- p.2, 1970s & '80s  (-  present day Zimbabwe)


PART 2 :     Speedway's  Rhodesian Rebirth  -  1970s           
    After almost two decades of inactivity speedway was to return to Rhodesia in 1971, thanks to the efforts of a Scot, former Edinburgh Monarchs' rider, Alex Hughson, - and not just at its former heart of Bulawayo but also at Salisbury, (today's Harare,) and Gwelo, (today's Gweru,) in the Midlands Province.
    Reproduced via the link below is the story of the rebirth of speedway in central Africa, 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' (rt.,) published in 1973.

Salisbury Monarchs 1972
  Roni Fergsuson, Ian McMillan, Geoff Curtis (cptn on bike,) Tom Leadbitter; knlg: Brian Collins, Dave Hemus

Glamis Stadium,
- 1st & 2ns bends . . . . .

    . . . . 3rd & 4th bends, (photographed in 1974)

Bulawayo Showgrounds, Feb. 1971  -  Best Pairs Championship,
           -  Lt > Rt: Geoff Curtis,    Barry Duke,      Bob Young,      Laurie Etheridge,

                         (Aust & Sal'by)   (GB & Bulo)  
(Aust & Sal'by)    (GB & Bulo).

   Reverse view from the Bulawayo stand, looking at bends 3 & 4 of the huge 410yd track.
Bulawayo Warriors, 1972
       Stdg: Laurie Etheridge, Pip Harris, Malcolm Brown, Squack Harris;
       Kneeling: Alan Cowland, Odd Fossengen; on bike skipper Peter Prinsloo.
 Gwelo-born Peter Prinsloo was 3x Rhodesian Champ and Golden Helmet holder, as well as
  SA National, SA Open, SA MRC and Southern African Champion between the years 1974 to '86. 
 Promoter Alex Hughson and Dave 'Squack' Harris (on his JAP) at the Bulawayo Showground, 1971

Gwelo Eagles 1971/72:
                  Stdg: Bob Young, Bob Valentine, Oyvind Berg, Chris Prinsloo, Abe Koekemoer;
                  Kneeling: Norman Strachan, Dave Jessup.
     Chris Prinsloo was the brother of Peter P. and father of Deon Prinsloo, Wimbledon Don of 1990,'91.

  Gwelo action:  Gwelo Eagles v. Bulawayo Warriors, Dec.4th 1971.
                          Malcolm Brown in Y/B  leads Dave Jessup.

  Salisbury action:  Monarch Brian Collins in 1972

       1972 End-of-Season party at Bulawayo, given by sponsor, Clayton Cragg:  Stdg; Bob Valentine, Tom Leadbitter, (Cragg d'ghtr,), Alan Cowland, (sponsors 3) Odd Fossengen, Dave Jessup, Ovind Berg, Mrs Cragg, Laurie Etheridge; Frt: Brian Collins, Geoff Curtis, Malcolm Brown, (Cragg family), Dave Hemus.

League Racing in Rhodesia

    During the five years of speedway racing in Rhodesia following its re-introduction in 1971, league racing competitions were uppermost in the organizers plans each season, but not always effectual. A Rhodesian National League (NL) between the 3 towns of Salisbury, Bulawayo and Gwelo was concluded in the first 2 seasons, but after political tension in the local area caused the closure of Gwelo in December '71, (an intention to re-open when the situation eased didn't materialise,) the optimism was subdued.
    In early 1972 a National Handicap Lge (NHL) between 3 teams was set up, and staged at Bulawayo and Salisbury, the Gwelo Eagles' matches being 'away' meetings. Results of these 3 leagues, and riders scores for the season, are given below.
    With European rider interest diminishing and defaulting to promoter Hughson's Scottish links, it wasn't until 1975, under a new promotion of Ian Hoskins, Malcolm Brown, (a 1972 visiting rider,) and local car dealer Colin Underwood operating the Salisbury and Bulawayo tracks, that another league competition was attempted.
    A 4-team 'Rhodesia-South Africa Speedway League' was drawn up, featuring a team from each home track plus a Gwelo and a Johannesburg team, the latter of visiting riders from the RSA. The original intention was that six league matches would be held, three at Bulawayo and three in the capital, but only one meeting, at Bulawayo on 26th April, took place. A second match at Salisbury on 10th May was cancelled because of problems with the availability of the South African riders. Come June, with financial problems, Mssrs Hoskins and Brown withdrew, and Underwood took sole control, but at the end of 1975, he went bankrupt, resulting in the sale of all the speedway fixtures and fittings at Bulawayo.
   Results and full riders' point scores of each match in all 4 leagues can be seen HERE.
         League tables, - 1971, 1971/72,  1975                         Supporters pennants          

