Defunct Speedway Tracks

 

 
 
John Player & Sons
 
 
The card album
 

Speedway Riders

 
[A series of 50 cigarette cards]
 
 

 
 
Card 1 British
Joe Abbott
 
 

 
 
Card 2 British
Arthur Atkinson
 
 

 
 
Card 3 British
Phil Bishop
 
 
Sad that he had over 400 crashes, who was counting and can any modern rider beat Phil's crash record!
 

 
 
Card 4 British
Gordon Byers
 
 
John Skinner says: I visited Gordon in 2004 at his home in Gosforth Newcastle upon Tyne, he was into his 90s, sadly he died later, a couple of years short of reaching 100.  We discussed his speedway career and he was full of life and happy to talk about anything including speedway!.  He couldn't remember winning the first ever race at Newcastle's Brough Park in 1929 when he was 17yrs old.  He told me he was earning huge amounts of money when he was riding for Wembley in the early 1930s.  He was proud to tell me that he was a member of the first England touring side that sailed to Australia 1931/32?  I took Gordon to Newcastle's belated 75th rider reunion in 2005 and he enjoyed the occasion although there was no-one left from his era at the function for him to reminisce with.
 

 
 
Card 5 Australian
Dicky Case
 
 

 
 
Card 6  British
Frank Charles
 
 
Frank was joint 4th in the 1936 world final, the first recognised world final.  He shared 4th spot with American Cordy Milne breaking the track record in the process.
 

 
 
Card 7 Canadian
Eric Chitty
 
 
Eric was also a respected singer, he was a "Crooner", I believe!  Reg Fearman told me he had presented an Eric Chitty 78rpm record to Eric's son a few years ago.  I don't know about Crooning I am a Rolling Stones fan!
 

 
 
Card 8 British
Bill Clibbett
 
 

 
 
Card 9 Australian
Eric Collins
 
 
Daredevil  Eric was a stamp collector, not the most macho of sidelines to riding speedway.
 

 
 
Card 10 British
Tommy Croombs
 
 
Tommy was an inside line rider.  Passing on the inside is an art form but for me speedway is at its greatest when a rider goes out wide and passes coming out of a bend.  No disrespect to Tommy, I just enjoy a fast outside line rider more.
 

 
 
Card 11 British
Billy Dallison
 
 

 
 
Card 12 British
Jack Broncho Dixon
 
 

 
 
Card 13 British
Acorn Dobson
 
 
Stan was nicknamed "Acorn" because some thought his head resembled an Acorn!
 

 
 
Card 14 British
Frank Goulden
 
 

 
 
Card 15 British
Stan Greatrex
 
 

 
 
Card 16 British
George Greenwood
 
 

 
 
Card 17 Australian
Max Grosskreutz
 
 

 
 
Card 18 Danish
Morian Hansen
 
 

 
 
Card 19 British
Bob Harrison
 
 

 
 
Card 20 Australian
Vic Huxley
 
 

 
 
Card 21 Scottish/Australian
Ron Johnson
 
 

 
 
Card 22 British
Wally "Nobby" Key
 
 

 
 
Card 23
New Zealander
Wally Kilmister
 
 
Wally was the first successful Kiwi to make an impact in the UK.  Who would have guessed that Kiwi Wally was paving the way for Ronnie Moore, Barry Briggs and Ivan Mauger!
 

 
 
Card 24 British
Bill Kitchen
 
 

 
 
Card 25 British
Gus Kuhn
 
 
The card says Gus was racing motorcycles "before the War".  The "War" in question was the First World War 1914-18.  He was obviously not a teenager when he took up speedway in 1928
 

 
 
Card 26 Australian
Cyclone Billy Lamont
 
 
Billy was one of speedway's very first big star draws.  He impressed wherever he went
 

 
 
Card 27 British
Eric Langton
 
 
A top English rider.  He was beaten in a run off by Australian Lionel Van Praag for the 1936 world title.  He started at Leeds and must be the best ever Leeds rider.
 

