The History of Poole Speedway

The story of dirt track racing at the Wimborne Road raceway from its inauguration to the present day.


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The 1948 Poole Pirates

The 1948 Poole Pirates
The 1948 Poole Pirates : Cliff Brewer, Herby Hayden, George Butler, Alf Elliott, Fred Pawson, Sid Clark, Alan Chambers, Jack Crutcher, Sid Hazzard, Bingley Cree, Ronald Bear, Joe Bowkis. Charlie Hayden – on Alan Chambers machine.

Having been accepted into the Third Division of the National League, the very first team to represent Poole took to the track at Tamworth on Wednesday 14 April 1948. The eight man team was led by Charlie Hayden, a Bournemouth man who was a star of the local grass track scene, and a prime mover in bringing the sport to the area.
His team of pioneering Pirates included three other local grass track aces, Alan Chambers, Sid Hazzard, and Bingley Cree. Hayden, Chambers, and Hazzard, had all ridden for Exeter with some success during 1947, while Cree had raced with the Southampton team just before the outbreak of the Second World War.
The other members of the Pirates line-up for this match were George Butler, Sid Clark, Alf Elliott and Fred Pawson, who all had some previous racing experience with other league clubs. Butler had ridden for Wimbledon, and Elliott for Wombwell, while Clark and Pawson had been brought in on loan from Harringay, one of London’s top clubs.
On paper the side looked quite competitive but it was quite a different matter when the match got underway, with Poole finishing on the wrong end of a 63 – 21 thrashing. The Greyhounds ran in no less than nine 5 – 1 heat wins during the match, with Pirate’s only race winner coming in heat six when George Butler swept home ahead of the field for a share of the points.
Poole’s only other success came when Hayden and Elliott took the minor places in heat nine, otherwise it was all one-way traffic for the home side. A glance at the scores underlines the team’s poor performance on this historic occasion. Charlie Hayden and George Butler topped the scores with four each, while Alan Chambers, Alf Elliott and Fred Pawson each scored three. Sid Clark with two points, and Bingley Cree and Sid Hazzard both on one, rounded out a disappointing Pirates scorecard.
With the alarm bells beginning to ring, the Poole management acted quickly to strengthen the side, signing Joe Bowkis on loan from First Division Harringay in a move that not only bolstered the Pirates firepower, but delivered the first speedway superstar to wear the skull-and-crossbones race jacket.
From his very first match Joe quickly made himself a big favourite with the Poole fans, and dominated the local Press in a way that few riders have done since. His scoring potential was enormous, running in maximums and scoring 354 points to finish the year as top scorer for the club.
The end of the season found Poole in tenth place from twelve in the league standings, winning 17 of their 44 matches, 16 of these coming at Wimborne Road. The only away win came at second placed Cradley Heath, where the Pirates put an end to the Heathens unbeaten home record with a surprise 45 – 39 victory.
As the fans drifted away from the last home match, the Poole management could look back on their first season of racing with some pride, having established the sport in the town which would continue to grow

ALLAN KIDD – Pirate of the Past

A Londoner who made his first team debut for Poole in May 1950, Allan soon became an established member in the Pirates starting line-up. Helped the team to win the Third Division title in 1951, and the Second Division in 1952 and 1955, before racing in the top tier of British speedway when the Pirates were promoted to the First Division in 1956. He also was a member of the Poole side that made toured Sweden at the end of 1953, and Denmark and Sweden in 1955. The first winner of the Johnny Thomson Memorial Shield, he immigrated to Canada when the track was threatened with closure in 1957, and rode there with such success that he earned his place in Canadian Speedway`s Hall of Fame. He made his British comeback in 1960 to skipper Poole in the newly-launched Provincial League, earning the inevitable nickname Captain Kidd, and led the Pirates to that title in 1961. During the closed season he broke his back in a work accident that forced him into retirement and he returned to Canada where he still resides. A one team man, his loyalty proved priceless during his nine years in the skull-and-crossbones, helping the club to win four league championships and scoring 1462 points from his 276 league and cup appearances in the Pirates colours. Away from the track, he enjoyed national acclaim by featuring in a national television and newspaper advertisement for Players Weights cigarettes.