them on the WSRA site.

Robert Rogers

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Re: West Ham Speedway 1947
« Reply #5 on: 28 May, 2009, 09:20:15 PM »
Alan, a photo of Howdy Byford when team manager for West Ham, with Stan `The Man` Stevens, taken from a West Ham Match Programme.
Note Stans race jacket, with all the fuss about the new Newham Logo which has the word `London` added to it, making NEWHAM-LONDON, that is nothing new, the Speedway Team had the words WEST HAM-LONDON on their team race jackets over 40 years ago!

Offline harry

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Re: West Ham Speedway 1947
« Reply #6 on: 30 June, 2009, 09:43:39 PM »
Howdy Byford lived in the village of Wennington[Rainham essex]until he sadly passed away.
He was a regular visiter to the bakers shop that my wife worked in in Upminster Road South Rainham,and evidently he was still a bit of a joker.
I too remember him at West Ham ,one of his stunts was to ride around the track on the Jessups track grader.
I also remember him if he was winning a race he would on the last straight,bounce the front of bike up and down like a bucking bronco,happy days.
regards Harry.
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