The Speedway Museum at Broxbourne in Hertfordshire hosted itsannual ‘speedway anniversary’ event on February 17, 2019.
Words and photographs: Alan Turner
February saw a mix of visitors arriving at Paradise Wildlife Park, near Broxbourne in Hertfordshire. But were they arriving to see former lions of the track, or the lions in the zoo?
Paradise Park is a wildlife park run by Pete Sampson, a former speedway rider, but an area is given over to a museum that is full of memorabilia for a sport that was once the second-biggest spectator draw in this country.
Every year, the anniversary of the start of UK speedway, generally recognised as February 19, 1928, is marked by a gathering of riders, former riders, managers, officials, clubs and collectors of bikes and speedway history.
A selection of machinery is pushed to a start area every hour, on the hour and for a few minutes the air fills with the sound of open pipe exhausts, a haze of methanol and the smell of castor oil that evokes the tense anticipation of pre-event speedway pits.
This year fans were delighted to meet their heroes, some of whom had flown in from Europe to take in a visit and, like everyone, were happy to wander and chat.
Among them were regular attendees Alf and Jean Hagon, Alf signing copies of the newly published book about his activities.
Since forming his eponymous company it has been involved in track racing, a practice that still continues.
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