Defunct Speedway Tracks

 

 
 
Reg Fearman
 

"Both Sides of the Fence"
Reg's
Autobiography 2014

 

 
 
Reg's Book Launch
At Cardiff's British GP 2014
 
 
Contact details are at the end of this page's tribute to Reg
 
 
Reg in his riding days, in Leicester Hunter's colours at an individual event in Amserdam 1953 and at a WSRA meeting with the then WSRA President and good friend of Reg's, Ove Fundin.
 

 
 
The Autobiography
 
 

 
Press Release
From:   Philip Dalling
Fearman Autobiography … 1
 
Speedway legend Reg Fearman lifts the lid on a controversial racing life
 
The explosive memoirs of a man, who for more than 40 years held down every job worth having in speedway racing and knew intimately every individual in the sport worth knowing, will be published to coincide with the 2014 British Grand Prix.
 
Both Sides of the Fence is an apt title for the long-awaited autobiography of East End boy Reg Fearman, who was presented with his racing licence on his sixteenth birthday, in front of more than 40,000 fans at one of speedway’s glamour venues, West Ham’s Custom House Stadium.
 
Fearman went on to ride for the Hammers in the sport’s National League Division One at the height of speedway’s post-war boom period,  when in 1949 more than ten million spectators packed stadia such as Custom House, Wembley, Harringay, Manchester’s Belle Vue and the cavernous Odsal Stadium, Bradford.
 
He was part of the British Lions test side which toured Australia in 1950-51 and also raced for Stoke and Leicester and in New Zealand.  He went on to promote speedway at Stoke, Middlesbrough, Leicester, Long Eaton, and Halifax, where his team were British League champions in 1966.
 
His crowning achievement in club speedway was at Reading, where he refused to accept defeat when the stadium used by his successful Racers team - which won the British League championship and the knock-out cup was sold under his feet in 1973.
 
When most people in the sport added the Berkshire town to the list of former speedway venues, Reg was the driving force behind the construction of a new stadium on the site of a former rubbish tip, gaining national media headlines in the process.
 
Reg was a successful international team manager, guiding the British Lions to test series success in Australia in 1973/74 and again in 1977/78. He introduced speedway racing to the Middle East, promoting the sport in Egypt, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi.
 
On the other side of the fence he was one of the founders of the Provincial League, which revived British speedway in 1960 after the number of operating tracks had reached a post-war low.   In 1965 he was in at the birth of the highly successful British League and three years later was one of the inspirations behind the creation of a second division for the competition.
 
In 1973 he was elected chairman of the British Speedway Promoters Association and served seven terms.   He had previously been chairman of the British League Division Two from 1968 to 1972.
 
More follows …
Fearman Autobiography … 2
 
Both Sides of the Fence is not simply a record of the life and times of one of the sport’s major personalities.    It does not shrink from tackling head-on some of the major issues to affect the sport over the years, from shrinking popularity to drug-taking and race-fixing.
 
Fearman spotlights the intriguing characters that made speedway so exciting and colourful during the years when the sport challenged football for popularity.  He lifts the lid on the behind-the-scenes controversies and gives his frank and sometimes damning appraisals of riders, promoters and administrators.
 
He is disarmingly frank about his less successful speedway ventures, notably his spell in charge of one of the sport’s most iconic clubs, the Poole Pirates.   The chapter dealing with the period in question says it all, being entitled The Poole Disasters.
 
Away from the speedway tracks Fearman recalls his childhood in the old East End of London,   the thrill of being a teenage star during the sport’s post-war golden age, the ups and downs of National Service, and the heart-breaking illness which robbed him of his first wife and business partner.
 
Now happily re-married, Reg, a former President and a still active member of the World Speedway Riders Association, spends much of his life touring Britain, the Continent of Europe, the United States and Australia, meeting up with his former team-mates and opponents.
 
Both Sides of the Fence has forewords by five times World Champion Ove Fundin and the late John Berry, one of speedways most successful and also most controversial promoters and administrators.   The excellence of the book has been endorsed by leading speedway historians.
 
John Chaplin says: “Reg Fearman is the man who knows all of speedway’s secrets … and is prepared to reveal them. He has taken a unique, full-throttle, white-knuckle ride to the top as an international rider, a world-class team manager, a successful promoter and a formidable administrator. He has never ducked a confrontation, on or off the speedway track; he knows the glamorous and the murky side of a tough, fabulously exciting and sometimes cruel sport, and he spares no one's blushes … not even his own.”
 
Brian Belton JP says: From humble origins in London’s East End, this is the story of how Reg Fearman became a local hero with West Ham, the cockney giants of speedway, and went on to represent his country, first as a rider at the tender age of 17, and then as an international manager.  A captivating mixture of sporting achievement, politics and business and social history, it also looks at how speedway was resurrected from the doldrums of the late 1950s and dragged into a new ‘Jet Age’ golden era, a time which paved the way for the heights that the sport has enjoyed in the twenty-first century as a global phenomenon. Including a plethora of untold truths, revelations and a rich treasure trove of photographs, Reg lays bare for the first time the sensational inside story of the resurrection of speedway … warts and all!
 
More follows …
Fearman Autobiography … 3
Notes to editors:
Both Sides of the Fence will be published by The History Press (ISBN: 9780750958486) 16.99 on July 7 2014.   
 
It will be on sale in Cardiff at the British Speedway Grand Prix on Saturday July 12 2014,  available at the memorabilia fair organised by Nick Barber at the Cardiff Blues Rugby Club (10 30am to 4pm adjacent to the Millennium Stadium, where Reg Fearman will be in attendance throughout the day to sign copies.
 
For photo and interview opportunities and/or review copies please contact Helen Bradbury at The History Press on 01453 732550 hbradbury@thehistorypress.co.uk 
 
or Philip Dalling on 01598 752335 or 07706 999365 or 07732 212937 email: dalling.philip@hotmail.co.uk.
 

 
John Skinner of Defunct Speedway's Endorsement

 

I know Reg and Phillip, having met them both and exchanged many emails over the years.  Reg still has his old charisma and with consummate professional Phillip I can't think of anyone better qualified to write a book like this. I am awaiting my copy.  Good luck with the sales Reg and when you get tired of signing copies of your book, sign me a blank cheque eh! John
 

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