Magic moments of Bradford speedway recalled in new DVD

Speedway action at Odsal

Arthur Forrest riding in 1955

First published in News
Last updated

MAGIC moments of speedway in Bradford are recalled in a nostalgic new DVD looking back at now-defunct tracks, including Odsal.

Six hours of nostalgia will bring memories flooding back for fans of the sport in the city - and beyond - 17 years since the roar of 500cc bikes with no brakes was last heard at Bradford Speedway.

The triple disc DVD - entitled Defunct British Speedway Tracks - includes old archive footage of the Tudors, Northern and Dukes racing at Odsal, where the sport was last staged in 1997.

Among the former Bradford riding favourites featured in the package include stars such as Arthur Forrest, Oliver Hart, Kenny Carter and Gary Havelock. The team is also seen in action away from Odsal at Belle Vue and West Ham.

Ardent speedway fan John Murphy, of Bradford, said: "That word 'defunct' is something speedway fans absolutely despise. However, fair play to 'Backtrack' for keeping the history alive.

"As long as the track perimeter remains around the Odsal pitch, so does the spirit and skill of Erik Gundersen, Per Jonsson, and all Bradford and opposing riders who entertained so many in what was, and is, a unique stadium.

"So many great teams are no more, and the biggest sadness is not one remains in the London Metropolitan area - Wimbledon, Hackney, West Ham, Haringey, New Cross and, of course, Wembley. They are all gone.

"But the memories live on in our hearts and whilst we now lament the demise of Birmingham we must stretch every sinew to support the speedway that still runs and provides the very best in motor sport entertainment."

As well as Odsal, the DVD features 64 other past venues including Halifax, Castleford and the vast majority of British speedway’s long-lost tracks from famous big city arenas to remote, much-loved outposts in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, said a spokesman for producers Retro Speedway.

The spokesman added: "Lap up the action time again with more than 250 races."

The DVD release comes at the same time as an update on a Persimmon Homes development near Odsal featuring streets named after Bradford speedway legends.

Peterson Court, Forrest Close, Dukes Avenue and Northern View will take pride of place on the development a stone’s throw from Odsal Stadium.

The development is due to be ready next year, but a sales office on site is set to open in October - the same month Gary Peterson died in a race at Wolverhampton in 1975.

Mr Murphy said: "His untimely death was compounded by the closure of speedway in Bradford weeks later.

"It reflects so well on Bradford Council and Persimmon Homes that Peterson Court will take its place as part of the development."

The DVD, priced at £20, can be ordered from Retro Speedway on 01708 734502, from www.retro-speedway.com, or by post to Retro Speedway (Defunct Tracks DVD), 103 Douglas Road, Hornchurch, Essex, RM11 1AW.

Comments (8)

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10:35am Fri 25 Jul 14

Apollo says...

Buy the DVD because that is the only way you will ever see speedway again at Odsal.
Buy the DVD because that is the only way you will ever see speedway again at Odsal. Apollo
  • Score: 1

7:47pm Fri 25 Jul 14

emerald tyke says...

never say never it might happen in the future but.. speedway at least provided fans with memorable moments, pity the rugby team brought such bad press to Bradford.
never say never it might happen in the future but.. speedway at least provided fans with memorable moments, pity the rugby team brought such bad press to Bradford. emerald tyke
  • Score: -2

6:34am Sat 26 Jul 14

theoutsider says...

How much footage on the DVD of the 1970s at Odsal?. Fairly certain this wiil be at a premium; over the years my efforts to unearth film of the 1970-75:era has met with zero sucess. The BBC/Calendar did have images but I was informed the footage had long been deleted. It would be interesting to see what Retro DVDs have come up with. Nice gesture by Persimon to **** their hat to our heros. But dont you just know that any attempt to revive speedway at Odsal is going to meet with opposition from folks buying homes on this new estate!. The only thing I would say on that is that the stadium was there long long before a brick wss laid so the existing use factor comes into play.Any attempt to block sperdway, stocks, motorsports or concert events on noise grounds by residents could and should be thrown out If not we need those names taking off those streets sharpish!.
How much footage on the DVD of the 1970s at Odsal?. Fairly certain this wiil be at a premium; over the years my efforts to unearth film of the 1970-75:era has met with zero sucess. The BBC/Calendar did have images but I was informed the footage had long been deleted. It would be interesting to see what Retro DVDs have come up with. Nice gesture by Persimon to **** their hat to our heros. But dont you just know that any attempt to revive speedway at Odsal is going to meet with opposition from folks buying homes on this new estate!. The only thing I would say on that is that the stadium was there long long before a brick wss laid so the existing use factor comes into play.Any attempt to block sperdway, stocks, motorsports or concert events on noise grounds by residents could and should be thrown out If not we need those names taking off those streets sharpish!. theoutsider
  • Score: 0

