Speedway at the Wessex Stadium started in 1954 under
the promotion of J W Coates, R Barzilay and W J (Bill)
Dutton. Guest of honour at the opening ceremony on 4
August 1954 was World Champion Freddie Williams and
this was followed by a Young England v Young Overseas
match. The "Weymouth Scorchers" made their debut the
following week with a win against Southampton and there
then followed a series of six more challenge matches
mainly against National League Division 2 teams. The
Scorchers used mainly guest riders for these matches,
most appearances being by Gerald Pugh (6 matches), Chum
Taylor, Jack Cunningham and Jack Mountford (5 each)
and Bert Clarke and Neil Street (4 each). In 1955 Weymouth
entered National League Division 2 and made an excellent
start with a 52-44 home win over Exeter. Unfortunately
that was to be the high point of the season and a combination
of poor results, bad weather and consequent disappointing
crowds led to the closure of the track the sixth home
meeting which saw them lose 39-57 to Rayleigh in a Division
2 match. The Scorchers team of that year was captained
by Ken Adams Top scorer was Australian Ernie Brecknell
with 49 from 5 League matches, although Ron Barrett
who joined a couple of weeks into the season was the
most successful rider with 32 points from 3 League matches.
Speedway was revived at the Wessex Stadium in 1962 by
BBC television cameraman John Pilblad who had previously
promoted at Aldershot. A season of 8 meetings was staged
with the Wessex Championships, a Pairs meeting and challenge
matches against a variety of opposition. The team was
known as the "Weymouth Royals". Star of the season was
undoubtedly Buster Brown who at one time had ridden
for Wembley Lions in the National League Division 1.
Other team members included Lew Coffin, Alby Smith and
Frank Bettis with future Newport rider and Weymouth
Manager Bob Hughes making his debut in mid season.
In 1963 the Wessex Stadium saw a total of 14 meetings,
most of which were team matches with the Royals meeting
Rye House, Eastbourne, a number of Provincial League
"B" teams and some "Select" teams. Lew Coffin took over
as captain of the Royals and he was supported by Ken
Vale, Frank Bettis, Pat Flanagan and Ray Wickett. Youngsters
Bob Hughes, John McGill and John Hammond were also given
opportunities to gain experience. In 1964 the Provincial
League operated outside of Speedway Control Board authority
following a major dispute over how Speedway should be
run. A number of non-league tracks decided to operate
alongside the Provincial League, including Weymouth
and these teams decided to form a new league called
the Metropolitan League along with a couple of Provincial
League "B" teams. The full make up of the Metropolitan
League was: Eastbourne, Exeter "B", Ipswich, Newpool
(a combined Newport and Poole "B" team), Rayleigh and
Weymouth. Unfortunately the League was not completed
and after a 6 meeting season John Pilblad ceased to
be promoter of Weymouth Speedway. Leading riders for
Weymouth in the season were Ken Vale, Bob Hughes, John
Poyser and John Mills with John McGill giving consistent
support. In the Autumn of 1964 George Bargery organised
Training Schools at the track and these were to run
consistently during the next few years.
George Bargery promoted one official meeting in 1965,
this being the Wessex Championship on 13 April. It was
won by Pete Swain with a 15 point maximum with John
McGill and Norman Brown joint second on 13.
Lew Coffin took over the running of the Training School
in the Autumn of 1965 but there was to be no return
of "official" Speedway until 1968.
When the British League decided to form a second division
in 1968, Wally Mawdsley and Pete Lansdale decided to
enter a team from Weymouth which was to be known as
"Weymouth Eagles". Howdy Byford was their Manager at
Weymouth. After away matches at Rayleigh and Plymouth,
the Eagles started their home season on 2 June with
a 42-36 win over Plymouth. Tony Lomas and Mike Vernam
were consistent high scorers with Chris Yeatman, Mick
Steel and Roy Carter backing them. Lomas was particularly
good around the Wessex Stadium track, notching maximums
in 6 of his 9 home matches and dropping only 1 point
in another. Sensation of the season though was Barry
Duke. He was given a chance in the second half one week,
replaced a late arriving reserve in the Weymouth team
against Crayford the following week (16 June), was promoted
to second string as partner to Mike Vernam against Reading
on 23 June and was scoring a maximum against Nelson
the next week from the heat-leading number 3 position.
With his long flowing hair and hippy looks he became
Weymouth Speedway's first real folk hero.
The Eagles finished ninth out of 10 in the 1968 Division
In the Division 2 Riders Championship at Hackney, Tony
Lomas scored 7 points.
Promoters Mawdsley and Lansdale took the rather strange
decision to end the home season with the match against
Berwick on 4 August just as crowds were (as always at
Weymouth) starting to increase significantly.