 
 
Card 28 British
Harold Riley Lees
aka "Ginger" Lees
 
 

 
 
Card 29 British
Walter "Wally" Lloyd
 
 

 
Card 30 American
Cordy Milne
 
 
 
Cordy was the younger brother of Jack Milne.  The Milne brothers were the pick of the American riders of the early 1930s era.
 

 
 
Card 31 American
Jack Milne
 
 
Jack and brother Cordy finished 2nd and 3rd in the 1937 World Championship and had the second world war not came along two years later one or both of the brothers could easily have been world champion.
 

 
 
Card 32 Australian
John Glass
aka Mick Murphy
 
 

 
 
Card 33 British
George Newton
 
 
 
John says: I am too young to have seen George Newton ride.  However every photo of George that I have seen, like the above picture shows him to have been very exciting to watch
 

 
 
Card 34 British
Jack Ormston
 
 

 
 
Card 35 British
Jack Parker
 
 

 
 
Card 36 British
Cliff Parkinson
 
 

 
 
Card 37 British
Tommy Price (Liverpool)
 
 
I know this era had two Tommy Price's.  This card refers to the Lancashire rider, not the southern Tommy Price.  I can tell them apart by their ears The Wembley Tommy had sticky out ears but this drawing shows the northern Tommy with prominent ears!  Maybe the artist got it wrong and confused the two guys
 

 
 
Card 38 British
Geoff Pymar
 
 

 
 
Card 39 British
Claude Rye
 
 

 
 
Card 40 Australian
Jack Sharp
 
 

 
 
Card 41 British
Harry Shepherd
 
 
Harry was a nuts and bolts guy and was involved in inventing the starting gate, something so fundamental to us modern fans, but yes the sport started without starting gates. They had to be invented and manufactured for all the UK tracks to use.  Harry was your man for this.
 

 
 
Card 42 Australian
Dicky Smythe
 
 

 
 
Card 43 British
Harold "Tiger" Stevenson
 
 
Tiger reversed the trend of Aussie riders coming to the UK and being successful.  He travelled to OZ and rode there with lots of success.
 

 
 
Card 44 British
Fred Strecker
 
 

 
 
Card 45 Australian
Lionel Van Praag
 
 
An incredible name "Lionel Van Praag" he etched his name into speedway records for ever!  He won the first world championship in 1936
 

 
 
Card 46 British
Frank Varey
 
 
Frank rode a Scott 500cc 2-stroke machine when he started. The Scott's paintwork was mainly red and he rode in Argentina wearing a red jersey.  They nicknamed him the "Red Devil"
 

 
 
Card 47 British
Colin Watson
 
 
This artwork is suspect I have never seen a JAP fuel tank that shape.  I think the artist has got it wrong!
 

 
 
Card 48 Australian
Arthur "Bluey" Wilkinson
 
 
 
Australians call ginger headed guys "Bluey" hence Arthurs speedway name
 

 
 
Card 49 British
George Wilks
 
 

 
 
Card 50 Australian
Dicky Wise
 
 
I believe this Card Set is the best one available for collectors but if you have any other sets please get busy scanning and send the images to me John
 
 
David Pipes' Original
Player's Collection
 
David says: Hi John, I am attaching scans of the Players booklet – as you are aware the cards were issued with gum on the backs and all you had to do was lick or moisten the back and stick the card into the special album sold by Players for one penny !  As you already have this set on your website I think that you would be interested to see how the cards were originally meant to be viewed (with a reasonable bit of artwork included).
 
John says: Yes David a collection in the original booklet is always great to see.  Players did a great job with their cig cards
 
The Player's Booklet
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Player's Please!  As an ex smoker with a cough!  I wish I had never took up the habit.  However cigarette cards like this set are a source of speedway information for anyone looking into the history of the sport.  So thank you David Pipes and thank you Players
 

The contents of the site are and should not be reproduced elsewhere for financial gain. The contributors to this site gave the pictures and information on that understanding.  If anyone has any issue or objections to any items on the site please e-mail and I will amend or remove the item.  Where possible credit has been given to the owner of each item


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