Wolverhampton Speedway 1929
The running of speedway racing in 1929 was taken over by Midland Speedways Ltd. The opening meeting was set for July 16 and was attended by just 1,500 people. The Express and Star noted that a possible reason was the attraction of the local Flower Show! Jack Barber of Sheffield easily beat Tommy Deadman in a challenge race whilst Westy Westwood won the Golden Helmet. The match race between Australian Jack Sweeney and Westwood was cancelled for a week when Sweeneyâ€™s engine failed.
2,000 people attended the meeting on July 23 with Westwood beating Ivor Creek in a match race in a track record time of 87 seconds. T Anslow won the Golden Gauntlet following a spectacular fall by Westwood.
On July 30 a Wolverhampton team took to the track for the first time, against Warrington. The home side won by 18-9. The Golden Sash was won by a Coventry youngster who was later to set the sport alight. We still wonder to this day what honours Tom Farndon would have won in the sport but for his tragic death in 1935.
Hanley were the next team to ride against Wolverhampton, on August 6. This one ended in a draw in front of a crowd of 2,500. The crowd were disappointed in the absence of local hero Westwood, due to a breakdown en route, but when Westy finally appeared at the end of the meeting the crowd were delighted. He took on Leicesterâ€™s Billy Ellmore as it was getting dark (no track lights yet!). Honours were shared 1-1.
The August 13 meeting was memorable due to a sensational crash involving Westwood, who was shaken but not injured. Westwood won the match race against Billy Ellmore.
On August 20 the track was illuminated for the first time. Wolverhampton took on Leicester in a meeting promoted by the Midland Greyhound Racing Co Ltd. An incredible 8,000 people attended what the Express and Star described as the best meeting seen at Monmore yet. The report did not give a score, strangely. Westwood was again in the wars, unhurt after a very heavy fall. The only criticisms of the meeting were that the rolling starts were a little ragged.
8,000 again attended the August 27 meeting. R Hutchins, riding a locally-made Rudge machine, won the scratch race final to the adulation of the crowd with Dusty Jenkins winning the Monmore Handicap.
Another first for the track was announced on September 3 with the news that Eva Askquith was to appear at Monmore Green. A good crowd attended, despite heavy rain, and Askquith gave a good account of herself. Bronco Bianchi (Sheffield) won the Monmore Handicap, Harry Taft the scratch race and the three-cornered match race.
Taft won seven of his eight rides on September 10, winning the Monmore Handicap but losing the Scratch Race to Westy Westwood.
On September 18, Wolverhampton met Nottingham and won by 39.5 to 13.5 . Wolverhampton got six five-ones and had the winning riders in the other three races. Famous rider Fred Strecker rode for Nottingham. It was pointed out that Nottinghamâ€™s track was much wider than Monmore Green, which the away riders struggled to adapt to.
On September 24 Harry Taft won the handicap final in a meeting involving West Ham rider T Wainwright.
On October 1, both Cyril and Harry Taft failed to arrive despite being heavily advertised. The Express and Star were extremely critical of the promoters for not informing the paying public of why they werenâ€™t there. Again, Hutchins was the star turn on his Rudge.
On October 8 another fiasco occurred when no more than two riders appeared on the track at any one time. No less than eight riders failed to turn up with no explanation from the management. Hutchins won the Monmore Handicap in a time of 87.1 seconds.
NB. For more information on any of the meetings staged at Monmore Green between 1928 and 1930, please contact me at:
5, Malcolm Court, Lower