During the winter they decided to move the team to Rochester
and then on to Romford where they stayed some 2-3 seasons.
The training schools started again in the Autumn as
Although there was no League Speedway at Weymouth from
1968 until 1974, Lew Coffin continued to develop the
very successful and well respected training school which
produced a string of riders who made their way into
various League teams. Laurie Etheridge, Bob Coles, Bernie
Leigh, John Davis, Mike Sampson, Pete Wigley, Geoff
Swindells, Brian Woodward, Clark Facey, Neil Middleditch,
Roger Stratton and Martin Yeates were among those to
come through Lew Coffin's school during these years.
An anual Training School Championship was staged as
well as home and away training school matches against
the likes of Eastbourne and Wolverhampton.
Harry Davis had bought the Wessex Stadium in the early
1970's and in 1974 he teamed up with Boston promoters
Cyril Crane, Gordon Parkins and Ted Holding to enter
the Weymouth Wizards in British League Division 2.
Bob Hughes was signed up to bring some experience to
a team which otherwise had less than 20 league appearances
between them. Clark Facey and Kelvin Mullarkey had each
ridden a few matches for Hull in 1973 and they were
the other two heat leaders at the start of the season.
Nevertheless it proved to be an entertaining team although
inexperience too often proved to the downfall in some
of the closer matches.
A late season 38-39 loss at home to fellow strugglers
Sunderland in a match where anything that could go wrong
did go wrong proved to be crucial and the Wizards finished
bottom of the 19 team league, two points adrift of both
Sunderland and Scunthorpe.
The final league record from 36 matches was: won 10,
drew 0, lost 26.
The Sinalco Cola Trophy (forerunner of the Seyco Trophy)
was won by Boston's Carl Glover with a 15 point maximum.
Weymouth's Nigel Couzens won a run-off for 2nd place
from his team mate Kelvin Mullarkey and Trevor Geer
of Eastbourne after all 3 had totalled 12 points.
In the Division 2 Cup the Wizards were beaten 83-72
on aggregate by Boston.
The 1975 season promised much with new heat leaders
Martin Yeates and Brian Woodward providing a very good
spearhead and reserve pairing Vic Harding and Tony Freegard
looking full of points in the early season.
Some of the early season away matches saw really excellent
Weymouth performances but somehow the team seemed to
just not have the usual home track advantage. Confidence
waned, inconsistency at home continued and the away
performances slipped away from the promise of the early
season. Injuries did not help and when Brian Woodward
was injured towards the end of the season there were
some very heavy away defeats.
The Wizards finished in last place out of 20 teams in
the League which had been renamed from British League
Division 2 in 1974 to National League in 1975.
From their 38 League matches they won 8, drew 2 and
lost 28 to finish 5 points adrift of Mildenhall.
Despite the disappointing League campaign the team performed
very well in the League Cup, beating Peterborough 79-77
Bradford 81-75 to reach the Semi-final. Eastbourne beat
them 96-60 on aggregate but they did at least beat their
south coast rivals for the first time in the home match.
The Seyco Trophy was won by Vic Harding with a 15 point
maximum from Brian Woodward on 14. A run-off for 3rd
place was won by Paul Gachet from his fellow Eastbourne
rider Mike Sampson after both finished on 12.
After his rapid progress in 1975 Vic Harding was made
captain of the team in 1976 and consistently continued
to improve throughout the season. Vic and Martin Yeates
were the clear stars of a side which again was somewhat
A major event in mid season was the signing of Danny
Kennedy a young Australian who despite a tentative start
in his first away matches made such rapid progress that
by seasons end Weymouth had a trio of genuine heat leaders
who were well backed by Chris Robins and Gerald Purkiss.
Despite the improvement in strength, inconsistency at
home was again a problem with the Wizards losing 6 of
their 17 home matches. Three of these defeats came in
a 4 match run in late season but a lot of Wizards fans
would have gained satisfaction from the fact that the
one win in that run was a 49-29 demolition of the old
enemy from Eastbourne.
Overall there was clear progress from the previous two
seasons and the Wizards finished in their National League
campaign in fourteenth place out of 17.
Their League record from 34 matches was won 11, drew
2, lost 21.
Martin Yeates rode in the National League Riders Championship
at Wimbledon scoring 3 points.
Les Collins of Stoke won the Seyco Trophy with a 15
point maximum and Oxford's Kevin Young was second with
12. The run-off for third place between Danny Kennedy,
Chris Robins and Oxford's Phil Bass resulted in a spill
involving all three riders with Kennedy being excluded,
Robins unable to take part in the re-run and Bass being
awarded the race and overall third place.
