Saving Speedway - The Provincial League and the Southern Area League

Saving Speedway - The Provincial League and the Southern Area League
By Philip Dalling and John Somerville

Published by Halsgrove in 2020, 160 pages. Hardback with Dust Jacket - c.22cm by 30cm (N7847)

Brand New Book

From the front inside fly leaf: British speedway in the 1950s experienced some challenging times. At the start of the decade the sport still enjoyed the fruits of its post World War Two boom, with more than 30 venues from Eastbourne to Edinburgh and annual attendance figures peaking at 11 million.

Dark clouds loomed on the horizon. Punitive entertainment tax, wet summers and the soaring popularity of television saw crowds dwindle and tracks close, leaving a hard core of less than a dozen professional clubs in the elite National League by 1957, with just two surviving in the North of England and none at all in Scotland.

In the South persevering riders and fans kept interest alive through the semi professional Southern Area League, whilst in the North and Scotland speedway survived at venues as varied as the beaches of the Lancashire coast, a track carved out of an ash tip in industrial Manchester and at an agricultural showground owned by a leading Scottish aristocrat.

This book tells how the road to recovery began when a small group of men of vision re-opened long-closed venues and then, in 1960, formed a new competition, the Provincial League, which doubled the number of speedway venues overnight and eventually led to a new Golden Age for the sport.