Skippers Oyvind Berg (Eagles) and Geoff Curtis, (Monarchs) debrief after their race.
(Aussie Curtis was to die in a track accident at Sydney Showground in Dec. 1973.)

The Career of Peter Prinsloo in picture form:
   Gwelo-born Peter Prinsloo started riding speedway in January 1971 at the re-establishment of the sport in Rhodesia. By the time of the re-opening of the second '71/72 season he was scoring doubles figures and topping the score chart for Bulawayo Warriors, thanks to a European summer in UK, riding for promoter Redmond's Wembley Lions and a loan period with second division Ipswich. In London he'd pulled up no trees until suddenly coming good on the last day of September at ipswich with double figures, and he continued that form in the following matches to average 7.77 in the month of October '71.  In the second home season his form was on a par with the visiting British riders, taking 3 National and 2 South African titles by 1973.
    Prinsloo returned to the UK in1976 for Exeter, racing there
with Falcon's skipper Ivan Mauger in the senior league  for 4 season, before transferring to nearby Poole in 1980, where he had his best British season for a c.m.a. of 7.26 points.

Annual Fixture & Results Lists of the 1970s
     Shown below are the Fixture Lists of each Rhodesian season during the '70s, along with all known results.
After 1973 the speedway seasons were limited to March-to-December, to avoid the rainy period.
    In the '72/73 and the short 1973 campaigns, bikes were limited to a handful of scratch and/or handicap races. The Salisbury opening attendance figure of 14,840 was surpassed at the first composite meeting held on March 29 1972 when an all-time record crowd of 16,000 paid to watch the 4-wheel classes of TQ, Sprint and Stock Car races for the first time, (bikes being confined to just 2 heats.)
   The last season of solo speedway was 1976,
though sidecar speedway was introduced that year, both classes as support events to the 4-wheel motor speedway races, with limited detail being known. 
       For seasons subsequent to the first, click on thumbnail below to view full-size.  (.pdf reader req'd.)


1973  &  1974

1975  &  1976

                       For Fixtures by track, click link :    Salisbury    Bulawayo    Gwelo
  MORE . . Bulawayo Action, 1975 
  Aces v. Cavaliers, 9.8.'75     i) Australian Neil Webb being pushed off;

ii) Neil Webb, of Bulawayo Aces, leads Chris Prinsloo, (Sal'by/Gwelo Cavaliers,)  and Aces Vic Rich.    

iii) Neil Webb in full flight.                                                                                 

iv) In another meeting at Bulawayo Showground in 1975 Neil Webb (Aust., inside), Eddie Payne,
Zak Koekemoer and Peter Prinsloo (outside), shoot from the tapes

v) Eddie Payne crosses the line.                                                  Eddie Payne with Ole Olsen, Salisbury 1975

Programmes from 1975, incl'g the WCSS,
('World Champions Super Series') at Bulawayo.
Egon Muller GY, John Louis GB, Barry Briggs NZ, Ivan Mauger NZ, Ole Olsen DK, Scott Autrey US.

Denzil Kent Interview.

4-page article on a Bulawayo-born Denzil Kent interview in July 2011 by Tony McDonald of Backtrack magazine; he talks of the highs and lows of his career in the 1980s, his present-day activities in Edenvale, and his hopes for the future. (See also DVD clip of interview on Gallery p5.)

S. African-  and Rhodesian-born Riders in British Speedway
 The accompanying table and its brief review lists those riders. Peter Prinsloo, Mike Ferriera and Denzil Kent proved to be the most successful Rhodesians to race in Europe.