In the League Cup Weymouth lost 86-70 to Oxford.
1977 was a season of upheaval at the Wessex Stadium.
Martin Yeates moved on to Oxford before the start of
the season and Malcolm Corradine was brought in to provide
a heat leader trio along with Danny Kennedy and Vic
Chris Robins and Geoff Swindells gave very good second
string strength and there was the expected debut of
Sean Willmott who had long been a training school rider
of high potential and would reach the minimum racing
age of 16 in May.
Early season results mirrored those of the previous
two seasons with some good away performances bringing
close results but no wins coupled with lapses at home.
Chris Robins moved to Leicester early in the season
but the real body blow came in the middle of the season
when inspirational skipper Vic Harding moved to Hackney.
Stability was not really restored until the late season
arrivals of Rob Jones and Chris Julians. In particular
Julians' experienced approach had an influence far in
excess of his points tally.
In the National League Riders Championship at Wimbledon,
Danny Kennedy scored 4 points.
Boston again proved to be Weymouth's conquerors in the
League Cup with the Wizards going down 86-69 on aggregate.
There was a home track winner in the Seyco Trophy when
Malcolm Corradine scored a 15 point maximum. Again there
was a run-off, this time for 2nd place and Eastbourne's
Mike Sampson beat Danny Kennedy after both had scored
1978 saw a number of changes with Len Silver taking
over as promoter. A promoter of vast experience at Hackney
and Rye House, Len was determined to give Weymouth Speedway
a new start.
A new name (Wildcats) and new colours (red and white
replacing the unique but somewhat dull purple and white)
were the immediate and obvious changes but there was
also a whole new air of optimism about the place.
The starting gate was moved to the more popular opposite
side of the track where the covered accommodation was
and by mid season there was also seating on that side.
The team was not vastly changed from 1977 but the experienced
and professional Malcolm Shakespeare was added together
with Canadian Gary Ford who was a very effective reserve
throughout the season.
Finishing 13 out of 20 in the League marked distinct
progress from previous seasons and there was also success
in beating Mildenhall, Milton Keynes and Oxford to win
their National League Fours group and progress to the
Semi-finals for the first time.
Weymouth's first win in any National League competition
followed when Danny Kennedy saw off all the League's
top riders to win the Warners Grand National individual
title at Hackney.
In the National League Riders Championship Danny Kennedy
scored 8 points.
In the League Cup Weymouth were beaten 89-64 by Canterbury.
The Seyco Trophy was won by Malcolm Shakespeare in a
run off against Canterbury's Steve Koppe after both
finished on 14 points. Danny Kennedy finished 3rd with
The League record for the 38 match season was:won 16,
drew 0, lost 22 for 32 points.
Len Silver withdrew from the promotion of Weymouth Speedway
during the winter of 1978/79 following a disagreement
over terms for using the stadium and Allied Presentations
(the promotion at Reading) stepped in to take over the
The 1978 team had already been dispersed with only Geoff
Swindells remaining but the new promoters quickly put
together an impressive looking squad for the 1979season.
Bob Coles was brought in to captain the side, Brian
Woodward came back to Weymouth and Doug Underwood was
expected to be an outstanding National League rider
following a good career in the British League.
The new management also predicted great things for Barry
Allaway and Kevin Bowen. Despite the emergence of young
Australian Terry Tulloch and the return of Malcolm Shakespeare
in mid season, the team never really clicked and drifted
back down to the league to finish 18 out of 19.
Overall it was probably the most dismal season since
the return of Speedway in 1974, particularly after the
promise of 1978.
The League record from 18 matches was 9 wins, 1 draw
and 26 losses.
The team fared no better in the National League Cup,
For the first time no run-off was needed to settle places
in the Seyco Trophy with George Hunter of Oxford winning
it on 14 points from Mildenhall's Melvyn Taylor (13)
and Ashley Pullen of Rye House (12).
In the National League Riders Championship at Wimbledon
Brian Woodward scored 1point.
Early in 1980 Allied Presentations announced that they
would no longer promote Speedway in Weymouth and with
the season fast approaching it seemed that there would
be no team at all at Weymouth.
However Phil Lock who had followed the sports since
its introduction to Weymouth in 1954 was determined
that it would not die and he interested local businessman
Mervyn Stewkesbury in becoming the newpromoter.
With little time for team building the duo nevertheless
did a good job in attracting several riders to form
a strong looking team. Bob Coles, Brian Woodward and
Terry Tulloch remained from 1979 and both Martin Yeates
and Malcolm Corradine returned to Weymouth.
