AN ENCOURAGING START FOR SWINDON SPEEDWAY

Tuesday July 23, 2019
A BIT of nostalgia as Swindon Speedway celebrates it's 70th Birthday...

On a clear and barmy day today, new Swindon Robins speedway promoter Ted Nelson took to the public address system at the newly built Abbey Stadium speedway racing venue and announced to the watching thousands, “Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to Swindon Robins Speedway. Be prepared to be amazed as we present to you 14 gladiators of the cinder racetrack. These fearless men will race at unbelievable speeds on motorbikes with no gears, no brakes at breakneck speeds. Supporters and fans, today for you, your life will change forever. Let the racing begin.”

And with that the people of Swindon and the surrounding area had a new favourite past time. Speedway racing.

Near neighbours Oxford were the invited opposition today in this opening evening challenge match. It is understood that the attendance was some 8,000 people, although stadium general manager and promoter Ted Nelson believes that the gate was nearer 10,000. With VIP’s in our midst, glamorous star of the Ivor Novello film The Dancing Years, nineteen-year-old Patricia Dainton, cut the tape and declared the stadium open for racing.

The first ever race was won by Robins racer Ginger Nicholls in the super time of 82.8 seconds. Ginger blasted from the rising starting tape to take the three race points for his team. Chasing him all the way for two race points was Oxford number two Ernie Rawlins, and in third collecting the single point left on offer was the Robins number one Bill Downton. The fourth competitor Dennis Grey retired empty handed from the opening race.

After two hours and fourteen heats of exciting speedway racing, the Robins lost by 45 points to 39 to the chaps from Oxford. The cheering and excitement from the crowd showed they were suitably impressed by the show they’d witnessed and we’re sure a love affair with this new sport has begun. Rawlins, Croucher and Wright were the heroes for Oxford amassing over half of the visitor’s race points.

Ginger Nicholls rightly enjoyed the plaudits as the main man for the Robins, top scoring with 11 points. Little did many know at the time but Ginger actually got married the morning of the match in Poole. Just an hour or so after saying ‘I do’, Ginger dashed from Dorset to Wiltshire to ride for the Robins. He top-scored, won the first-ever race, and set that new track record. What a day to be Ginger.


SWINDON
Bill Downton 1 2 1 1 - - - 5
Ginger Nicholls 3 3 3 2 - - - 11
Reg Lambourne (C) 2 2 1* 2 - - - 7 (1)
Harry Hughes 1* 1* 1* 3 - - - 6 (3)
Bob Jones 0 0 0 0 - - - 0
Ivor Atkinson 1 2 1 X - - - 4
Paul Best F - - - - - - 0
Tom Wilson 2 2 2* - - - - 6 (1)
Team manager: Bert Hearse

OXFORD
Dennis Gray R F 3 3 - - - 6
Ernie Rawlins 2 3 2* 1 - - - 8 (1)
Alf Viccary R 1 3 0 - - - 4
Bert Croucher (C) 3 3 3 2 - - - 11
Alf Elliott 3 0 0 0 - - - 3
Jim Wright 2* 2 3 3 - - - 10 (1)
Oz Osborne 1 0 1 1 - - - 3
Team manager: Ron Bear

Heat 1: Nicholls, Rawlins, Downton, Gray (ret), 82.8 (Track Record) (4-2)
Heat 2: Croucher, Lambourne, Hughes, Viccary (ret), 83.2 (7-5)
Heat 3: Elliott, Wright, Atkinson, Jones, 85.6 (8-10)
Heat 4: Croucher, Downton, Osborne, Best (fell), 83.4 (10-14)
Heat 5: Rawlins, Lambourne, Hughes, Gray (fell), 84.8 (13-17)
Heat 6: Croucher, Atkinson, Viccary, Jones, 84.8 (15-21)
Heat 7: Nicholls, Wright, Downton, Elliott, 85.8 (19-23)
Heat 8: Viccary, Wilson, Lambourne, Osborne, 87.0 (22-26)
Heat 9: Gray, Rawlins, Atkinson, Jones, 87.4 (23-31)
Heat 10: Nicholls, Croucher, Downton, Viccary, 84.0 (27-33)
Heat 11: Wright, Lambourne, Hughes, Elliott, 87.2 (30-36)
Heat 12: Gray, Wilson, Osborne, Jones, 85.8 (32-40)
Heat 13: Hughes, Wilson, Osborne, Elliott, 85.2 (37-41)
Heat 14: (Re-Run) Wright, Nicholls, Rawlins, Atkinson (f, ex), 87.2 (39-45)

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