Wednesday, May 05, 2021


A weekly newspaper based in Brigg helped to introduce a thrilling new spectator sport to North Lincolnshire half-a-century ago.
Brigg Blog received an interesting nostalgia-related email yesterday (Tuesday) about speedway - meetings in Scunthorpe drawing many spectators from our area over the years and this will be the case again in the months ahead.
One of the first local references to this sport came 50 years ago through an advert placed in the Brigg-based Lincolnshire Times newspaper, promoting the very first local meeting.
We managed to locate this advert, some years ago, while pouring through bound copies of the Lincs Times which were then stored at the museum in Scunthorpe.
Scunthorpe speedway reached its 50th birthday on Monday (May 3) the debut meeting having been held at Quibell Park on May 3, 1971.
The current franchise informs us: "Long Eaton boss Vic White and his business partner Pete Wrathall investigated the possibility of introducing speedway to the town, and found a suitable venue at Quibell Park, a stadium for both athletics and cycling.
"Over two hundred tonnes of shale were laid on top of the running track - with speedway and athletics uniquely sharing the same circuit.
"Over 4,000 fans flocked to the first meeting. Scunthorpe Saints mostly used riders from Division Two club Long Eaton, who were run by the same promotion, which also included Ivor Brown, with Wrathall - a current rider - as a silent partner.
"Saints took a 39-38 victory over Hull in the Humberside Trophy, and commenced a series of challenge matches that would see out the summer."
Saints’ scorers for that historic first meeting: Geoff Bouchard 12 (4), Wrathall 7 (4), Stuart Jay 6 (3), Peter Gay 5+2 (4), Roger Mills 4+1 (4), Phil Whittaker 4+1 (4), Garth Coleman 1 (3)."
Current Scunthorpe speedway promoter Rob Godfrey said: “It’s quite a landmark to reach our 50th anniversary.
“Of course, the club didn’t run for every one of those 50 years. After the closure in 1985 of our second home at Ashby Ville, we didn’t open up at the Eddie Wright Raceway until 2005.
“But it’s now 50 years since the speedway bug hit Scunthorpe and it’s formed such a major part of so many lives.
“Without the likes of those who ran the club in those opening years, including Brian Osborn, who switched from one side of the fence to the other in 1972 and had a ten-year association with the club, it wouldn’t be here for us to enjoy today."Scunthorpe Scorpions will take to the track for the first time in 2021 with a "mouthwatering" home fixture on Friday, May 21st (7.30pm) at the Eddie Wright Raceway against a Plymouth Gladiators side containing both treble World Champion Jason Crump and former Grand Prix star Bjarne Pedersen.
Brigg Blog's spell on the Scunthorpe Telegraph sports desk included covering some evening speedway meetings in the mid-1980s held at the Ashby Ville track (now forming part of the Retail Park).