MIDGETS v SPEEDWAY BIKES Mar 27, 2009 19:25:23 GMT 1
Post by administrator on Mar 27, 2009 19:25:23 GMT 1
THERE has always been a more-than-friendly rivalry between speedway and small oval car racing. Which was the faster - midget cars or speedway bikes?.
At Easter 1950, New Zealand driver Reece Discombe beat the 1936 world speedway champion Lionel van Praag in a match race at the Sydney Sports Ground in Australia.
Before that, again in Australia, there was a a match race at Melbourne between midget star Ray Revell and local speedway rider Andy Menzies, which the bike man won. Menzies also had a race against a cyclist (given a one-lap flying start on the infield) and was beaten. He also competed against road racing motor-cyclist Jim Disney at the Melbourne Motodrome - and won.
in the 1960s in New Zealand, American midget car legend Bob ‘Two Gun’ Tattersall beat local speedway star Bryce Subritzky at Western Springs, Auckland. Another similar race at Western Springs in 1939 saw NZ speedway champion Alf Mattson beat midget car driver Garry Mathieson.
These races have also taken place in England. One was at Stamford Bridge, London, in 1948 when Amrican driver Art George beat Billy Murden, who had last been on a speedway bike as a Belle Vue junior in the mid-1930s.
There was a bike versus race at Belle Vue in 1938 according to a track programme that season, but no result is recorded. In the same year, at the Stoke Speedway, on October 20, Spike Rhiando in a midget car beat the American speedway rider Putt Mossman.
In Holland in 1946, British midget car star Walter Mackereth beat the Dutch speedway champion Piet van Aartsen in a race at Rotterdam. There is also evidence of similar races at the Buffalo Stadium in Paris, France. On July 5, 1947, Mackereth raced the French speedway star Fernand Meynier, then on July 12 raced against the French speedway champion Charles Bellisent. No results are recorded.
These two formula races have also taken place in the USA and South Africa. Of the South African races, in 1939 and again in 1945-46, South African midget car star Bob van Tilburg recalled that usually the midget cars won. He said, “These results always used to annoy South African speedway rider and promoter Buddy Fuller.”
In 1937 in the USA, at the Philadelphia Yellow Jacket Speedway, ‘Doc’ MacKenzie in a midget car beat ‘Lazy Lou’ Wilson who rode a speedway bike. Wilson was quite adaptable - he also drove in midget cars at the track.
(c) John Hyam 2009