Supporters & None Riding Staff
 
Newcastle Programme 1950, The Magpies
 
This page contains pictures and recollections from the supporters/staff but again the content depends upon you!  If you have been collecting badges, programmes, photos, traveling to far flung places to support the team, why not e-mail me and see if we can get something "interesting" onto this page? John
 
The page is dedicated to the staff, fans, past and present who have supported the sport.  If you are now living on the other side of the world, down south in London town or in a maximum security twilight home!, we want to hear from you.  I can maybe put you in touch with old friends that still support the Diamonds.  Send me an E-mail John 
 

 
 
Cardiff 2014
 
Every year there is a mass exodus of fans and officials from the north east to the Welsh capital Cardiff, for the annual staging of The British Grand Prix.   Our travelling party in 2014 helped swell the attendance of the GP to around 50,000
 
 
 
My good friend Archie Cooper has provided these 2 photos from Cardiff 2014 and the trip would not be complete without photographs of Newcastle's contingent taken outside the Queens Vaults.  Archie has sent me the following pics of the massed Newcastle Fans outside the Queens.
 
 
The Queens Vaults Annual
Newcastle Photograph 2014
 
 
 
 
Perhaps someone can recall when this "tradition" actually started if so please email me John 
 

 
 
Dave's Diamonds
 
 
 
Dave Rowland began watching the Diamonds way back in 1961 and is better known as a Promoter and as a Team Manager in 2003.  He was, and very much still is, as enthusiastic a supporter as you could find.  Dave was involved in the supporters club big time!
I am waiting for the story of the trophy to come from "The Horses Mouth", so come on Dave what was it for?
 
The horse has spoken! The following passage is direct from Dave and I'll bet you recognise the names and the pubs etc.
 
SUPPORTERS CLUB.
 
With the re-introduction of speedway in 1961 by Mike Parker, a Supporters Club was formed, under the chairmanship of Harry Newman the committee included Johnny Hewlett, George English Snr, Stan Cooper, George Ince, Tommy Willis, John Taylor, and Jackie Hiscock. The club originally met in the Portland pub on Portland Road, Shieldfield before moving to the nearby Clarence Street Mission. Meetings were held every Wednesday evening and table tennis, darts, a good natter, and pop music was on offer. Karl Denver’s “Wimoweh”, B Bumble and the Stingers “Nutrocker” and Del Shannon’s “Runaway” being the most memorable hits of the period.
 
It was then onto the Viaduct Hotel, Wilfred Street in Byker in the mid 60’s. The club met in the upstairs room being served by the bar downstairs by the ‘dumb waiter’ under the supervision of Mable the manageress and Ella Garbutt. Again the thriving club met on a Wednesday night and introduced a lucrative sweep which subsidised the trips away. A couple of darts teams were formed and played in the Newcastle East End leagues. Leading players included Barry Wallace, Dave Rowland, Alan Rigney, Johnny Hewlett, George English Snr. Stan Cooper, Jackie Hiscock, Fred Smith, David Davies, Dave Goodwin, Albert Robson and Ralphy Short. In addition a tenpin bowling league called the Speedsters League, and organised by George English Snr, started at the Megabowl on the West Road, Newcastle. The league ran on a Sunday evening and introduced and produced a lot of good bowlers. This success culminated in the club being crowned British Speedway Supporters Champions in 1967 with a team called Maugers 5 at Belle Vue. George English Snr, Dave Rowland (third individual overall, see above photo), Alan Rigney and Jim Smith were in the team. This national competition was held in the afternoon at Belle Vue before the British Speedway Championship that was held that evening. At the same meeting the competition for Miss Speedway was held, Newcastle being represented by Miss Helen Percy for years and the famous speedway photographer, Spencer Oliver’s daughter.
 
The best day out that the supporters’ club arranged was undoubtedly the Provincial Riders Championships, then the British Championships, that were held ever year at Hyde Road, Belle Vue. The buses set out early on Saturday morning, down the Al stopping at Leeming Bar, down through Leeds and Huddersfield  and over the old A62 to Manchester. 19 buses were employed one year in addition of course to all the private cars as well. On arrival everyone spend the afternoon in the famous Pleasure Gardens and the Zoo before preparing for the PLRC. Riders in the field included Ivan Mauger, Brian Craven, Brian Brett, Bill Andrews, Gil Goldfinch. After the meeting the fireworks topped off the day before you went to the ballroom entrance to see the riders and families arriving for the after meeting get together. To a lot of fans this day was their holidays and the day that nobody missed.
 