Great things were expected of former England international
and Belle Vue heat leader Chris Pusey. Geoff Swindells
also returned for a brief spell in mid season but the
high point of the season was the emergence via the second
halves of Simon Wigg. Considering the haste with which
the team had been put together and the disappointing
form of a couple of the more experienced of them, finishing
17th out of 20 should have been considered OK but it
was a measure of the new promotion that they were very
Still, the basis was now there for improvement. The
team's league record from its 37 matches was: won 13,
drew 1, lost 23.
The away match at Crayford was not ridden after a number
of postponements at the end of the season.
Again Weymouth were beaten in the first round of the
League Cup but this time it was a close 78-77 loss to
The Seyco Trophy was won by John Hack of Oxford who
beat Mildenhall's Robert Henry in a run-off after they
had finished on 13 points. Weymouth's Martin Yeates
was third with 12.
Martin Yeates was runner up in the National League Riders
Championship at Wimbledon when he beat Ellesmere Port's
Steve Finch in a run-off. Wayne Brown of Berwick won
1981 turned out to be the most successful season so
far at the Wessex Stadium. The Wildcats finished runners-
up in the League and became a force to be reckoned with
wherever they went.
Additionally Martin Yeates won the Silver Helmet and
Simon Wigg finished runner-up in the National League
Riders Championship. Steve Schofield established himself
in the team and along with Malcolm Shakespeare, Bob
Coles and Terry Tulloch gave very solid backing to the
heat- leader trio of Yeates, Wigg and Brian Woodward.
The addition of Les Rumsey to the team in mid season
completed what must rank as the strongest team Weymouth
Weymouth League record from 36 matches was: won 26,
drew 1, lost 9. They finished 8 points behind Champions
In the League Cup there was a first round 133-57 victory
over Workington was followed by defeat 99-93 at the
hands of Berwick.
Simon Wigg scored 13 points in the National League Riders
Championship, 2 points behind Mike Ferreira of Canterbury
and 2 in front of third place man Bruce Cribb of Wolverhampton.
Brian Woodward, Bob Coles and Malcolm Shakespeare all
left the Wildcats during the 1981/82 winter but there
was a new Australian - the colourful Stan Bear for whom
1982 was a debut season in the UK. John McNeill also
joined the team in June. Another successful season followed
with the team finishing 5thin the League and reaching
the Semi-finals of the League Cup for the first time
Simon Wigg became a National League super star, becoming
the first rider from the League to reach the British
Final of the World Championship. He was also the first
National League rider to reach a World Final when he
qualified for the 1982 World Long Track Championship
Another first was on 27th June when a Weymouth team
rode overseas. This was a Four Team Tournament in Bolderberg,
Belguim. Weymouth finished 2nd of the 4 and were represented
by Steve Crockett, Mark Minett, Stan Bear and Rob Mather.
The National League Pairs Championship at Swindon was
dominated by Weymouth. Simon Wigg and Martin Yeates
scored 5-1's against Boston, Crayford and Glasgow to
easily win their group before beating Middlesbrough
5-1 in the Semi-final and Long Eaton by the same score
in the Final. It was the first time in the Championship
that a pair had both gone through the meeting completely
unbeaten by an opponent.
Weymouth's League record from 36 matches was: won 22,
drew 1, lost 13 for 45 points.
In the League Cup Canterbury were beaten 102-90, Exeter
98-94 and Peterborough 101-91 before the Wildcats lost
124-67 to Newcastle in the Semi-final.
Because of a clash of dates with the World Long Track
Final, Simon Wigg could not take his place in the National
League Riders Championship at Wimbledon and was replaced
by Martin Yeates who scored 5 points.
The 1983 season saw some of the more experienced riders
leave with only Martin Yeates, Steve Schofield, Stan
Bear and Rob Mather remaining from 1982.
Cradley Heath youngster Simon Cross was brought in on
loan and the squad was made by newcomers David Biles,
Chris Martin and brothers Gordon and Ian Humphreys.
Some doubts were expressed about the strength of the
team before the start of the season but with Steve Schofield
developing into heat leader class the young team surprised
many and was far more successful than some of the "strong
on paper" teams of the past.
A 4th place finish in the 18 team league and a first
ever appearance in the League Cup Final achieved with
a young and relatively inexperienced team made for some
excellent racing week after week.
From their 34 League matches, Weymouth won 19, drew
2 and lost 13 for 40 points.
In the League Cup Weymouth beat Boston 109-93, Glasgow
119-87 and Newcastle 97-95 before losing 96-95 in an
exciting Final against local rivals Exeter.