7:00am Sat 26 Jul 14

Albion. says...

theoutsider wrote:
How much footage on the DVD of the 1970s at Odsal?. Fairly certain this wiil be at a premium; over the years my efforts to unearth film of the 1970-75:era has met with zero sucess. The BBC/Calendar did have images but I was informed the footage had long been deleted. It would be interesting to see what Retro DVDs have come up with. Nice gesture by Persimon to **** their hat to our heros. But dont you just know that any attempt to revive speedway at Odsal is going to meet with opposition from folks buying homes on this new estate!. The only thing I would say on that is that the stadium was there long long before a brick wss laid so the existing use factor comes into play.Any attempt to block sperdway, stocks, motorsports or concert events on noise grounds by residents could and should be thrown out If not we need those names taking off those streets sharpish!.
Speedway is almost dead, there is absolutely no chance of it returning to Odsal, it'll probably be down to one league of half a dozen tracks soon.
[quote][p][bold]theoutsider[/bold] wrote: How much footage on the DVD of the 1970s at Odsal?. Fairly certain this wiil be at a premium; over the years my efforts to unearth film of the 1970-75:era has met with zero sucess. The BBC/Calendar did have images but I was informed the footage had long been deleted. It would be interesting to see what Retro DVDs have come up with. Nice gesture by Persimon to **** their hat to our heros. But dont you just know that any attempt to revive speedway at Odsal is going to meet with opposition from folks buying homes on this new estate!. The only thing I would say on that is that the stadium was there long long before a brick wss laid so the existing use factor comes into play.Any attempt to block sperdway, stocks, motorsports or concert events on noise grounds by residents could and should be thrown out If not we need those names taking off those streets sharpish!.[/p][/quote]Speedway is almost dead, there is absolutely no chance of it returning to Odsal, it'll probably be down to one league of half a dozen tracks soon. Albion.
  • Score: 1

10:44am Sat 26 Jul 14

Bone_idle18 says...

emerald tyke wrote:
never say never it might happen in the future but.. speedway at least provided fans with memorable moments, pity the rugby team brought such bad press to Bradford.
What a pathetic statement.
[quote][p][bold]emerald tyke[/bold] wrote: never say never it might happen in the future but.. speedway at least provided fans with memorable moments, pity the rugby team brought such bad press to Bradford.[/p][/quote]What a pathetic statement. Bone_idle18
  • Score: 3

10:49am Sat 26 Jul 14

Bone_idle18 says...

emerald tyke wrote:
never say never it might happen in the future but.. speedway at least provided fans with memorable moments, pity the rugby team brought such bad press to Bradford.
How many times did Bradford speedway fold? There was no money in the sport,even in its heyday.

Basically their most successful person came after the Halifax Dukes upped sticks and moved to Bradford. I'm sure the Halifax fans were happy about that.

The problems of the speedway team had nothing to do with the rugby team.
[quote][p][bold]emerald tyke[/bold] wrote: never say never it might happen in the future but.. speedway at least provided fans with memorable moments, pity the rugby team brought such bad press to Bradford.[/p][/quote]How many times did Bradford speedway fold? There was no money in the sport,even in its heyday. Basically their most successful person came after the Halifax Dukes upped sticks and moved to Bradford. I'm sure the Halifax fans were happy about that. The problems of the speedway team had nothing to do with the rugby team. Bone_idle18
  • Score: 2

8:34pm Sat 26 Jul 14

theoutsider says...