The club ran buses to every away meeting, such was the demand, and one year the supporters bus took Mike Watkin and Peter Kelly and their bikes to Cradley Heath to lock horns with Ivor Brown, Harry Bastable and co..
 
In the 70’s the supporters club moved to other establishments including the Plough Inn on Byker Bank, and the Ford Arms, Byker but in the fullness of time the regular night was disbanded and regular monthly meetings were held on an ad hoc basis mainly at the PTE Club, Byker. These meetings still take place at the PTE club, The Chillingham Hotel, Heaton and the Tap and Spile public house, North Shields who are the 2004 main sponsor. The most prestigious end of season dinner dance, which used to be held at the Blackfriars Hall at St. Dominic’s Priory, Shieldfield is now held at the magnificent Old Assembly Rooms in Newcastle. There is no better venue and a great night is guaranteed.
 
Other events that have been organised are competitive afternoon 5 a side tournaments, with riders Max Schofield and David Walsh excelling, followed by BBQ’s that evening at the same venue. 
 
As the speedway attendances have declined since the glory days of the mid 60’s, the supporters club has also suffered with membership but it still forms an important backup organisation to help Newcastle Speedway keep its head above water. Long may it continue.
 

 
 
 Bob Grainger - Travels With Bobby
 
 No photo of Bob, Is he shy?

Photo supplied by Bob himself!

 

Bob was a familiar site at all of Newcastle's away matches, he must know the best way to anywhere by now!  So I asked him to share his vast knowledge of the highways with us.  Visit this section if you want to know Bob's best route to support the Diamonds on their travels, I will!

 
How many Miles have your cars had on the clock Bob?
Bob Grainger says: My original blue escort covered in excess of 194,000 miles when I dismantled her and likewise my white one did over 80,000 miles and will reappear in a new body and chassis when I finished rebuilding her as a kit car. I know several ways to all tracks and while several people insist on travelling always by the motorways but so does everyone else and as the roads get busier and they are necessarily the best way to go.
 
John, first Escort Mk11 over 194,000 miles
second Escort Mk11 over 80,000 miles
present Carisma over 7,000 miles (not finished yet)
 
 
Edinburgh
 
Bob says: There are three possible ways you can go to Armadale, so take your choice:-

1) A1 all the way onto the A720 Edinburgh By-Pass follow until M8 to Glasgow but at junction 4 leave and join the A801 north to Bathgate/Whitburn and Falkirk follow road down passed 2 roundabouts turn left at the next one to Armadale. The Speedway Track is on the left and there are signs for speedway on the roundabouts.

2) A1 to Morpeth A687 through Coldstream then A698 rejoin A697 to Carefraemill where you join the A68 turn right and follow road towards Edinburgh. At junction with A720 follow route as before.

3) I always travel up via Otterburn and join the A68 and keep on until I reach the Edinburgh By-Pass and proceed as before.
The A1 has all the heavy traffic with lorries and cars and is 20-30miles longer than Coldstream which is probably the straightest but I find with the less traffic on my way I can get to Armadale in 2 and quarter hours without having to worry about speed camera's by the Carter Bar route.

 
 
Reading
 
Bob says: John, for Reading  there are several ways to go :-
 
1) as usual down M1 to junction 21 onto M69 then follow signs to Warwick on the A46, join M40 at junction 15 and leave at junction 9 and keep on the fast dual carriageway A34 all the way to the M4 just north of Newbury (Junction 13) travel towards London until junction 11 and keeping in the left hand lane head into Reading on the A33. The Speedway track is down this road on the left hand side past the large hotel. Watch for signs to waste tip take next narrow exit off roundabout.
 
2) As above except keep on M40 until junction 4 leave and travel down the A404 towards Maidenhead and join M4 and head to Swindon and Bristol and leave again at junction 11 and follow above route to track.
 
3) Keep on the M1 until junction 15A and join A43 and head to Oxford at junction10 on the M40 then choose which of any of the above later routes you prefer.
 
Take your choice of any of the above routes and any combination of them as they are all fairly fast routes and can be done in around 5hrs easily.
 
 
Kings Lynn
 
Bob says: John, here is the route for King's Lynn :-
 
1) A1 all the way down to Newark By-pass, watch for the junction turnoff for the A46/A17 at the next roundabout take the 2nd exit A17 to Sleaford. Keep on the A17 untill you reach the outskirts of King's Lynn where you pick the A47 keep straight on and at the 2nd junction leave the by-pass and crossover the main road to your right and follow signs to Saddlebow Road Ind. Est.
 
2) Stadium is about a mile down this road on the right.
 
