- Walkerville History
- History of Speedway in S.Africa
- Speedway's Rhodesian Revival
- National Champions of S.Africa
- Solos, - Sidecars, - Pairs
See also Gallery History pages,
- S.A. International Matches
- League Racing in S.Africa
- Memories of a Wembley Lion
- S.African Riders in British Speedway
- The Dave Collins Saga.
- Inventory of S.A. Speedway Tracks, 1927 - to date
and The Henry Long page.
Speedway racing has been seen in 8 of the Republic's 9 Provinces over the decades, (Limpopo being the exception,) with half of the venues sited in today's Gauteng, and Kwazulu-Natal being the only other region to count its historic sites into double figures. The years of operation and number of seasons are also given. CCJ
The track at Walkerville exists today thanks to the work of Rhodesian-born Gerald Richter, one-time MSA steward and Speedway Controller turned Promoter who'd served time with Buddy Fuller's organisation after moving to SA in '72. In 1999 he set about transforming the derelict Walkerville Showground site for competitive speedway racing for the riders and followers in the wider Jo'burg area. Below can be seen the far from impressive 'entrance gate' in those early days of the 'Walkerville Showground', - and action from one of the very first meetings.
In each year of the early '00s rounds of the official National Championship were staged at the Showground. When Richter left for the UK in 2002 the NSA (National Speedway Association) took over the running of the Walkerville track, later morphing into the SSRC in 2004 when they broke away from MSA (Motorsport South Africa, the national governing body affiliated to FIM/FIA,) and set up at Wild Things Raceway, between Glenvista and Alberton. In the UK today Richter is a much respected track curator responsible for both the Lakeside (Essex) and Swindon senior league tracks.
Walkerville remained silent for a few years until 2006 when the smell of Castrol R and the sound of 500cc singles was again heard as the SSRC moved away from Wild Thing and made the Raceway their home, since when each round of the club's National Championship has been staged here. In 2011 the club was redesignated WSRC, - Walkerville Speedway Riders Club - , and continues with a monthly programme of bike plus quad racing, including categories for Peewee and Flat Track as well as U21 and senior speedway classes.
SPEEDWAY IN SOUTH AFRICA
The roll call of South African star riders runs through Buddy Fuller, Henry Long, Dennis Newton, Peter Prinsloo, Denzil Kent and many more, all of whom have played a part on the international scene, both in the Union and in UK leagues where they have held their own in competition against world-class opposition.
The articles below were compiled by speedway journalist Christian Weber and initially published here in a local speedway newsletter around 2004, and serve now as then to give the background of the sport, from the earliest days in the Union through the RSA to the present decade, to today's generation of speedway enthusiasts.
"75 Years of Speedway in South Africa,
- A History from 1928 to 2003" Compiled by Christian Weber.
Parts 1 - 5:
1: How it all Began
2: The First Test Match
3: The Post-War Boom
4: The Early 1950s
5: World Stars Race in the Union
Parts 11 - 15:
11: The 1957/58 Season
12: In 1958 Enterprise is Needed
13: The Return of Buddy Fuller
14: Quiet Times for Speedway
15: Klerksdorp Speedway keeps the Sport Alive
Parts 21 - 25:
21: Foreign Riders in Rhodesia
22: Speedway Back with a Vengence
23: OFS Speedway Revival
24: S.African Race Ban Lifted
25: Rainy Days
Parts 6 - 10:
6: Six African Tracks in 1953/54
7: The Stars of the Fifties on their Travels
8: Long & Davies - S.Africa's Greatest
9: Threat of Violence - The 1956/57 Season
10: 1957 - The Control Board Takes Over
Parts 16 - 20:
16: The Roving Scotsman
17: National Speedway League in Rhodesia
18: S.Africa Wants British Tourists
19: South Africa Speedway Revival of 1972
20: S.African Test Team Selection
Parts 26 - 31:
26: In Rhodesia
27: Rhodesians Keep Going
28: World Champions Series in S.A.
29: International Tour 1977/78
30: From Wembley to The Rainbow
31: 1978/79 - Cape Speedway Tour
Buddy Fuller, Henry Long, Doug Davies, Dennis Newton, Peter Prinsloo, Denzil Kent
Reproduced below is the story of the rebirth of speedway in Rhodesia in 1970, and its consequential revival in South Africa. Written by speedway journalist Dick Barrie, it was included as one chapter in 'Ivan Mauger's World Speedway Book' published in 1973.
by Dick Barrie
South African SOLO National Championships
A fuller list of all S.African champions, 1935 to date,
- National Champions, 1935 to date; - S.A. Open Champions, 1955 - '95;
- Match Race Champions, 1948 - '94: - Southern African Champions, 1973 - '80;
and many more can be found in detail here.
