Tim Stone resurrected speedway in Newport in 1997, by building a purpose built venue called Hayley Stadium on an open field adjoining an industrial site. Mr Stone had the foresight to ‘rescue’ the seating from the stands at Somerton Park Stadium before it, the original home of Newport speedway, was demolished.
The opening meeting was held on 4 May 1997 staging a Premier League match between the Newport team still called the Wasps and the team from Exeter, regrettably ‘rain stopped play’ after heat 7 with the home team in the lead.
During the first years operation at Hayley Stadium there were two teams operating from this venue, the main team Newport Wasps in the Premier League and a team with riders from both Newport and Exeter speedway forming a team to enter in the Amateur League called by the rather ungainly name of Welsh Western Warriors. This joint team rode matches at the two venues, equally divided, but this enterprise proved to be short lived only lasting for this one season.
The following year, 1998, Hayley Stadium was home to the Wasps who were entered in the Premier League and instead of the Welsh Western Warriors Newport raised a second team to take part in the Conference league this time called the Mavericks.
1999 saw the start of what was to become a tradition at Newport, a meeting held early in January known as the New Year Classic except on one occasion when for some reason it was called the Welsh Open Championship and took place on last day of 2000, may be to celebrate the millennium.
The main Newport team remained in the Premier League and they also fielded a junior team in the Conference League and then when the name of the League changed the National. With a break during 2008 when the track closed following the death of Tim Stone in April of that year, the track was re-
“WASPS WITHDRAW FROM 2012 PREMIER LEAGUE
Thursday 16 February, 2012
The sad and shock news has been announced that 2011 K O Cup winners Newport are withdrawing from the 2012 Premier League.
With just four weeks to go before the season officially opens the club has made the announcement following the late loss of the ground sharing with Trojan International who were introducing car racing to the Queensway Meadows circuit in 2012.
The subsequent loss of income from that venture coupled with the recent disputes with the BSPA over the team declaration and lack of communication over the affair has left the promotion in a position they see as being their only option.
The income from the car racing was factored into the speedway business plan for 2012 and along with several unpaid financial pledges it has left the club in the position of having to pull the plug on the sport at the venue.
Talks had been on-
Our thanks to John Jarvis for the information taken from the book “Homes of British Speedway” and to Michael Terran for the programme cover images