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Hampden Hawks Cycle Speedway Club History

Short Stories and Recollections
Home
Life Begins at Forty !!
How the Hawks were "hatched"
Averages and Results
Neil Grant
Riders A - Z
Hawks first league meeting
1969 KO Cup Win
We 're in the news!
Better comebacks than Lazarus!
Battle with Shields
NACSA Forays
Gala Events at Hampden
Hall of Shame - these guys "maxed us" !!
Flying Machines?
Where are we now?
Spokesman Cuttings
The Tigers Connections
Short Stories and Recollections
Hampden Visitors
Photo Album
Happiness is ..........
Tracks and their locations
The Chequered Flag
LINKS

Dick Barrie recalls

“When Glasgow staged the 1970 international against England at Hampden, the home side was composed of eight Edinburgh-based riders.  As reigning Glasgow champion and the so-called “star” around Hampden, I was nominated as No 9 – but everyone turned up, and I became the announcer instead. Whereby hangs a tale. One of our guests of honour was Les Whaley, then promoter of motor speedway at the “other Hampden” just down the road. After the meeting, he came over and very kindly told me how much he’d enjoyed what I’d been doing, and – if his regular speedway announcer (Don Cumming) were ever to be out of action, might I be interested at trying my hand at the big stuff?   Later that year, Don did indeed take some time out to visit Canada, and I was handed the Tigers’ microphone.

So, to everyone and anyone who has later complained about my words of wisdom at some thirty to forty speedways all over the world – blame all the Eastern riders who turned up to race and keep me out the Scottish team, or blame Les Whaley – but don’t blame me!”

So now we know!! Anyone know Les Whaley’s address??

(Sadly Les Whaley passed away in June 2006 at the age of ninety two. He will always be remembered for the encouragement he gave us both in attending internationals and in donating a trophy bearing his name)

 

“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 offer to buy Dick a new set of tyres??!!

 

When we were contemplating our return to racing in Glasgow (while still doing a bit in Edinburgh) Speirs, Gidgie and I used to visit Dale’s Cycles, up near Parliamentary Road somewhere.   There was a guy up there who taught us a lot about bikes, and who suggested that instead of bringing him wrecked wheels to rebuild three times a season, we bored out our rims and hubs and fitted thicker gauge spokes.   A brilliant concept, and not one of us so much as bent another spoke for the remainder of our careers.  I do recall getting a Kingsway lad’s foot caught up in my wheel once at Hampden years later – and his having to go to the Victoria for treatment.   The wheel was fine, though……….

Seem to remember the young lad in question being hounded for repairs to the forks, which didn’t escape unscathed!!

 

 

The infamous Craigton outing to Knightswood on a rainy Saturday, when a Renfrew copper stepped off the pavement at Renfrew Cross and said “Stop!” as we all sped through en route to the old ferry.  Well, wecouldn’t, could we?   Wet cobbles, no brakes and we were probably day-dreaming of how we were going to beat those Toffs!  We slipped, fell, scattered and clattered – and although wily old Joe Letts managed to vanish into an interested crown of Saturday shoppers, the fact of the Stevenson brothers (Davie and Tommy) and myself having – for some reason -- painted our bikes (even the wheels) red-and-white stripes made it difficult for us to just vanish!    Especially since I’d fallen off right in front of the gendarme, and skited into his shins.   First time I ended up in court, that was.  When we’d been booked, charged, written-up and released (we went home via the Whiteinch ferry, you can be sure) we continued on our way to Dyke Road, but the excitement had taken the wind from our sails and Knightswood gave us a real pasting.   I didn’t score a point – possibly the only match in my entire 17-year CS career that I didn’t – which clearly proves that crime doesn’t pay.

If we had known about his criminal past ………….!!

 

Having to race regularly against Gordon Bell of Mansewood – an ultra-energetic rider of great strength.   Up to this time, I was probably more of the “neat and skilful” school, but being buffeted about by the robust Gordon taught me to shove back!  Maybe it also indicated to me that even faster youngsters will sometimes steer clear of a rough-and-tumble racer!   So, for the rest of my career, when the occasion arose, I could sometimes get a win or two by cultivating a scary reputation to worry the talented kids!

Wot like Hugh Rodgers ??!!

 

 

Click here for more of Dick's recollections

One man doesn’t make a team…. Or perhaps he does

They say that one man doesn’t make a team but that was probably not true about Dick Barrie in our first year. We will spare the ever modest Dick’s blushes by asking him about it and instead will simply look at the figures. Records show that we managed to win eleven of the nineteen meetings for which records exist for the 1969 season. However Dick rode in seven meetings with us winning no fewer than six!! Yes Dick made a huge difference and it left us ruefully wishing he had been available more often

 

No that’s not me !!