Beside the championship winners of the SSRC (later to become WSRC) given above, TVSC also initiated 2 championships alongside each other, with points being accumulated at each Brakpan meeting in 2006. The competition is believed to have petered out after 3 or 4 meetings and never completed. After 3 rounds the TVSC championship tables read as follows:-
(for the Hansie Kleynhans Trophy):
Ian Hutchinson 27 (6, 10, 11)
Lee Struckmeyer 18 (4, 8, 6)
Hansie KleyHans 17 (4, 6, 7)
Ian Hutchinson 28 (6, 10, 12)
Hansie Kleynhans 20 (6, 7, 7)
Clive Hutchinson 14 (3, 5, 6)
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South African SIDECAR National Championships
South Africa's INTERNATIONAL MATCHES
Detail of all SA's International speedway test matches, at home and abroad,
1930 - 1997 can be seen in full on its dedicated page, 'SA Test Match Results'
Cape Town 1952 Durban 1957 Pretoria 1958 Jo'burg 1950
SA v Overseas SA v England SA v Europe SA v Britain
Sidecar Internationals have also been held in the Republic, including S.Africa v. Australia in both 1982 and in 1986, and a Gt.Britain team toured in 1988, returning again in 1993 for 5 test matches. Information on these events has been collated here.
LEAGUE RACING in South Africa.
Pt.1: Transvaal League, 1947 -'52
National League, 1952 -'59
In the post-war heyday of South African speedway, league team racing was introduced, first in the Transvaal, then wider as a National League. The attached table and article summarizes the teams and the tracks of each year, with the concluding result.
Team photographs can be see on Gallery p.4
JoBurg Pirates, Pretoria Tigers, Germiston/E.Rand Eagles, Benoni/Boksburg Lions Pt.2: 1977 /'78, Imperial Paint Products League Championship,
( Transvaal teams insignia between 1948 and 1951.)
1982, National League,
1997 -'99, National Speedway Association League,
2002, S. African Elite League International Series,
2003 /'04, South African League.
later decades other small scale leagues were initiated, though not
all ran to conclusion. If you can
provide any results or missing information on above events during this period please contact Speedway-SA via the link on the Contacts
See also Gallery History pages.
Memories of the 1956/'57
SA Season by a Wembley Lion.
Peter Williams was a member of the
UK's Belle Vue Aces team when he was invited to join the Johannesburg
Wembley Lions for a season in the Union alongside his one-time Aces team-mate
Henry Long, the Lions' skipper, for the 1956/57 season. After 56
years the two have recently (June 2013) been in touch again by
'phone, recounting old times, thanks to 'Speedway South Africa'
reuniting the pair, which prompted PW to dig out some old photographs
of the day, now to be seen on the Gallery p.4: 1946-60 page, (scroll down.) They
include formal line-ups of the Springboks and England test match
teams that season, when the pair were on opposing sides, plus
informal snaps taken at Wembley and as riders of the day moved around
between Jo'burg, the Cape and S. Rhodesia.
S.AFRICAN- & RHODESIAN-BORN RIDERS IN BRITISH SPEEDWAY
Many South African-born speedway riders travelled to Europe to race in the UK's domestic leagues and improve their racing standard, perhaps even to reach a Wembley, London World Final and realise the ultimate dream of every speedway rider to becoming World Champion. The accompanying table and its brief review lists these riders.
Dave Collins has the rare distinction of having ridden in speedway Test Matches for both South Africa and for England, having started riding speedway in the Union but being UK-born. These included both sides of the 1956/'57 series after England lost Alan Hunt and he was re-allocated from the SA squad to the visitors team. He had winter spells in Europe during the '50s and '60s, riding in Holland, France, Spain and Gt.Britain, and he captained the winning England side in an unofficial 3-match series at Goodwood Showgrounds, Cape Town, in 1967. Now at 88, Dave Collins lives in Munster, KwaZulu-Natal.
The attached article follows from an interview a few years ago by British speedway journalist John Hyam, and published jointly here and on the Defunct Speedway website in August 2015.
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