Test Match records between Rhodesia and South Africa,both home & away between 1953 and '75, are detailed HERE                    


Rhodesian Nat'l Champions
&  G.H.  Holders
 This table, taken from the 'Speedway Champions' website, shows all N. and S. Rhodesian national championship winners, plus Golden Helmet and Track Championship winners across the years 1953 to 1976.           Click to see full size,

The Malcolm Brown Album  -  a collection of photographs from Malcolm Brown, former Hackney and Leicester rider, who spent 2 seasons in Rhodesia, as both rider and as promoter/rider.
   A London East End lad, Brown started his riding career as a cycle speedway 'skid kid', learning real speedway at the Rye House training school after national service with the Royal Signals Corp's White Helmets stunt team. He joined the Hackney Hawks team in 1964, transferring to Leicester Lions in 1969 until his UK retirement in '74. The entertainer in Malcolm came to the fore at Hackney, - and continues to this day at the age of 80-plus - , be it entertaining on bikes, racing, as a singer in night-club cabaret, or acting on the small and the big screen since settling in the USA almost 30 years ago.
    After the 1971/72 season riding in Southern Rhodesia Malcolm Brown retired from racing in Britain and moved with his family to Bulawayo in '74, The following season he joined with Ian Hoskins and a local businessman as promoters of the Showground and the Salisbury tracks, donning the leathers once more. After disastrous weather he and Hoskins sold out mid season and Malcolm opened his own car dealerships, as well as running a nightclub where he performed both comedy and song. 1982 saw Brown return to UK to open a nightclub in Cornwall, and after 5 years he moved again, to his final destination, Florida. Forever a showman, TV and film support roles plus nightclub appearances continued, and today he he owns a cleaning business in Palm Beach.

     First bend action at Gwelo, 1972: Norman Strachan, Bob Valentine, Malcolm Brown, Odd Fossengen 
    Malcolm Brown, Norman Strachan, Bob Valentine

  Pits shots, dope & oiling. 

  at Bulawayo, 1972 . . .                           . . . .. and 1975, inside Dave Hemus.

1975 Match Race for the Golden Helmet, with Peter Prinsloo leading.

A day away from the track, but Brown upsets the locals !
with, L>R:  Alan Cowland, Laurie Etheridge, Brown at the stake, Tom Leadbitter, Brian Collins.

  More of Brown's snapshots,  - from East End skid-kid to US film star, 
            via army display team, comic capers, cabaret, and Christmas TV in Rhodesia.
Flash-back to early '70 in Rhodesia: Scramblers try speedway
Lft: Iain Harper, the Matabeleland Motor Cycle Club Scrambles Champion of 1967 also drove Formula 2 Stock Cars at Bulawayo in 1972 and 1973. Alan Harris (ex-Bulawayo Warrior) was his brother-in-law.
Vic Rich rode speedway in the 1975 Rhodesian season.
1980s & '90s
.     A search for 'speedway' and 'Rhodesia' in the '80s and '90s produces only the appearance of native rider names, involved in South African and/or British speedway, e.g. Prinsloo, - Peter and nephew Deon - , Ferreira, Kent,  Hayhow and Steen, all racing at some time or other in both hemispheres.
     After the bankruptcy of the Underwood promotion in 1975 following the WCSS meetings and the disposal of all Bulawayo Showground track equipment, solo speedway ended there but continued for one more year
at the Glamis  Stadium, Salisbury under the auspices of the Mashonaland Stock-Car Racing Club as one of the many 2-, 3- and 4-wheel race classes, when the final curtain came down on solos at the end of 1976. There was to be no more solo speedway in Rhodesia.
  In that same year Sidecar Speedway was introduced and continued for 3, possibly 5 more years beyond the solos and into the '80s. Initiator, constructor and racer Mike Younghusband, with passenger Malcolm Carrick is thought have taken the 3-wheel championship in the first season.

            Mike Ferreira, a Wimbledon Don in 1983-'85                    Denzil Kent, Canterbury Crusaders 1982,'83

Silver Helmet  UK Div'2  Match Race Championship, 1981:
1st Leg at Edinburgh Powderhall Stadium: Mike Ferreira (Holder, Canterbury) v. Neil Collins (Challenger, Edinburgh.)
Ferreira had earlier taken the title from Steve Lawson of Glasgow.  He had also been the title holder the previous year. After this defence he relinquished the title to move up into the senior league with Wimbledon.

