A quick look at the history of speedway racing

Manager Ian Hoskins watches his hat burn in 1956. Picture: TSPL

Manager Ian Hoskins watches his hat burn in 1956. Picture: TSPL

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EDINBURGH Monarchs have hit the headlines so many times this speedway season – so much so that their finances cannot keep up.

The side have performed so well – an unbeaten run of 24 matches – that bosses have struggled to meet the cost of bonus payouts and performance-based riders’ wages.

And yet the team could not be happier, pleasantly surprised at the record-breaking winning streak.

The tradition of speedway is long-held across the Lothians with this week’s news that the Monarchs will now set out on a fundraising drive to ensure they are not a victim of their own success, the latest in a long line of stories from the 
sport.

Back in August 1963, many female fans battled it out off the race track to become Speedway Queen at Meadowbank. Pictured here is a line-up of the first heat of contestants, hoping to impress judges.

On the track, back in July 1961, it is clear to see here how thrilled the crowd was at Meadowbank, cheering on racers who carried out some Scottish country dancers over a muddy track ahead of the pre-match 
entertainment.

The same can be said for the smiling youngsters at the front of our shot here from June 1963. Clutching programmes, dressed in smart suits and ties, the boys were likely overjoyed to be at Meadowbank that afternoon.

On August 23, current Edinburgh Monarchs racers will take on a completely new challenge away from the race track – climbing Ben Nevis. The sportsmen hope to replenish depleted coffers by raising up to £10,000 in sponsorship.

“This trek was planned as something to augment admission takings but now it’s grown arms and legs. It’s now become a major fundraising event,” says John Campbell, club 
co-promoter.