Some extremely rare photographs of the pioneering days of Speedway in England, featuring some of our greatest Aussie riders.
It is Monday, 30th. June 1930 at Wimbledon Stadium in England and the first ever Solo Speedway Test match is about to take place between Australia and England. The crowd is 30,000 and this is the line up of Aussie riders.
L to R. "Billy" Lamont, Max Grosskreutz, Ron Johnson, Frank Arthur, Dicky Case and Vic Huxley (top scorer on 9 points ). Arnie Hansen ( Reserve) is not shown.
Australia won the match 35 to 17 and Vic Huxley set a track record of 73.2 sec in the first heat.
The English Team was:
Jim Kempster, Wal Phillips, Frank Varey, Roger Frogley ( top scorer for England on 6 ) Jack Parker, Jack Ormston and Reserve, Gus Kuhn.
The pre match parade at Wimbledon Stadium, London, for the First ever Australia vs England Test Match.
Aussie Team Captain, Queenslander, Vic Huxley complete with Aussie flag gets pushed away with the team for the parade laps.
What history !
Riders line up at the tapes for the first heat of the first ever World Solo Championship at Wembley Stadium, England in 1936.
The match was won by Australian Lionel Van Praag in a controversial run off with Eric Langton of England. ( Van Praag and Langton had both accumulated 26 points each ) Australia's Arthur "Bluey" Wilkinson came in 3rd with 25 points.
"Bluey" Wilkinson was really the moral victor in the 1936 Championship as he was un beaten on the night but because of a "bonus system" of points he was relgated to 3rd. place. He went on to win the title in 1938
The podium at the 1936 World Solo Championship presentations.
A stunned Bluey looks on to a happy Van Praag with a not so pleased Eric Langton. Arthur Elvin of Wembey Stadium management ( later Sir Arthur ) is on the far right.
One of the Aussie stalwarts of Speedway in the U.K. for many years, the flamboyant, Ron Johnson, seen here at Crystal Palace in 1931-32.
Sydney boy, Frankie Dolan, flew the Aussie flag very successfully for many years in International Speedway.
Frank is seen here in the pits here at Harringay in 1939
Armchair team riding at it's best.! Eric French ( outside ) Ron Johnson ( inside ) New Cross partners at Wimbledon in 1946.
Fourth Test at Harringay 1949... Captains Bill Longley ( left) and Jack Parker shake after the toss.
The legendary Fred Mockford tosses the coin for starting positions.
Ron Johnson (Aust') and Jack Parker (Eng.) wait for it to drop to British soil.
The 3rd Test at New Cross..1948
England won 57 to 51.
Wolverhampton, England. Friday, May 30th 1969..The Australian Test Team. 3rd Test.
Match was abandoned after 2 heats due to thunderstorm....Eng. 8 Aust 4..... Restaged July 4th. (Stats...Steve Magro.)
L to R. John Boulger, Geoff Mudge, Jim Airey, Peter White ( Manager ), Peter Vandenberg, Chris Bass, Gordon Guasco, Charlie Monk and Peter Bradshaw.
New Cross vs West Ham 1947.
West Ham Stadium.
Two Aussies lead, Ron Johnson ( New Cross ) up high with Aub Lawson (West Ham ) down low.
England's "King of the Whiteliners " Tommy Croombs of West Ham brings up the rear......on the white line.
Englishman, Ron Mountford, a favourite of mine when he rode in Australia in the 1950s, rides outside Russia's greatest Speedway rider,
Igor Plechanov. Mountford's best World Final finish was an equal 14th in 1962 with Mike Broadbank and Pawel Waloszek. But Igor was placed 13th in 1961, 10th in 1962, 2nd to Barry Briggs in 1964, 2nd to Bjorn Knuttson in 1965, 8th in 1966, and 4th in 1967, never quite made the big one ! but not a bad effort.
Above, Peter Lipscombe, Historian, Igor Plechanov, and John Chaplin , Historian at the 46th Annual Dinner & Dance of the Veteran Speedway Riders' Association in England on the 8th March 2003.
Three ( or 4 ) greats here ! L to R ( in red ) Ove Fundin, Barry Briggs and Igor Plechanov. That guy in the white shirt looks like Ronnie Moore the new President of the English VSRA for 2003.
These two coloured photos are courtesy of Igor Kalashnik from Moldova ( Russia) who accompanied Igor Plechanov to England for the 2003 Vet's Dinner.