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Sport Features

Wednesfield Aces in action
Wednesfield Aces in action

The inside track on Cycle Speedway

By Mike Gurney
Mike Gurney used to be an avid Cycle Speedway fan, he's now returned to the sport some 25 years later and thinks more people should check out this exciting and intense sport.

Cycle Speedway facts

How do I start?

Cycle speedway is organised through local clubs and they are always keen to welcome new members of all ages. For your local track check on the British Cycling website.

Is it dangerous?

Not really! Serious injury is very rare in cycle speedway the most common injury if any is just minor bruising.

Can girls and women compete?

Most certainly British Cycling is keen to encourage more females into sport.

Do I need any special clothes?

The obvious one is a safety helmet; all clubs will give advice on the best sort. Most riders tend to wear trainers with track bottoms, other protective items like knee pads and elbow pads can also be worn.

Cycle speedway as a sport traces its origins back to the years just after world war two, many bombed out building sites proved to be excellent tracks once the rubble had been cleared. The sport developed under the influence of the motorised version and shares many similarities.

The start gate
The start gate

Both race in an anti clockwise direction from a standing start on an oval track. Points are awarded over a series of heats, with four riders in each heat in a sprint to the chequered flag, usually over four laps. In team events two riders from each team will race. There is a limited amount of physical contact allowed and events can be either team or individual based typically over 16-20 heats.

Pedal power

The main difference apart from the obvious one of pedal power instead of horse power is the size of the track. In cycle speedway the tracks vary in length from 65 - 90 metres and a width of 5-6 metres.

The bikes are very simple in design with a fixed drive cog drive, no gears, brakes or brackets to cause damage. Protective clothing is worn and a safety helmet is a must have item. Some riders wear extra protection on knee elbow and hips as contact can be expected.

Fast and exciting

Sandwell Youth Event
Sandwell Youth Event

Cycle speedway can be very intense and competitive but it also has a strong social element as many of the clubs act as a focus for local activities with many of the riders and organizers being lifelong supporters of the sport.

The sports governing body is the British Cycling Organisation. The competition is organised for all age groups from the under 10's to veterans at local regional and national levels. The senior championship is usually held on August bank holiday when the country's top 16 riders gather to fight for the individual crown.

Dave Helmsley
Dave Helmsley

England's Dave Helmsley is the sports biggest star and has a record five national titles and three world titles to his credit.

On the international stage Poland and Australia provide the main opposition.

Local clubs

Here in the Black Country region there are three clubs, Wednesfield Aces based at Griffiths Drive, Ashmore Park, Wednesfield, Wolverhampton. Birmingham Monarchs at Perry Hall Playing Fields, Perry Avenue, Birmingham and Sandwell who are based at Tividale Community Recreation Centre, Lower City Road, Tividale, West Midlands.

last updated: 31/05/05
Have Your Say
Ever been to a Cycle Speedway match? How did you find it? What do you think? Let us know what you think.
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Adam lamb
i ride for birmingham monarchs and am world champion

jonnny bradburn
hi i ride for the best team in the worl stoke

gary jones
been to many cycle speedway meetings i rode for exeter aces.had a few good years may return one day soon

daniel baker
i racefor birmingham monarches our trainin ison tuesday nights from about 6

tara w
hi if you like keeping fit you should come and give it a go - i ride for wednesfield aces and it is fun and my family likes it .

sam smith
been training for 1 week and i really enjoyed it, its a great sport to get in to and iim been encouraged by all team members

Mel Apthorpe
when i was a young girl in the late 70s i use to race for the hengrove eagles and early 80s raced for the young bristol team. i think there were only two girls who raced in the whole country back then.i loved it.

tara warren
i have done this sport for 1 year and i really like it it is a good sport and you should come and give it a try on a tuesday night 7pm 9.00

richard barnett
hi im on the sandwell lions and i've had two races so far and i love this sport and im goin to do it till im 90 cause its a great sport thanx richard of sandwell lions

stuart bentley
im part of the b-team at wednesfeild aces and we am gonna win the premier combination team this yr cycle speedway is a klass way of keepin fit and if u no were ashmore park is come give it a try we train on tuesday nights.

David Burnett
I used to ride for Exeter Aces back in the late 70's and reading this has got me thinking, "shall I try it again?". Although alot heavier and less fit I'm sure it would be fun.

that looks pretty easy

jamie borrowdale
I am 13 years old and i race 4 the exeter aces and its alot of fun evern if you don,t win a thing

Kyle Parker
I am 10 years old and i race for wednesfield aces,i really enjoy cycle speedway.It is a good way of keeping fit and making friends.I am really glad i joined the team.

Joanne Chattin
Well what can i say? my husband Wayne started cycle speedway at the age of 12 riding for Sandwell, he won the british schoolboys championship in 81-82. he later had a 14 year break from the sport but know he is back doing a sport he loves, my daughter Emma took up riding at the age of 7 she won a regional round of the under 8s last year but after a few nasty falls she decided to "retire" but my young son James who is 6 years old loves to race and is doing really well in the under 8 meetings. Cycle speedway is a great way to keep fit and have fun, a good day out for all the family.

sue palmer
My son jamie palmer, 11 has been doing cycle speedway for only 2 months he loves it, he traines 2 times a week for sandwell.races nearly every weekend great family day out.He has had a few bumps and grazes but thats all part of it.

damien leach
i entered the birmingham event at the weekend and i got 2nd place in the c final i have done very well becasue i have been riding for stoke for a month and a week at stoke its great atmosphere thanks

Bernie Kemp
My Sons have just started Cycle speedway Lee 6 and Joe 11. They both entered into the Birmingham event at the weekend. Lee came 1st in his B final and Joe crashed in his D final trying to get 1st place. I think it has a great atmosphere.

Matty t
I ride for Wednesfield cycle speedway club and it is great fun. The whole family can enjoy this exciting sport. Why not have a go yourself? they will gladly lend you the equipment, Wednesfield (Ashmore Park) train on Tuesday nights all is welcome.

john richardson
Cycle Speedway, well I am 51 and when i was a kid in Kingswinford we raced on a track, cut out on the park behind Standhills Rd , WHEN HUMMEREM CRADLEY , was a big thing, sadly days gone , now in Tennessee, i dont think we have a piece of land thats flat enough in this area , its like quarry bunk here with trees and lakes and deer and skunks , racoons .

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