Bone_idle18 wrote:
emerald tyke wrote:
never say never it might happen in the future but.. speedway at least provided fans with memorable moments, pity the rugby team brought such bad press to Bradford.
How many times did Bradford speedway fold? There was no money in the sport,even in its heyday.

Basically their most successful person came after the Halifax Dukes upped sticks and moved to Bradford. I'm sure the Halifax fans were happy about that.

The problems of the speedway team had nothing to do with the rugby team.
Speedways history at Odsal has been punctuated across the decades I will grant you that. But it is an integral part of the Odsal history and contributed some memorable occasions over time. There have been some large attendences and some equally poor ones. By the end of the 90s era crowds were hardly beyond 1000 with the top riders in the world. Halifax upped sticks because they had to. At the time - 1986 the Shay did not meet safety standards for speedway and the cost to meet them was prohibitive. Odsal had been upgrade for the World Speedway Final 1985 so it was a no brainer to switch the Dukes up the hill to Odsal. Trouble was the support from Halifax did not stick with it and with the tragic loss of Englands No1 Kenny Carter it all conspired against the revival of regular league racing in Bradford.
I agree about Speedway and Odsal; as much as I would love to see it return I favour a return of the sport to Halifax or surrounding district.
Like speedway; rugby league has had some defining moments at Odsal but equally some less inspiring periods- and is about to embark on another less than inspiring period in the second tier of rugby league. As things stand its hard to see how Odsal Stadium is sustainable on 14 or so Div2 RL fixtures in front of 4-5000 crowds and little prospect of breaking back into Super League.
Odsal Stadium is a real conundrum; belongs to the RFL but is unsustainable as a venue unless someone realises it has to work harder for Bradford than a handful of second rate RL matches. Speedway n Stocks cars won't save Odsal in themselves or Odsal suddenly have thousands cramming the terraces to watch them. But you know what perhaps right now they might just be of help to each other and Bradford. Other than that I just cannot see that this famous old icon of Bradfords sporting heritage is doomed to closure and memories.
[quote][p][bold]Bone_idle18[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]emerald tyke[/bold] wrote: never say never it might happen in the future but.. speedway at least provided fans with memorable moments, pity the rugby team brought such bad press to Bradford.[/p][/quote]How many times did Bradford speedway fold? There was no money in the sport,even in its heyday. Basically their most successful person came after the Halifax Dukes upped sticks and moved to Bradford. I'm sure the Halifax fans were happy about that. The problems of the speedway team had nothing to do with the rugby team.[/p][/quote]Speedways history at Odsal has been punctuated across the decades I will grant you that. But it is an integral part of the Odsal history and contributed some memorable occasions over time. There have been some large attendences and some equally poor ones. By the end of the 90s era crowds were hardly beyond 1000 with the top riders in the world. Halifax upped sticks because they had to. At the time - 1986 the Shay did not meet safety standards for speedway and the cost to meet them was prohibitive. Odsal had been upgrade for the World Speedway Final 1985 so it was a no brainer to switch the Dukes up the hill to Odsal. Trouble was the support from Halifax did not stick with it and with the tragic loss of Englands No1 Kenny Carter it all conspired against the revival of regular league racing in Bradford. I agree about Speedway and Odsal; as much as I would love to see it return I favour a return of the sport to Halifax or surrounding district. Like speedway; rugby league has had some defining moments at Odsal but equally some less inspiring periods- and is about to embark on another less than inspiring period in the second tier of rugby league. As things stand its hard to see how Odsal Stadium is sustainable on 14 or so Div2 RL fixtures in front of 4-5000 crowds and little prospect of breaking back into Super League. Odsal Stadium is a real conundrum; belongs to the RFL but is unsustainable as a venue unless someone realises it has to work harder for Bradford than a handful of second rate RL matches. Speedway n Stocks cars won't save Odsal in themselves or Odsal suddenly have thousands cramming the terraces to watch them. But you know what perhaps right now they might just be of help to each other and Bradford. Other than that I just cannot see that this famous old icon of Bradfords sporting heritage is doomed to closure and memories. theoutsider
  • Score: -1

7:45pm Sun 27 Jul 14

Apollo says...

theoutsider wrote:
Bone_idle18 wrote:
emerald tyke wrote:
never say never it might happen in the future but.. speedway at least provided fans with memorable moments, pity the rugby team brought such bad press to Bradford.
How many times did Bradford speedway fold? There was no money in the sport,even in its heyday.

