“Britain went crazy for speed in the first half of the twentieth century. On land, at sea and in the air, the exploits of the daring gripped the nation.
Speedway arrived from Australia in 1928, at just the right moment to exploit an insatiable demand for motorsport thrills. Early amateur events soon gave way to a fully-professional sport, with a strong emphasis on entertainment.
Crowds flocked to major stadia, including the Crystal Palace, Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, Manchester’s Belle Vue and Wembley’s Empire Stadium. Written off by sceptics on many occasions, speedway has weathered many ups and downs during its eighty-plus years.
Speedway The Classic Era covers the sport’s first four decades, starting with its early mushroom growth and the subsequent development of league racing, a World Championship, and test matches pitting England against Australia.
It chronicles the sport’s almost miraculous survival during World War Two, and its astonishing impact in the immediate post-war era, when eleven million people watched racing at its UK peak in 1949.
Punitive entertainment tax and the arrival of television, brought a mid-1950s slump, but speedway fought back, first to stability and then to renewed popularity in the 1960s, the final years covered by this book. With a lively and informative text and more than 200 evocative and nostalgic photographs, Speedway The Classic Era is a fascinating guide to the days when for many the sport was at the height of its interest and appeal.”