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Road name honour for Bradford speedway aces
A speedway fanatic has got his perfect Christmas present – because four streets on a new housing development in Bradford will be named in honour of the sport in the city.
Peterson Court, Forrest Close, Dukes Avenue and Northern View will take pride of place in a Persimmon Homes development a stone’s throw from Odsal Stadium – where speedway enthralled fans until it disappeared in 1997.
And, with talks about the sport returning to Bradford hitting a brick wall, a delighted John Murphy – whose first trip to speedway was in 1972 – took solace when Bradford Council told him they had agreed to his street-naming idea.
Mr Murphy, 55, who praised Jayne Storr at the Council and Wyke councillors David Robinson, Sarah Ferriby and David Warburton for their help, said: “Once the Industrial Museum Speedway Exhibition was over, I brought away one amazing item – the visitors’ book.
“The comments that were left proved to me they were kindred spirits – the speedway they had seen in Bradford had lived with them and within them long after they no longer had the opportunity to see their sport live.
“Families were formed at Bradford speedway, young ones met as boy or girl, and years forward were married and became parents. Just like me!
“Bradford Council’s deep respect and honour in allowing speedway to live on through the names offered is such a wonderful tribute to everyone who supported Bradford speedway – the promoters, administrators, track workers, the caterers and raffle ticket sellers.
“But most of all the riders – brave and talented men.”
The streets are named after Gary Peterson, Arthur Forrest, Bradford Dukes and Bradford Northern.
Mr Forrest was born in Bradford and was a leading light between 1952 and 1957 for the Bradford Tudors side. Known as The Black Prince, he was the only Bradford rider to appear in five World Speedway Finals.
New Zealander Mr Peterson signed for Bradford Northern when speedway returned to Odsal in 1970. Tragically, he was killed on the Odsal track in October 1975.
When speedway returned to Odsal in 1985, the team became known as Bradford Dukes. The Dukes won speedway’s inaugural Elite League title in 1997.
Bradford’s speedway team took the Northern name – also synonymous with rugby league – between 1970 and 1973.
Councillor Robinson said: “I was very supportive of it because although I was not a fan of speedway and didn’t go and watch, it did bring a lot into the city at the time.
“Mr Murphy has done his lobbying in the correct way and in a very professional manner. He deserves what he has got.”
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