At its best it was a place of magic to a kid from the charmless terraced streets of Longsight. Belle Vue was a Saturday night of speedway and fireworks. The evening began with the family walking together down New Bank Street, under the shadow of the 12 foot high brick wall that defined the edge of the railway yard, up the ramp towards Longsight Station and then down and under the station along the tiled underpass that smelt of gas and steam engines dreading a train would come through the station and thunder over my head.
Out the other side and across the croft to Redgate Lane weaving through the charas and the growing crowd heading for the entrance to the speedway stadium at the corner of Hunter's Lane.
Once in through the gates you were hit by the smell of frankfurters and onions at the food stand and the sound of men selling programs.
The stadium had a smell of its own, a mixture I suppose
of motorbike exhaust and lingering dust clouds that
settled on the crowd after the bikes skidded sideways
four abreast around the bend. The tension of the start
and the race to the first bend and the glamour of our
golden-haired world champion ripping through the
opposition and pulling away to win.
Then when the races were over it was pushing through the crowd to get into the pits to see the bikes up close and the shock to discover that Peter Craven looked like a little kid up close. The thrill of talking to a world champion and him signing his photograph for me. What did I do with that picture?
For more information on speedway visit the Official Belle Vue Aces Speedway Web Site
For more information on Stock Car racing visit Les Cotton's:
John Smith's Formula 1 Stock Car Racing Site
All the material on this web site is © David Boardman, unless otherwise stated, and may not be copied, downloaded or otherwise reproduced or retransmitted without the written permission of the webmaster.
Any contravention of the copyright of others is unintentional and will be corrected immediately when brought to the attention of the webmaster.