Weymouth scorers in the two leg Final were:
Martin Yeates 25, Steve Schofield 25, Simon Cross 20,
Stan Bear 15, Gordon Humphreys 4, Chris Martin 3, David
In the National League Riders Championship Martin Yeates
scored 12 to finish 3rd overall behind Steve McDermott
(Berwick) and Richard Knight (Mildenhall).
Weymouth retained the National League Pairs Championship,
this time at Belle Vue where Martin Yeates and Simon
Cross beat Glasgow 4-2 in the Final. 14 points at the
group stages saw Weymouth comfortably qualify over Crayford,
Rye House and Edinburgh and although Simon Cross fell
in the Semi-final, Martin Yeates race win was enough
to beat Newcastle.
Highlight of the 1984 season was the exploits of Martin
Yeates in the World Championship.
A much changed team featured new riders Alun Rossiter,
John Barker and Colin Ackroyd but it was not until Martin
Yeates returned to the team at the end of May that Weymouth
started to show consistent form.
In only his second year David Biles developed into a
good quality heat leader and with Yeates quickly slotting
back into his high scoring role they combined with Rossiter
to form a strong heat leader trio.
Three 38-40 losses at home meant an eventual place of
13th in the 16 team league with a record from 30 matches
of: won 13, drew 0, lost 17 for 26 points.
In the League Cup Weymouth lost 83-73 to Canterbury.
Martin Yeates scored 10 points in the British Final
of the World Championship to finish 4th and become the
first National League rider ever to progress beyond
In the National League Pairs Championship Martin Yeates,
this time partnered by David Biles, was again unbeaten
and came close to winning the title for the 3rd successive
season. The Weymouth pair beat Hackney, Canterbury and
Arena Essex in the rounds but a David Biles fall in
the semi-final when the youngster was splitting the
experienced Berwick pairing meant elimination.
Martin Yeates scored 12 points in the National League
Riders Championship and then beat Scunthorpe's Andy
Buck in a run-off for 3rd place.
After a break of nearly twenty years, the Wildcats returned
to action thanks mainly to the dreams of one man, Brian
After several years of unsuccessfully trying to find
a suitable site for a new track, landlords Weymouth
Football club stepped in and offered the use of the
former practice pitch, behind the main Wessex Stadium,
which was no more than an overgrown bramble bush.
After temporary planning permission was granted, it
was all hands to the pump, and remarkably a new racetrack,
safety fence and pits area were created within six weeks.
A band of enthusiastic speedway supporters from yesteryear
and a number of local businesses, notably Portland Stone
Ltd and Harold Doonan Builders Merchants were instrumental
in the construction.
On track saw the first meeting of the new era being
the resurgence of the Wessex Rosebowl, which had been
gathering dust for over twenty years. Conference League
standard riders took to the track with local boy Danny
Warwick winning the first competitive race and another
Dorset lad, Justin Elkins taking home the trophy.
Several team matches were held with sides from Bristol,
Belle Vue, Swindon and Norwich competing, sowing the
seeds of what is hoped to be a great new future and
the dawn of a new era for speedway on the south coast.
2005 saw probably the most successful season for a Weymouth
side. The Wildcats team of David Mason, Daniel Giffard,
Tom Brown, Lewis Bridger, Shane Waldren, James Clement
and Danny Hughes became the first Weymouth side to pick
up a full side Trophy when they defeated Mildenhall
in the final of the Conference League Knock out Cup.
Also this year saw a quartet of Wildcats pick up the
coveted CL Fours Trophy when Mason, Giffard, Brown and
Bridger took the spoils at Stokes Loomer Rd circuit.
Unfortunately the CL Pairs Trophy eluded the Wildcats
pairing of Giffard and Bridger. Although Dan was unbeaten,
Lewis had “ one of those days” with mechanical problems
and crashes, which resulted in an early exit for the
The Conference League it self was a closely fought battle
all season, with the lead changing hands several times
during the summer between The Wildcats, Wimbledon and
eventual Champions Oxford. Weymouth eventually finished
third, but will point to the untimely injury to Dan
Giffard for their demise towards the end of August.
On an individual front, there was only one man that
the fans were talking about. Fifteen-year-old sensation
Lewis Bridger took the CL by storm in his first season.
He started with an unbeaten return in the first match
of the season against the American Touring side “The
Dream Team” and finished with the King of the Wessex
Title under his belt with another faultless maximum.
Second place in the British Junior Championship on a
track that he’d never seen before was followed by the
most sought after Golden Helmet Trophy. During the season
Lewis also smashed the track record around the Wessex
The year ended in turmoil for the fans of Weymouth Speedway,
when the former chairman of the Wildcats had his lease
on the site terminated by landlords Weymouth Football