Basically their most successful person came after the Halifax Dukes upped sticks and moved to Bradford. I'm sure the Halifax fans were happy about that.

The problems of the speedway team had nothing to do with the rugby team.
Speedways history at Odsal has been punctuated across the decades I will grant you that. But it is an integral part of the Odsal history and contributed some memorable occasions over time. There have been some large attendences and some equally poor ones. By the end of the 90s era crowds were hardly beyond 1000 with the top riders in the world. Halifax upped sticks because they had to. At the time - 1986 the Shay did not meet safety standards for speedway and the cost to meet them was prohibitive. Odsal had been upgrade for the World Speedway Final 1985 so it was a no brainer to switch the Dukes up the hill to Odsal. Trouble was the support from Halifax did not stick with it and with the tragic loss of Englands No1 Kenny Carter it all conspired against the revival of regular league racing in Bradford.
I agree about Speedway and Odsal; as much as I would love to see it return I favour a return of the sport to Halifax or surrounding district.
Like speedway; rugby league has had some defining moments at Odsal but equally some less inspiring periods- and is about to embark on another less than inspiring period in the second tier of rugby league. As things stand its hard to see how Odsal Stadium is sustainable on 14 or so Div2 RL fixtures in front of 4-5000 crowds and little prospect of breaking back into Super League.
Odsal Stadium is a real conundrum; belongs to the RFL but is unsustainable as a venue unless someone realises it has to work harder for Bradford than a handful of second rate RL matches. Speedway n Stocks cars won't save Odsal in themselves or Odsal suddenly have thousands cramming the terraces to watch them. But you know what perhaps right now they might just be of help to each other and Bradford. Other than that I just cannot see that this famous old icon of Bradfords sporting heritage is doomed to closure and memories.
It would make a good landfill site.
[quote][p][bold]theoutsider[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Bone_idle18[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]emerald tyke[/bold] wrote: never say never it might happen in the future but.. speedway at least provided fans with memorable moments, pity the rugby team brought such bad press to Bradford.[/p][/quote]How many times did Bradford speedway fold? There was no money in the sport,even in its heyday. Basically their most successful person came after the Halifax Dukes upped sticks and moved to Bradford. I'm sure the Halifax fans were happy about that. The problems of the speedway team had nothing to do with the rugby team.[/p][/quote]Speedways history at Odsal has been punctuated across the decades I will grant you that. But it is an integral part of the Odsal history and contributed some memorable occasions over time. There have been some large attendences and some equally poor ones. By the end of the 90s era crowds were hardly beyond 1000 with the top riders in the world. Halifax upped sticks because they had to. At the time - 1986 the Shay did not meet safety standards for speedway and the cost to meet them was prohibitive. Odsal had been upgrade for the World Speedway Final 1985 so it was a no brainer to switch the Dukes up the hill to Odsal. Trouble was the support from Halifax did not stick with it and with the tragic loss of Englands No1 Kenny Carter it all conspired against the revival of regular league racing in Bradford. I agree about Speedway and Odsal; as much as I would love to see it return I favour a return of the sport to Halifax or surrounding district. Like speedway; rugby league has had some defining moments at Odsal but equally some less inspiring periods- and is about to embark on another less than inspiring period in the second tier of rugby league. As things stand its hard to see how Odsal Stadium is sustainable on 14 or so Div2 RL fixtures in front of 4-5000 crowds and little prospect of breaking back into Super League. Odsal Stadium is a real conundrum; belongs to the RFL but is unsustainable as a venue unless someone realises it has to work harder for Bradford than a handful of second rate RL matches. Speedway n Stocks cars won't save Odsal in themselves or Odsal suddenly have thousands cramming the terraces to watch them. But you know what perhaps right now they might just be of help to each other and Bradford. Other than that I just cannot see that this famous old icon of Bradfords sporting heritage is doomed to closure and memories.[/p][/quote]It would make a good landfill site. Apollo
  • Score: 0

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