Our era had more than its fair share of brothers racing – we had the Nicolsons, Nicky and Moosh, the Grants, Neil and Colin and the Aikens, Gordon and Dale while the McMillans and the Caffreys all turned out for Corkerhill before that team folded and Caff saw the light by joining the Hawks! Alec Norrie was our team manager while younger brother David starred for Kingsway – guess what they talked about at dinner! Kingsway went even further by tracking stepbrothers Alan “Bo” Brown and Billy Campbell and also the Robertson twins, John and Alexander or “Sandy” as he was better known.

 Thankfully all the brothers had different first initial and identification was straightforward when looking at old programs. However there were some examples of the pay clerks nightmare – guys who shared the same surname AND first initial! These “dopplegangers” all turned out for us briefly before disappearing like true spectres!

Alan “Bo” Brown was a near ever present for Kingsway in 1969 but we too had an “A. Brown” when we were struggling to raise a full team for our very first meeting. Nicky managed to persuade Alan Brown, a Newlands boy, to turn out for us, in what was his only Hawks appearance.

In the Spring League, Alan Robertson donned our colours for three meetings and his late meeting heat win went a long way to our amazing comeback against Ralston. He too faded from the scene and is not to be confused with Kingsway’s Sandy Robertson who was often programmed under his “Sunday” name of “A. Robertson”

Even now, when looking at old programs you can still hear the plaintiff cry of “Hey! That wasn’t me!!”

 

Don’t make yourself at home

It is generally expected that riders score better on their home track than on away circuits, after all they ride on their own track every week and probably practice there even more often. Well it certainly didn’t work out that way for us in our early years! A look at the averages for the first season shows that our heat leader trio of Dick Barrie, Colin Caffrey and Nicky Nicolson all had better away figures. Ronnie Young and Moosh Nicolson were fourth and fifth in the team averages and unlike the others actually scored better around the Kingswood Drive track. However the remaining Hawks, Mike Blair, Pete Gentles and Gordon Campbell were also “away” specialists!

The Spring League of 1970 shows a similar trend. It was only the Hawks deep-rooted aversion to the newly reshaped Shields track that brought the Summer League figures into a more usual ratio and led the Hawks to agree “there really is no place quite like home!!”

 

Hawks Resident “Genius”

Like most tracks we had a few young lads who used to come round to the track to “help out” and try and borrow a bike for a few laps. Usually we would fob them off or get them to go on the most protracted of errands before letting them loose for a few laps. One night a freckled faced lad asked for a race and Neil Grant told him NACSA needed to know how many holes there were in the mesh fence for “safety reasons”! We thought this would take him all night, but he quickly counted a section and then multiplied the answer by the number of sections. Following this, he was christened “Genius” and the nickname stuck. Although still quite young, he made his debut when we were short handed for our KO Cup semifinal in 1970. He was so small we had to make a special racejacket for him and bring Moosh Nicolsons famous 18" bike out of mothballs. He featured in a 5-1 with Nicky Nicolson which brought quite a cheer from all his mates who had showed up to support him.

He went on to ride for us a number of times in 1971, and it was a sad night when he came to a practice to say that his family we moving to England in a few weeks time.

 

Dales Amazing Debut

Most riders have a fairly quiet debut an are lucky to score a few points but Dale Aiken’s first meeting for the Hawks was the much chronicled battle with Shields Raiders, which is remembered to his day. Dale certainly proved he could be in the right pace at the right time, by scoring ten points including two heat wins, when partner Nicky Nicolson took care of the Raiders in some first bend “humps”. Dale went on to record a maximum against Mill a few weeks later but sadly faded from the scene.

 

I'm forever blowing bubbles

In the early weeks of the 1969 Spring League, the rulebook was taken fairly lierally about the equipment to be provided. In our first meeting against Levernside we actually wore coloured armbands - possibly the only time this ever happened. The early meetings saw an extensive array of flags , last lap and chequered flag (someones tablecloth!!) We also had a first aid kit and a large drinking water bottle - the latter previously having contained a gallon of Fairy Liquid type washing up liquid. In the early weeks there was still considerable traces of this product remaining and it was not uncommon to see riders, gasping after a hectic race, taking a large swig and then ....foaming at the mouth. By the summer the water was just about drinkable!!!

Dick never sold the jerseys...but he didn't buy one either!!!