Wolves History

Wolverhampton Speedway - 1961/2

It was the success of Wolverhampton Wanderers in the 1960 FA Cup final (the famous ‘dustbin’ final) which led to the reopening of speedway at Monmore Green. Stoke co-promoter Bill Bridgett watched the final at home and wondered why the town could support a successful football team but not a speedway track. His response was to contact business partner Mike Parker, and the pair agreed to enter a team in the 1961 Provincial League.

They decided they needed a big ‘draw’ and attempted to lure former Birmingham skipper Geoff Bennett out of retirement. When Bennett declined the offer, Wolves went one better and signed his former team mate, and former world number three, Graham Warren. The venture was a huge success, with the crowds packing Monmore Green every Friday. Results-wise, injuries devastated the team and old-time riders such as Bob Oakley and Geoff Pymar were brought back. Youngsters Terry Betts and Howard Cole (riding under the non-de-plume Kid Bodie) were big successes, although the big star was Tommy Sweetman.

1962 saw the Wolves, as the team was now known, win the Midland League. Inconsistency robbed the team of any chance of Provincial League honours and whilst Sweetman improved the form of Vic Ridgeon was up-and-down whilst Derek Strutt was no replacement for Terry Betts.
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Mark Sawbridge

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