Norwich Stars to ride again in Transatlantic Challenge at Mildenhall

Speedway star Ove Fundin in action for Norwich Stars. Picture: Archant library

Speedway star Ove Fundin in action for Norwich Stars. Picture: Archant library - Credit: Archant

Memories of the Norwich Stars will be fired up this weekend when four Norfolk riders take to the shale at Mildenhall Stadium.

The 1947 Norwich Stars speedway team. From left: Syd Littlewood, Ernie Howard, Jack Freeman, Ted Bra

The 1947 Norwich Stars speedway team. From left: Syd Littlewood, Ernie Howard, Jack Freeman, Ted Bravery, Geoff Revett, Roy Duke, Dick Wise. Front row: Paddy Hammond, Sid Hipperson, Bert Spencer (on bike) and Paddy Mills. Picture: Mike Kemp Collection - Credit: Archant

From 3pm tomorrow the famous green race jackets with a yellow star will take part in a Transatlantic Challenge at Mildenhall

Their opposition in this four-team tournament will be the Mildenhall 'KJM/Manchetts' Fen Tigers, a USA team filled with riders hoping to gain a place in the USA World Team Cup side and a GB Young Lions under-21 side featuring some of the best young talent the sport has to offer.

The 'Stars' will be led by Mildenhall number one and Ipswich Witches reserve Connor Mountain, 19, who was born in King's Lynn, and Kent Kings' 18-year-old Jack Thomas, who was born in Norwich and is in his second season of competing in the National League.

They are joined by Mildenhall 15-year-old Jordan Jenkins, a Norwich-born rider impressing for the Fen Tigers, and former King's Lynn Young Stars rider Lewis Whitmore.

A spectacular shot from 1948 showing Syd Littlewood on the outside of Bert Spencer as thousands of N

A spectacular shot from 1948 showing Syd Littlewood on the outside of Bert Spencer as thousands of Norwich Stars speedway fans cheered on their heroes at the Firs which could hold crowds of up to 26,000. Picture: Mike Kemp Collection - Credit: Archant

More: Shale and hearty, your memories of the Norwich Stars and those great Firs nights out


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Mildenhall co-promoter James Easter said: 'I have always had an eye open for a chance to resurrect Norwich Speedway.

'However for now the BSPA have been kind enough to allow us to track the famous yellow star on a green background as long as the side had some validity.

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'Indeed we have managed that with four Norfolk-born riders instantly making themselves available to wear the fabled race jacket.

A Norwich Stars Speedway programme.

A Norwich Stars Speedway programme. - Credit: Archant

'It is a huge honour to resurrect the Norwich Stars name, and we sincerely hope that some of the former supporters will join us.'

The team will be sponsored and managed by one of the former club's favourite riders, former world finalist Trevor Hedge, who runs engine supply and building business Trevor Hedge Racing.

More: How speedway in Norwich roared back after the war

Easter continued: 'I always enjoyed my time as USA team manager, and again our contacts in California were delighted to give Mildenhall supporters an early view of the World Cup side as four of their small squad will be racing in this most prestigious event.

The Norwich Stars cycle speedway team of 1952. You can see The Firs in the backgrounds. Back row fro

The Norwich Stars cycle speedway team of 1952. You can see The Firs in the backgrounds. Back row from left: Mike Yallop, Colin Warminger, Geoff Skelton, Dick Sands. Front row: Don Morris, Wilf Plant, Ted Tayt and Johnny Walker. Picture: Archant library - Credit: Archant

'This will be one of the highlights of the East Anglian Speedway season as Mildenhall take on the USA World Cup team, The GB Young Lions under-21s and the famous Norwich Stars.'

HISTORY

Norwich Stars raced from 1930 until Firs Stadium closed in 1964 and attracted crowds of around 20,000 on Saturday nights when speedway was in its pomp.

Trevor Hedge in action atThe Firs when he was starting out on his speedway career with Norwich Stars

Trevor Hedge in action atThe Firs when he was starting out on his speedway career with Norwich Stars. Picture: Archant library - Credit: Archant

The stadium, in Holt Road, Hellesdon, was home to the Stars either side of the second world war and hosted some wonderful moments.

At the club's height the second division was won in 1950, only for promotion to be thwarted by London clubs worried about low crowds against provincial clubs.

Team manager Fred Evans told this newspaper 'we'll smash our way in' and they did just that, romping to the second division title again.

The synonymous name when talking about the Stars is Swedish star Ove Fundin, who arrived in 1954 and would become world champion five times, four times with Norwich.

Mildenhall Fen Tigers rider Jordan Jenkins, who will ride in the honorary Norwich Stars team. Pictur

Mildenhall Fen Tigers rider Jordan Jenkins, who will ride in the honorary Norwich Stars team. Picture: Derek Leader - Credit: Derek Leader

In July 2012, Fundin was part of a consortium looking to bring the Stars back, to a track at the Norfolk Showground, but the plans have not yet come to fruition.

Mildenhall Fen Tigers rider Connor Mountain, who will ride in the honorary Norwich Stars team. Pictu

Mildenhall Fen Tigers rider Connor Mountain, who will ride in the honorary Norwich Stars team. Picture:Derek Leader - Credit: Derek Leader

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