CLUB NEWS: Stoke Cycle Speedway back in action this Saturday
Cycle Speedway racing – a sport that was a national craze in the post-war years – will make triumphant return to the Potteries this Saturday (23rd April), commencing at 1pm.
Stoke Cycle Speedway club have risen from the ashes after years of no racing and will stage the opening round of this year’s Eurovets Grand Prix series at their newly re-instated track at Etruria Park, Dundee Road in Stoke (post code: ST1 4BT).
Dozens of the sports top veteran stars will be heading for Stoke to take part in the grand revival meeting – and hopes are high it will lead to a full return to competitive action for the newly reformed Stoke Cycle Speedway club.
Frantic work, by voluntary Stoke members, has been going on for several weeks to bring the Etruria Park circuit back into top condition to ensure this Saturdays re-opening event is a roaring success.
Volunteers have cut the grass, spent dozens of man hours repairing the shale racing track, doing scores of general maintenance jobs and painting the track markings.
The seeds of the Stoke revival were laid last May when a public meeting was held in the city to galvanize support. This led to practice and training sessions taking place on most Wednesdays evenings last summer.
But now the stage is set for this Saturdays full competitive return of the all-action pedal sport, where riders race with no-brakes and where physical contact is allowed. Observers have likened it to `Rugby on wheels` or the American full contact sport of Roller Derby.
The sport, which originated on the bomb sites of the second world war, boomed across the Potteries in the fifties and sixties and every district had a Cycle Speedway team. Youngsters would imitate their (motor) Speedway heroes of the day.
In the last 30 years the sport has matured and `grown-up`. Tracks are now purposed built, international racing has been introduced and governance is now under British Cycling.
This Saturdays re-opening meeting – and the Stoke revival – has been led by a passionate group of local Cycle Speedway enthusiasts who have refused to let the sport die out completely in the Potteries and wider Staffordshire area.
They have been led by Stoke club manager Avon Allcock, track manager Simon Baltkauls, ex national star Andy Franks and local Cycle Speedway stalwarts like Gene Bailey, Rob Machin and many others.
Allcock said: “The sport seems to be enjoying a revival nationally and we just thought it was crazy – at the height of a once in a lifetime national boom in cycling – that we had an international standard cycling facility right in the middle of Stoke not being used.
“We hope Saturdays meeting fuels a full scale revival of what is a wonderful grass roots amateur sport and a return to full competitive racing of a Stoke Cycle Speedway team in the not to distance future”.
Allcock has issued an `open invitation` to former Cycle Speedway riders and officials, Speedway fans of the Stoke Potters team, BMX riders and cycling followers to come along to the new Stoke club this Saturday and get involved.
The new Stoke club has also announced that special `come and try it` sessions, for first time riders, will start on Wednesday evening, 27th April at 6.30pm at the Etruria Park track. Expert advice, bikes and safety equipment will be available free of charge. The sessions will continue every Wednesday throughout the summer.
For more information on Stoke Cycle Speedway club, please ring: 07719 022460.