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Hampden Hawks Cycle Speedway Club History

NACSA Forays

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NACSA Forays

1970 Senior Team Championship

   In the first round, Hawks beat Kingsway 61-35 and progressed to meet Bridgend Bats in the next round.  Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky” was number one in the charts at the time and we certainly needed some divine help that day!  We lost by a whacking 74- 22 score, our biggest ever defeat anywhere!! Fortunately no records of this truly dreadful day have survived !! Only Dick Barrie and Colin Caffrey actually managed to beat a “Bat”. In his last race Dick noticed that you could see the starting gate move just before the tapes went up, a discovery which was to prove very useful when he later returned to ride in an individual event there! 

1970 Junior Individual

In 1970, Moosh Nicolson and Mike Blair entered and, after a qualifying round at Whinhill in Edinburgh when insufficient riders turned up to hold a meeting, were drawn in the semi-final at Offerton.  Initially there was some confusion, inspired by Dave Blinston, over whether Mike was only a reserve for this meeting.  Fortunately this was resolved when at least one rider failed to show up. Mike took what Glasgow considered was his rightful place in the meeting.  ‘Moosh’ was unfortunate not to reach the final. He reckons that the Manchester ‘mafia’ ganged up on him in his last ride, aided and abetted by a total lack of action from steward Josh Gleave! It was little consolation that he was first reserve for the final, which was held at Hampden. Unlike their senior counterparts, all the junior riders made the long journey north and Moosh only had a medal to show for his afternoon. Mike Blair was selected as second reserve and he too got a medal. These were the first national “gongs” that were awarded to Hawks riders.

1970 Senior Individual

Although there was no racing in the junior individual event in Edinburgh, there was some action in the senior equivalent. Nicky Nicolson says “The track seemed huge, certainly bigger than anything we had in Glasgow and the surface was really soft. I don’t think it had been used at all, even though we were about six weeks into the season.”  The conditions didn’t suit the Hawks! Dick Barrie was the sole qualifier. He was drawn in the Bridgend quarterfinal. He remembered the starting gate secret and his resulting fast starts helped him to qualify. His semi-final round was at Uxbridge where he was unfortunate not to make the cut, particularly disappointing as the final was to be staged at Hampden. 

Dick recalls “Reaching the NACSA Individual semi-final, and my

Hampden team-mates voting that I be given a pair of brand-new Avon “Skidway Gripster” purchased from club funds to aid my efforts.   Sadly, the tyres weren’t enough – Bert Harkins and I had a late night after Wembley’s speedway meeting the night before the Uxbridge semi-final, and old Bert Mansbridge (from Hungerford) was the steward who -- twice – took exception to my efforts, which seemed to involve his little Panthers over-balancing as I passed them in a couple of races.   The tyres were great, though – I later used them to win the 1972 Glasgow Individual

Did we really vote t buy Dick new tyres?? I don’t remember that !!!

 

1971 Junior Team Championship

1971 was a completely different story!

In addition to Shields entering the Senior Team Championship, Hampden had entered the Junior equivalent. Our line up included Moosh Nicolson, Neil Grant, Mike Blair and David Earley, and we received a bye in the first round. We drew Offerton at home in the second round, but alas the match was scheduled for the second Sunday of the Glasgow Fair holiday, a time when three of the Hampden top riders would be on holiday. Attempts were made to persuade Offerton to change the date but, not surprisingly, to no avail. In a last ditch attempt, Jimmy Cobain sent a well-argued appeal to the NACSA Council, pointing out that Glasgow ground to a halt during this period and that many people were forced to take their holidays at this time. This too fell on deaf ears and Hampden reluctantly withdrew from the competition.

 

1971 Junior Individual Championship

However the NACSA Junior Individual was for us! Moosh Nicolson, David Earley and Frank McKinnon were fortunate to be given byes into the semi finals but Neil Grant and Mike Blair were not so lucky. Both were drawn at the Carrs Wood quarter-final from which Neil qualified with 10 points. Mike scored 8, which meant he was first reserve for the semis.

The draw for the semis saw Frank McKinnon, the youngest, drawn to race at Oldbury while the other four were all allocated to the other semi at Ivy House. With Frank having no transport he was forced to withdraw.

Neil Grant, David Earley and Moosh Nicolson travelled to the other semi at Ivy House.

Mike Blair was reserve for this round but elected not to travel. He saved himself an unnecessary journey, as all the listed qualifiers appeared on the day. The round was won by Steve Mills of Denton with 14 points. Neil was runner up with 13 points and Moosh Nicolson scored eleven to finish third. Great performances! Indeed Neil might possibly have won the event but chose to sit in third place behind David Earley in their fourth race. This gave David an outside chance of reaching the final. Unfortunately David had gate four in his last race, which he needed a win to qualify and failed to gain the necessary points.

However Moosh and Neil were off to Uxbridge for the Final! It was held at Uxbridge on Sunday September19th and preceded the Senior team final, Featuing Shields and Wednesfield.  Both ‘Moosh’ and Neil opened their score with second places in races featuring the event favourites, who ultimately finished in the top three positions. Neil finished behind George Russell, who won the event with 15 points, but ahead of Steve Casey who would be the runner up with thirteen points – the only points that Steve dropped all day. Moosh finished behind Steve Whitehead who went on to finish third.

   Thereafter the Hampden lads enjoyed differing fortunes. Neil managed only one more point to finish with three – however the experience was to stand him in good stead in the following year. Moosh started to overbalance at the gate in his second race and ‘went for it’ just as the tapes flew up, much to the amusement of steward Dave Blinston. Other stewards might have ordered a rerun, or even an exclusion, but Dave was quite content and Moosh won comfortably.

   A third place from gate four in his third race, however, was followed by a first bend fall in the next, ending his challenge. Possibly he was unlucky that no rerun was ordered but this probably evened up his earlier good fortune!  In the end he finished with 7 points, which made him one of five riders on joint sixth place

 

mooshneil.jpg
Moosh and Neil display their Junior Trophies