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Cycle Racing Tracks in and around London 

Research from Peter Magnus

I was sorting-out recently after my daughter said “DAD sort out your stuff and mark where it has to go if anything happens to you, because I don’t want to sort it and Kevin (my son) will only throw it in the skip”.
So I was going through papers left to me by Harold Scott and came across a book wrapped in a brown paper cover; opened it and saw it was an A to  Z London map book, very old and out of date (1969), so I dropped it in the re-cycling box. It hit the edge and fell on the floor and the cover came adrift.

I picked it up and noticed a label stuck on the front of the hard back cover “LONDON CYCLE TRACKS”; opened up the book and found a typed paper listing all the cycle tracks that had been in London with their map reference. Looked the references up he had marked on the map where the track was situated. This must have taken some researching because there was a list of 27 tracks, and 7 just out side of London.

I have re-typed it bringing it up to date and included the indoor tracks and road circuits that I know. If there are any that you know are missing please let me know.

Name Location   Built  
Fulham Lillie Bridge West Brompton 1878  
Chiswick     1879  
Crystal Palace Grounds   1880  
Surbiton Recreation Grounds Balaclava Road 1880  
Alexandra Palace Muswell Hill Race Course 1882  
Kennington Oval cricket Ground   1882  
Wood Green Bounds Green Road   1885  
Paddington Recreation Ground Carlton Vale 1888  
Kensal Rise Back Straight Railway 1890  
Herne Hill Burbage Road   1891 1948 Olympics
High Beech Kings Oak Pub   1891  
Plumstead Invicta Grounds   1891  
Tee-to-Tum Near St Ann's Road SouthTottenham 1892  
Putney     1894  
Catford Sports Bank Road Catford 1895  
Canning Town West Ham Football Ground 1897  
White City Wood Lane Shepherds Bush 1908 1908 Olympics
  Now the TV Centre      
Danson Park Welling      
Mortlake Sheen House Richmond Park    
Tufnel Park Tuffnell Park Grounds      
Wembley Park        
Indoor Tracks        
Wembley Pool   Six Day Track 1936 Indoor
Wembley Pool   Six Day Track 1951 Indoor to1952
Earls Court Warwick Road Six Day Track 1968 Indoor
Wembley Pool Wembley Stadium Six Day Track 1969 indoor to 1980
Stratford Olympic Park 2012 Olympics 2011 Indoor
Outer London not in London A-Z Book.      
Harlow Edinburgh Way   1979  
Road Circuits        
Brooklands   Weybridge    
Crystal Palace   Crystal Palace    
Eastway   Stratford    
Hogs Hill   Redbridge    
Finsbury Park   Islington    
Brands Hatch   Kent    
Matching Green   Essex    
Dunmow   Essex    
Hillingdon Cycle circuit   Hayes    
Nort Kent Cycle Circuit   Gravesend 2012  


"Members Experiences":

I remember going to the White City on different occasions and events, other than cycling. On each of my visits I could quite clearly see the remains of one of the bankings that would probably have been the last one, leading into the home straight.

I rode at Paddington track and, much later, organised the first Friday evening meeting there, on behalf of the North London Division. I included a Madison that had five National Champions competing. The evening attracted so many spectators that the (Tuesday) night Track League moved their meetings to Fridays. The track had a narrowish grass track just inside the concrete and then a cinder running track inside that. The track was built under the orders of Hailsham’s father, then Mayor of the Borough. The cinder area was a shallow ditch, filled with water to freeze over in winter for ice-skating!!

I also rode on the Slough Track and, as a spectator, witnessed our late clubmate, Gerry Burgess, crash heavily. He broke his back, as far as I can remember, and never raced again.

There were many grass track events around the country. Not far from Gerry's GB Components factory was a small park where there was a regular weekly grass track league. I remember my visits there and having to use my car headlights to illuminate the track as the dark nights drew in!

There were also annual carnival grass track events included Watford Carnival Sports (my first ever track race there, when I rode against Don Wiseman, the then RAF Champion - it was a handicap race). Coupled with this was the Carnival track meeting in Hertford - where we all went to race to make a great weekend.

My club ran a number of grass meetings in Headstone - by North Harrow. I rode there too, and later, became the announcer.

The Dog Track in Staines staged an experimental grass meeting that included the top amateur sprinters and also Reg Harris and Arie Van Vliet. I rode there against Jackie Hyde (USA Champion), and Sid Patterson (Australia Champion) - I wasn't in their heats, but I fell off !! - Smashed my front forks and had to miss the first round of the National Pursuit Championship at The Hill the following week.
I'm sure I wasn't the only competitor who survived to join the PBC - Don McKellow, aka Solomon Pell, was a leading trackman in those long ago times and, of course, Johnny Dennis, aka Tom Cummins, was also a champion and a great rider behind tandems and the motors.

Later, as a track official, I went up to Suffolk to the Women's Grass Track Championship meeting. Another time I was invited to Fallowfield, Manchester to join the panel of judges for a meeting that included Reg Harris's "comeback" sprint in the National Championship that he won. I was honoured for I was the only judge from outside the local team.

I am beginning to wallow in old memories (and there's lots more) - just like an old man - but, of course, that's what I am. (80 now).

Kind Regards
Stan. (Joe, The Fat Boy).

PS I know that there are other great riders / ex-riders in the club, but I am really referring to the days when our dear Chelsea Pensioners were mere apprentices.