 
Workington
 
Bob says: Workington Route :-
Leave Newcastle heading towards Hexham on the A689 continue along until you pass Carlisle airport and at the next roundabout (turning to right to M74 for Glasgow) go straight on into suburbs of Carlisle. At traffic lights keeping in right hand lane turn left into Carlisle down A7 again keeping in the right hand lane at next roundabout turn right onto the A595 (Wigton Road).
Follow this road all the way until near Cockermouth straight on at first roundabout and turn right at next one (Junction with A66) heading towards Workington. Drop down the bank into Workington and turn left at the lights, keeping again in the right hand lane turn right at the next lights and head towards the railway station. After a mile and a bit the Station is directly ahead of you go straight over junction and follow road round to the right after climbing rise in road Derwent Park can be seen ahead enter access road 2nd turning on the left.
I find this route is easy to drive and is only 94-95 miles from where I live and can be done in around 2hrs or less comfortably, this is because of the type of road you have to drive and of course the speed camera's.
 
 
Somerset & Rye House
 
Bob says: Route to Somerset/Rye house as follows :-
Usual route down M5 as if going to Exeter, leave M5 Junction 22 after a short while there is a roundabout (A38) turn left here
After a short distance there is a road junction on left and the stadium further down this main road and is well signposted on left.
Return on to M5 via same way go back up towards Bristol join M4 to London and keep on until M25 head north (M1/A1) and keep on M25 until junction 25 (A10) and head north.
Keep a look out for signs to Hoddesdon (A1070) leave A10 and go over A10 on a fly-over, drop down the hill until roundabout turn left here and at next roundabout turn right.
Go down the road (one way system) turn left and just up the road mini roundabout turn right. Keep going down narrow road over two bridges (River Lea, Railway) and stadium is behind the Rye House pub on the right.
At first roundabout watch for signs to Rye Park and you cannot go wrong.
 
 
Berwick
 
Bob says: John, for Berwick :-
A1 all the way until roundabout to Tweedmouth/Berwick then continue up A1 and take the first junction after this which is a 1/2 mile or so down from the roundabout. Take care crossing A1 South and head down road until you see signs to Shielfield Park on the right hand side and is approx. 1.5miles from A1. Turn immediately left into entrance and Stadium is straight ahead.
The distance from Newcastle is about 65 miles and can be done in 1.5 hours comfortably due to traffic and speed camera's
 
 
Hull
 
Bob says: John, for Hull trip :- there are two ways to go but for avoiding the traffic around tea time I prefer the second one.
 
1) A1 until junction with M62 and head towards Hull, keep on the M62 until join A63 into Hull Docks area( follow signs) At junction with A1033 (Hessle) head east until just past Kingston upon Hull ferry terminal turn left up Marfleet lane and right at traffic lights into Preston Road. Craven park is on the right crossing over dual carriageway.
 
2) A1 until A59 to York turn right down A1237 on by-pass and travel down until junction with A64. Leave A64 at 3rd junction and follow A1079 to Hull.
At outskirts of Hull at junction with A1033 go straight over large roundabout over bridge (River) at 2nd roundabout turn right and go down road. (signs for Docks well marked), Two close roundabouts go left at 2nd and straight on at next one onto single lane road, follow this road all the way until traffic lights (A165), cross straight over and when road bears right travel down the straighter road for a while.
At traffic lights turn left into dual carriageway (Preston Road) and again Craven Park is on the right after a 1/2 mile.
 
I have done both ways and find that if I go down the second way it is shorter and quicker during the day but at night the first way is better and simpler. So people can take their choice which way they wish to go.
 
 
Glasgow
 
Bob says: John, for trip to Glasgow :-
As with Workington but at roundabout off A689 go up the road until roundabout above M74 then head north to go to Glasgow. In outskirts of Glasgow keep, in left hand lane at junction 4/1 to go north up M73 and at next junction 8/2 head into Glasgow on the M8.
Keep on M8 until junction 15 do not take first slip road but the second over hill signposted A803 Springburn at bottom of road turn right then left at next junction After crossing over A803 cross over and down the slip road on your right and filter down onto A803. Follow this road for a few miles and when you climb hill and drop down take the next slip road left B808. At the junction with fly-over road turn left and head down the road for 1mile. 
The Stadium is on the left, major warning there is no parking in the car park allowed due to lack of space but later on they open a five a side football pitch to the left hand side of the pub. I always park my car early on the opposite side of the road facing back the way I came to make sure I have no problems. Parking is safe up the main side roads only opposite the track but I do not leave mine there at any time and have always parked on the main road.
 
