Post by haflinger121 on Sept 20, 2009 0:50:12 GMT 1
I hope neither Robert Bamford or John Jarvis mind me quoting them on this website, because it's probably going to happen again. Once again, according to the excellent book Homes of British Speedway (Bamford & Jarvis, Tempus 2001) there were indeed two tracks in Catford.
The earliest is given as being at Catford Cricket Ground in Penerley Road. The book says it ran speedway in 1932, but admits that "details are sketchy", and makes no mention of midgets or Dog Field. In '32, I think it unlikely midgets ever ran there.
The Greyhound Stadium ran speedway in '34, with midgets in the second half, at the opening meeting at least.
Maybe another member knows something more about the earlier track and what it might have been called, even just locally.
Thanks for this detail. I knew about the Catford track at Penerley Road in 1932 and think it was just a one-off meeting and apparently was raced round the outside of the cricket pitch area. No midget cars here. Catford greyhound stadium later on was the only time either the cars or bike raced in a proper stadium in Catford but I am still certain some sort of midget car racing did take place at the Dog Field which is an area off either Perry Rise or Perry Hill and this was probably about 1935. There was something about it in the local 'Mercury' newspaper about six years ago, that's where I first heard about. I had the cutting for some time but as happens it seems to have disappeared away from my bits and pieces about midget car racing which were never a lot of stuff anytime.
Post by haflinger121 on Sept 20, 2009 10:46:15 GMT 1
Interesting, Toby. So what you're saying is that there were three tracks in Catford, two of which ran cars. Maybe Dog Field only ran cars. It's a shame that cutting has disappeared, although I guess you might still find it archived in a local library, or perhaps even at the Mercury's offices.
I used to have this problem (stuff vanishing) because, being basically a collector and historical buff interested in stock cars, it wasn't until I admitted the truth to myself (that I'm actually interested in anything to do with car racing on UK ovals) that I got better organised. I now have a file into which goes anything interesting like clippings and photos relating to midgets, ancient or modern.
Post by haflinger121 on Sept 20, 2009 17:20:28 GMT 1
Wow! Toby, you must mean Kaye Don and they didn't come much more famous than him as a racing driver in the early 1930's. A one-time Brooklands outright outer circuit lap record holder and world water speed record holder, I had no idea Don was ever involved in midgets, even in a small way.
Have a look at these websites and you'll see what I mean by 'famous'.
Post by haflinger121 on Sept 20, 2009 22:20:49 GMT 1
Unfortunately Toby, you know what this means - you're gonna have to find that cutting! Firstly to confirm it was him, of course. But also, now I've had a good look at his career, I'm speculating....you say the Dog Field race or races was in about 1935. But when was it exactly? Did the Catford meeting(s) take place prior to the tragic accident on the Isle of Man on May 28th 1934, in which case his injuries and subsequent imprisonment may have been what put a stop to the racing. Or was it after his release and recovery, when he might just have been looking for something safer and slower to get involved in? Intriguing....
Post by haflinger121 on Jan 25, 2017 11:03:10 GMT 1
A very interesting piece but mildly irritating in that I may not have been to precisely the right place when I visited that day, by the sound of it. The pictures of the cricket club building are exactly as I remember seeing it. If I am ever back over that way I shall make a point of looking at (and indeed walking on) the other suggested site for The Dog Field.
In David Haunton's series on the life of Jean Reville, this quote comes up in chapter two. It's very brief but does I think confirm there was a track in Catford, south London, circa 1934-35: "Jean Reville had a very busy and successful 1935 racing season, with much publicity. For example, he won three races at Crystal Palace on Easter Monday, raced at the Silver Jubilee meeting at White City in May, and the second Lea Bridge meeting on the Saturday before Whitsun, and competed in three meetings over Whitsun – on the Saturday at the opening meeting of the Perry Hill Stadium in Catford, on Whit Monday at Crystal Palace in the afternoon, and at Lea Bridge Stadium in the evening."