History Of Dirt Track Racing
View from the top of the old water chute in the Spanish City at Whitley Bay
Tyneside Speedways Ltd introduced Dirt Track Racing to the Tyneside public when they laid a 440 yard dirt track around the Rockcliffe Rugby Club's pitch in the Hillheads ground on the outskirts of the seaside town of Whitley Bay. This was in 1929 and pre-dates the first speedway at Brough Park by a month. Unfortunately racing at Whitley Bay only lasted 2 months at the Hillheads track when the company who started it all on Tyneside, Tyneside Speedways Ltd., went into voluntary liquidation.
I am advised by Bob Grainger that, "It was rumoured that George Formby rode at Whitley Bay in one event." Quite likely Bob, I have read somewhere that George was a keen motorcyclist anyway. Anyone care to browse the George Formby sites to see if it is mentioned? "It's turned out nice again, oh me, oh my!"
Hillheads is now the home of Whitley Bay FC who unfortunately, were unable to supply me with a hoped for picture old enough to show us a glimpse of the track around their pitch.
Thanks go to WBFC for this picture of their ground. Just use your imagination to picture speedway meetings taking place here in 1929!
Newcastle Gosforth Park
This picture of Gosforth Park appears to be of the narrower dog track which was laid over the original speedway track
Tyneside Speedways Ltd laid a 440 yard track around Newcastle's Rugby Union teams pitch. The track had steeply banked bends and the stadium could cater for thousands of spectators. The bikes first roared around Gosforth's steeply banked bends on 1st June 1929. Gosforth competed in the Northern League throughout 1930 but the promotion was in financial difficulties and wound up at the end of the 1930 season. There was a one off meeting in 1931 but the stadium never staged speedway again and became a greyhound track the following year. The stadium closed down and was bulldozed. The site now has an Asda store in place of the speedway!