 
Stoke
 
Bob says: Stoke :-
A1 all the way to junction with M1, keep on M1 until junction with the M62 then head east to Manchester. Follow signs to Liverpool when past Manchester and when junction with M6 head south to Birmingham. Keep on M6 all the way until junction 16 and take the A500 link road to Stoke, climb hill until junction with A34 and leave A500 and cross right over fly-over bridge and head towards Newcastle under Lyme. Go straight on at roundabout and then through traffic lights at top of hill, head over to the right hand lane and at next roundabout turn right towards Chesterton. Go down road and take 2nd exit i.e. more or less straight over and go down Loomer Road for about 1.5miles and the Stadium is on the left hand side past pub on the right,
There is large car park on entering stadium and you pay at the gate with your programme given as well.
 
 
Sheffield
 
Bob says: Sheffield :-
A1 then A1M down to Carnforth then pick up the M1 to London. Follow the M1 until junction 36 Sheffield North and keep on the main road until you pass the Hillborough Football ground on your right. The main road is a dual carriage way here and is straight, watch for a pub on your left hand side and the the road to Manchester is on your left straight after this. Turn in here and the Owlerton Stadium is to your left, there is a large car park here in front of the stadium but I park safely in the main road just down the access road facing back up towards the main road for free.
 
 
Exeter
 
Bob says: Exeter :- As with Newport but keep on the M5 until passing the Exeter Services, follow the M5 until the slip road to Oakhampton A30 turn left here and go under the motorway and head west on the A30. After about a couple of miles there is a turn off into Exeter South and go down hill and at traffic lights turn left.
Follow the road for quite a while until the junction with the B3212 (Traffic lights here) turn right and head again into Exeter. The parking is poor around the stadium so if you can get there early it is possible to park round the back by taking the first turning on your right and when you follow the road round to your left, immediately stop and park here for the meeting.
The Stadium back entrance is just down the road on your left.
It is possible to travel by Train direct from Newcastle to Exeter St Davids 9.30am - 3.30pm and change here for a stopping train to the first stop Exeter St. Thomas, alight here and you are on Cowick Street and head towards the shops on your left and the main entrance to the Stadium can be reached by going down the narrow lane beside St. Thomas's church and looking right.
The new Stadium is proposed to be around the race course area near the services turnoff.
 
 
Isle Of Wight
 
Bob says: Isle of Wight :- There are 3 ways to travel to the Isle of Wight Speedway :- 1) Train 2) Bus 3) Car
If you go by train or Bus you will end up on The Hard in Portsmouth Harbour and you get the Foot Ferry from here to the Ryde Pier Head and you can either walk or catch the train (Old Bakerloo Underground Train) to the Esplanade where there is Supporters Bus which takes you to the track on race nights (arrives about 6.50pm. After the meeting it returns you to the Esplanade to catch the return ferry back to Portsmouth.
By Car you can get to the M27 by various routes depending on which way you are coming, but when you reach the turning for the M275 into Portsmouth. Head into town and watch carefully for the signs to the Isle of Wight car ferries and you should not go wrong. Turn off main access road and let the man on the gate know that you wish to purchase a cheap 1/2 day return for a car and passengers and he will explain which lane to park your car in and where to purchase your ticket/s.
It is not necessary to prebook as there is plenty of space on the ferries for all.
On leaving Fishbourne take the main way out and turn left at traffic lights at top of hill and keep on the main road until it there is a turn off into Ryde, keep straight on here and at the 4 turning on the left take that road and at the bottom of the hill crossing carefully the main road head staight over and keep on this road until you reach a mini roundabout.
The Isle of Wight Speedway Stadium is on your left, if you need any help finding the Stadium the riders are booked onto the 4.00pm ferry and return on the 10.00pm one so you can follow them to and from the stadium.
John says: Bob's routes shown above are a few years old now, as you can see by the tracks that are now defunct, sad eh?  I remember Bob passing me on route he often drove with the window wound right down.  He was obviously a fresh air freak!  I made but a few away trips other than the local tracks Berwick, Workington and Middlesbrough/Redcar but when arriving at away venues he was usually there before me.  Those of us who know Bob took with a pinch of salt his statement that when he retired, he would knock it all on the head and even stop coming from his Heaton home to Brough Park but in 2014 when I wrote this para I had never seen Bob again at any speedway.
 

 
 
Margaret Pointer -New Zealand
 
By accident an ex-member of Brough's Staff, Margaret Pointer, a fan from way back in the 40's and 50's stumbled across the website and enjoyed reminiscing with me.  Margaret's memories are posted here, from her adopted New Zealand home. Maybe Margaret and her family are remembered by our older fans and officials, Barry Wallace goes back to1945 so maybe he remembers Margaret's family?
 
