The legacy of cycle speedway in Norfolk lives on
- Credit: Archant Library/Supplied
Once a skid kid, always a skid kid and the news that Hethersett Hawks are flying high will delight so many across Norwich and Norfolk.
The Hawks Cycle Speedway Club has recently launched a project called The Nest that aims to bring national and international competition to the village and provide world-class track facilities for enthusiasts.
It is great to think that in this day and age the sport, which played a major role in thousands of young lives across the city and county, is still going strong.
We had more cycle speedway teams that most other places in the whole country – the likes of the late, great Malcolm Flood. One of the best riders in the land. He came second in the British championships in the early 1950s.
Fans would even leave gifts on his doorstep. He went on to ride for motor cycle speedway at Norwich before being killed in a crash at Poole.
Other skid kids who became stars were the likes of Billy “The Mighty Atom” Bales and Trevor “The Hedgehopper” Hedge.
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The impact cycle speedway had on a young community growing up following the Second World War was immense.
Norwich and the surrounding area was littered with bomb sites where youngsters gathered at nights and weekends… some were lucky enough to have a bicycle. Others made their own with bits and pieces they could pick up.
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They started to dig out tracks, race each other and by 1947 were forming clubs with great names.
In a short time there were clubs across the city and all over the county from the Attleborough Aces to the Wymondham Wildcats. Every town and almost every village of any size had a club.
The competition between the teams was intense, and large crowds were gathering to watch their local heroes. They took on teams in the bigger cities… and gave them a hiding.
Even the Londoners were no match for the Norfolk speed masters. We were fast, furious and took no prisoners.
National Service put an end to some of the clubs but others survived and prospered. Norfolk continued to have some of the best teams and riders in the land.
Norwich Dolphin Autos, with manager Glen Norton, won the British indoor team title in the 1990s and there were many other great riders and teams in more recent times.
So let’s hear it for the Hawks and all they are doing to promote cycle speedway and to help communities by providing workshops and training in basic cycle maintenance with the Wonky Wheels Community Bicycle Workshop. More details on www.hethersetthawks.co.uk.