Archive for the ‘Cycle speedway’ Category

Cycle Speedway training: 1.6.10

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Last night I attended a training session at the Hull Cycle Speedway club. I joined the youth session at 18.30 and decided to watch the adult one at 19.30 given the fact the littlies whipped me. It was my first experience of riding a specialised speedway bicycle and racing on a shale surface. I found it exciting and interestingly strategic. Andy and Derek, key contacts of the club, were very welcoming and encouraging.

My very fast 8year old competitors.

Club bikes in storage.

A customised speedway bike.

The track is made of shale. After races and during training riders often scrape their wheels to clear them of mud, rocks and other detritus.

An average gear ratio is 46.

Getting a feeling for the bike and the track.

Hull Cycle Speedway

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

I visited the Hull Cycle Speedway Club‘s weekly training session on 11th May at the Hessle Racetrack. Derek Hilton, the Chair, very kindly showed me round and provided material about Cycle Speedway in Hull and the UK.
Cycle speedway race in Camberwell, 1940s

Cycle speedway race in Camberwell, 1940s (courtesy Veteran Cycle Speedway Riders Association)

Cycle Speedway was born in the postwar period as young people built their own bikes and used bomb craters to race each other in an approximation of motorcycle speedway racing. (Veterans of this era still keep in touch via their Association). Known as the “Skid Kids” their sport initially thrived, especially in badly hit areas such as Hull; but the re-imposition of National Service reduced the cohort and many bombsites were then used to rebuild housing and industry.

Cycle speedway race in Hull, 1970s

Cycle speedway race in East Hull, 1970s (courtesy Hull Cycle Speedway Club)

In Hull and other places, Cycle Speedway became popular again in the 1970s. It is a highly competitive, sociable sport, with 36 teams currently existing nationally. Members travel around the country to compete (and even abroad – Cycle Speedway is very popular in Poland). In the Hull clubs of the 1970s, this was by group minibus; but now people travel individually by car and meet at the track. There were up to nine clubs in the 1970s Hull area, none actually called “Hull Cycle Speedway”, names included the “Anlaby Aces”. The current Hull club and its officers have won a number of awards for services to sport and the community.

Cycle Speedway bikes are highly distinctive. In Hull they are mostly owned by the club, as without brakes the bikes cannot legally be ridden on the road. The club’s bikes are customised bikes bought from the specialist provider Archie Wilkinson.

A modern cycle speedway bike made by the owner

A modern cycle speedway bike made by the owner (courtesy Hull Cycle Speedway Club)

A replica of a 1940s Cycle Speedway bicycle

A replica of a 1940s Cycle Speedway bicycle, courtesy Hull Cycle Speedway Club