Margaret Pointer says:  Hi there John, I stumbled on your Brough Park Diamond Jubilee info while searching the Tyneside Maling Pottery web sites. I found your speedway website very interesting and it brought back many memories for me. I used to live in Scarborough Road and went to the speedway with my parents on a regular basis, in the 1940s and 50s.  My brother used to help in "the pits" along with other local boys and my great uncle used to be the grounds man (?) there. I was sent to the track early with my great uncle (thereby getting in free) and used to have to "bag" the seats in the back of the open stand for when my parents came. The backrow was good because we could stand on the seat to see over everyone else's heads. My autograph book which is somewhere in the garage contains the autographs of several riders. Ken le Breton comes to mind, I think he was the rider who wore white leathers. Many celebrities presented prizes at the speedway. One of them being the star who played Uncle Remus in "Going down South". I got his autograph too. I am sure there are many older generation guys who used to climb the fence in Grace Street to avoid paying an entrance fee, and many of them would remember being caught and "clipped" by Granda Hall, my great uncle. Local kids were a bit scared of him!  He used to pull the tarpaulins over the greyhound track in all weathers and worked well into his seventies. Before I came to new Zealand I worked in the tote at the greyhound meetings so you will see I was interested in your information. I never knew how Byker was so named. Thank you for that. What celebrations, if any did they hold for the Diamond Jubliee? Sorry I have no photos to send. Cheers, Margaret Poynter.
 

 
 
"Carry On Supporting" 
Supporters Club Coach Trip
 
( 3 Wheels On Our Wagon! )
 

Another picture from the Dave Rowland collection.

 
Dave Rowland says: 1964 away trip to Edinburgh:  The only name I know here is Evie Hewlett, Someone must know the other supporters in this picture, so please let us know who they are. 
 
The ill fated Newcastle Supporters Club coach set off one fine day in 1964 to ferry the fans up the A1 to "Old Meadowbank" in Edinburgh.  Our intrepid bunch of supporters were minding their own business when suddenly the coach driver said something along the lines of, "Oh deary me! I appear to have lost control of the bus!!".
The juggernaut swayed this way and that and came to a halt in a great cloud of dust on the hard shoulder of the old A1.  Various fans got off the bus at different times, to volunteer their opinions of what had happened and what the driver should do, whilst pointing out the start time of the match in Edinburgh. I am sure the driver would have valued their comments but I am unable to re-produce what he said here!  
 
Before long a man in a boiler suit turned up in a Morris Oxford and started taking bits off the bus.  Watched by the handful of supporters who hadn't brought anything to read or didn't know how to occupy themselves on a bus up on a jack!.  Eventually, the man in the boiler suit starting putting back on the bits he had taken off and the bus came down off the jack much to the relief of everyone.  Our traveling support got to Old Meadowbank but missed a number of heats.  Does anyone remember or care what the score was?
 

Another picture from the Rowland collection

 
1964 away trip to Edinburgh:  The only names I know here are Evie Hewlett in the blazer her mum Connie at far left and the blonde 3rd from the left who is Spencer Olivers daughter Helen Percy.  Someone must know the other supporters in this picture, so please let us know who they are. 
 
Craig Connon has supplied the following: - The fifth sixth and seventh from the left are the Howell sisters Cathy Margaret and Ivy. Who's married names are Connon, Appleby and Park. John Appleby -Margaret's husband was also on the trip. Cathy Connon is the mother of Craig Connon who is a wannabee rider and rides at Berwick second halfs...badly!
 
John says: The ladies on the coach noticing a camera leapt off the bus to line up for this photo.  Must have been very quiet on the bus while this photograph was being taken!  My thanks to Dave Rowland for sharing these pictures with us.  Was it just a puncture then?
 

 
 
Annette Aisbitt With The Cup
 
 
Annette with the cup? but what was it for?  I think it has to be 1992 as at far left I recognise Wayne Garratt who is there enjoying the situation Wayne was a Diamond only in 1992, he sadly crashed at Brough later that year and died in hospital a few days later.
1992: I am a bit uncertain about some of the faces. L-R Wayne Garratt, Phil Jeffrey, David Bargh, Max Schofield, Scott Norman, Richard Juul Louise Atkinson Paula ? Annette Aisbitt and Mark Thorpe. What was the trophy for?
 

 
Now that Newcastle have resurrected a Supporters Club perhaps members can get in touch to add to this page. John
 
 
The Newcastle Speedway Website would benefit from some sponsorship.  I am paying the charges out of my pension so I would appreciate some help.  If you wish to sponsor or advertise on the site then please E-mail me at John
 

 
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.