Cycle Speedway

 

Yardley Aces – Skid Kids of 1951

With the kind permission of Alan Digby here are some excerpts taken from his 2003 booklet called Milton Stars,
(Alan organised a reunion of members of some of the speedway teams at Milton Malsor on 12th September 2004, there were representatives of seven teams, 29 ex-riders although not exactly ex, as four races took place with as much enthusiasm and competetiveness as in the past. Comment , It’s just as much fun at 70 as it was at 17!)

February 1950. The Northamptonshire Cycle Speedway Control Board was formed by Duston Devils, Military Road Pirates and Kingsthorpe Cobras. Only Duston had a track – at Kerfield Estate.

The teams contesting the first League competition were;

  • Duston Devils.
  • Heyford Hawks.
  • Holton Aces.
  • Military Road Pirates.
  • Milton Stars.

By 1951 Weedon Whippets and Abbotts Way Tigers had joined the league and Heyford Hawks left the league.
RISS AND THE MOTORBIKE SADDLE.

Yardley Gobion in the late summer of 1951 was a hot bed of local pride and Milton Stars; a well-established and emerging team were invited to take part in demonstration races against local lads, who were thinking of starting a team.

The trouble was that these local lads were really quite good and hadn’t quite grasped the concept of a friendly meeting.

And so it was that Yardley’s star rider performed a a series of unpleasant (and illegal) manoeuvres against our “Mr Clean” Captain Duck and actually crossed the line in first place – only to be disqualified.

In the next race, Riss (Duck’s cousin) decided to take revenge and arranged for an old motorbike saddle that happened to be in his hand at the time, to be tossed into the path of the naughty Yardley man.

Mayhem ensued and only the calm presence of captain Duck and the intimidating presence of Jummer and Butty saved Riss from a severe thumping.

By 1952 – Kettering Kangeroos and Yardley Gobion Aces had joined the league.

FROM A COPY OF AMATEUR CYCLE SPEEDWAY RESEARCHED BY ALAN DIGBY

May 1952, Round 1 of the national team championship;

Military Road Pirates 38 Abbots Way Tigers 45
Yardley Aces 49 Kettering Kangeroos 34
Milton Stars 51 Weedon Whippets 33

 

4th December 1952. Northampton Cycle Speedway Annual Dinner Dance was held at the Angel Hotel in Bridge Street, where it was announced:

  • 11 teams had applied for membership.
  • All racers to wear crash helmets and to be insured.
  • Yardley Aces were champions – J Kightley captain.
  • Abbots way Tigers were runners up.
  • Woodford Trophy winner – Alan (Tug) Wilson.
  • Bright Trophy winner – Holton Aces.

Also:- In 1952 – A decline in the sport was noted and attributed to National Service.

By 1953 Finedon Flashes replaced Abbots Way Tigers in the league.


4th December 1952. Northampton Cycle Speedway Annual Dinner Dance


Cycle speedway in our area in the 1950s told to me by Ron Hockley of Stony Stratford.

Names of Cycle Speedway teams in the local area:-

  • Yardley Aces.
  • Wicken Wizards.
  • Akeley Acorns.
  • Deanshanger Moonrakers.
  • Wolverton Wasps.
  • Linford Pirates.
  • Bradwell Eagles

Four riders in action at Yardley

There was a bigger league outside the area – top team was Duston Devils. Yardley’s team were a ‘crack’ team locally. One of their members went on to ride for the Devils.

The bikes were made from old bikes from the tip. They had just to buy knobbly tyres for the back wheel and put on fork strengtheners. They were made up and painted in club colours. The lads wore armbands with numbers and coloured waistcoats made from oilcloth material that had painted numbers.

The Yardley Aces made a dirt track in the back corner of the recreation field where once there had been a tennis court. This is where they practised.

Does anyone one know who the member of the Yardley Aces was that went on to ride for the Duston Devils?

Has anyone got more photographs, memories or artifacts that we can add copies to this speedway section?


For a short period of time just after the 1939/45 war young lads enjoyed a sport that was as exciting as its time was brief – cycle speedway. Interest began in Yardley when Reg Brown, dad of Dudley came home from work at Radio Nortax in Newland, Northampton saying you should come and see this bike one of lads has who works with me. Geoff and Dudley went to see this bike that belonged to Tony Wills, he used the track of the Holton Aces. So began the interest, after permission was obtained by Jim Warren from the Parish Council, the lads in the village cleared the area where the old tennis court was in the recreation field behind the pub. Any tools that were available were used to clear the site. The track was mainly dirt as the grass was soon worn away. Searches were made at the Council tip at the old brickyard along side the A5 for old bikes to build up into speedway bikes, Fork strengtheners were made by John Smith from Potterspury, many of the lads wore old dispatch rider’s boots, crash hats were at first not worn but later they were not allowed to race without them. More boys became interested and parents became involved. A starting gate was produced, George Dunkley and Fred Kightley were prime movers. George later became manager, the team became extremely successful.

The Yardley Aces, skid kids around 1951

A team consisted of 6 riders plus 2 reserves. Each of the 6 riders raced in four races each and the reserves raced in two races each. Scoring 3 points for a win, 2 for 2nd and 1 for 3rd. Each race consisted of four riders, two from each team.

More pictures

In these pictures of Doug Horton you can see the tabard design and also the fork strengtheners on one of the bikes.

YARDLEY GOBION CYCLE SPEEDWAY team winners of the “Chronicle & Echo” championship Trophy

YARDLEY GOBION ACES, winners of the “Chronicle & Echo” trophy and the “Blind” Cup

I am afraid the pictures above are poor photograph, I would be pleased to copy better ones if anyone has them or any others. Brenda

All participants in the races needed a licence, as you can see the above belonged to Geoff Warren

Just off, on the track in Yardley Gobion Recreation field.

An important race against Kettering Kangeroos at Kettering

This is the way they travelled to competitions.
In the back of Slaymaker’s lorry.

Taking a tumble.

A hard fought match -Yardley Aces against the Weedon Whippets, Oops!

David Shakeshaft in Yardley Rec.

Many thanks to Arthur Jacquest, Barbara Flack, Doug Horton, Geoff Warren, Ron Hockley and Alan Digby for information and loan of photographs.

 Posted by at 11:36 am