Canterbury UK:
10 minute DVD sampler, including sections with Denzil Kent (@ 1:40m and @ 7:45m).
Denzil speaks of the friction between himself and fellow Rhodesian team-mate Mike Ferreira.
Action shots and interviews from '70s & '80s. Extract courtesy of 'Retro speedway'.

                                                       ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

James Hayhow
of Zambia, 1987

   Born in Northern Rhodesia, James Hayhow was one of the few speedway riders, and probably the last, to emanate from Zambia. He took up racing in South Africa, and had successes at Kings Park, Durban
taking the Durban/Natal MRC 3 times in 1985. In the UK between '86 and '88 he made the odd appearance for Glasgow, Edinburgh, Rye House and Canterbury.

                                                                            Salisbury-born David Steen, seen here in Reading colours,
James Hayhow                                          Steen's 13pts top-scored for Rest of World v. N.Zealand in 1997.

  In the foregoing period of the '70s the promotions and their troupe of visiting riders were as follows :

         Dec.'70 – Jan.'72:      
A.W.Hughson, S.M.Grant and A.G.Whyte. (Mgr. T.Redmond)
         Jan.'72  – Dec.'73:     
Hughson, Grant, Whyte + Dreyer, du Plessis snr and du Plessis jnr;
         Jan.'74  – Dec'74:      
Hughson resigns, remaining five carry on;
         March – June '75       
I.Hoskins, M.Brown and C.Underwood;
         June  – Nov. '75:        Colin Underwood;

         1976 onward:            Mashonaland Stock-Car Racing Club

Visiting Riders

         Dec.'70 to Mar.'71       O.Berg, G.Curtis, L.Etheridge, D.Jessup, B.Beaton,
                                          B.Young, G.Plant, B.Duke, B.McMillan, J.Gallagher.

         Nov.'71 to Mar.'72       O.
Berg, G.Curtis, L.Etheridge, D.Jessup, B.Young, B.Valentine, D.Hemus,
                                          B.Collins, T.Leadbetter,
O.Fossengen, A.Cowland, M.Brown, N.Strachan.
         Nov.'72 to Mar.'73        R. Adlington, B. Young, D. Durham, P.r Murray, J. Gallacher.

         Sept.'73 to Dec'74       NIL, (Hemus & Bower immigrants in '74.)

         Mar.'75 to Nov.'75        M.Brown, N.Rackett, B.Duke, D.Kumeta, N.Webb, (+ D.Hemus, + WCSS in Oct.'75.)

                                                    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    Track Records 
   Kitwe              340yds (310m):    1 lap flying start . . . .  16.80s.   D. Davies, F. van Zyl, T. Boshoff,
                                                                    4 lap clutch start . . . .  68.90s.  Bob Serrurier;
                   Bulawayo         470yds (430m) :   1 lap flying start . . . .   19.50s.  H.Long, F.Wills, 22.9.1956
                                                                     3 lap clutch start . . . .  59.80s,  Henry Long        8.3.1958                                            
      1970s:    Bulawayo         410yds (373m):    4 lap clutch start . . .  .71.40s  Jimmy Gallagher 13.1.1973
                                                                     3 lap clutch start  . . .  53.90s. Mike Ferreira      13 9.1974
                   Salisbury (to '73) 468yds (428m):  4 lap clutch start . . . .  75.00s. Geoff Curtis 22.1.1973
                                 (to '74) 323yds (295m)   4 lap clutch start . . .    59.20s. Peter Prinsloo 25.101974
                                 (to '76) 340yds (310m)   4 lap clutch start . . . .  56.00s. Scot Autrey 14.11.1975
                                                                     3 lap clutch start . . . .  47.50s. Peter Prinsloo 2. 8.1975
                   Gwelo                330yds (301m)    4 lap clutch start . . .    72.80s. Geoff Curtis 12.12.1971

  The significant contributions of former Rhodesian ex-pat David Austin
plus SA journalist Ken MacLeod are gratefully acknowledged.


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