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Hampden Hawks Cycle Speedway Club History

Hampden Rebels
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

The departure of Speedway from Hampden Park in 1973 heralded the temporary collapse of Glasgow cycle speedway although three tracks remained at Hampden, Kingsway and Queens Park. This dependence on speedway for survival can be accounted for in two possible ways. Firstly, the ambition to be a speedway rider steers many youngsters to cycle speedway circuits and secondly, and by far the most important reason, speedway meetings provide a regular meeting place for riders and team managers alike and unfortunately, when this facility is no longer available, communications break down and interest declines. Fortunately, in recent years, more effort has been placed by the sports organisers in keeping riders informed by letter and telephone, coming to rely less on the word of mouth transfer of information.

Early in June 1975, some ex-riders began appearing at the Kingsway track; notably hic Mackie, Dave and Ross Henderson, the Caffrey brothers, Ronnie young, Iain Morrison and Colin Grant. On one particular Sunday that month, a full individual match was held despite the fact that only four machines were operational. Several other old hands appeared regularly, as well as some new faces. Colin grant, who had the luxury of two machines, organised mid-week matches against some lads from East Kilbride. Although Colin had difficulty in fielding a team, the one that eventually took to the track had a distinctly “Hampden Rebels” look about it. Colin Grant was one of the few experienced riders in the side, which included first-timers Rob McNulty, and Brian Grant. Roy Varty joined in the match and made an instant impression, with three exclusions from three rides! Rob McNulty scored three points and Brian Grant failed to score in a match, which was won by East Kilbride.

Although winter was drawing closer, several practice sessions were held at the Hampden track, recently shortened by work done on the bowling clubhouse extension, and, incredibly, Sunday practices continued during the winter with a match being held in January on the now defunct, Queens Park.

In the Spring of 1976, Colin Grant’s appearances were limited due to soccer commitments but Rob McNulty, Brian Grant, Roy and Derek Varty and newcomers, Tom Baggley and Jim Wilson, continued to practice regularly at the Kingsway track. Eventually, another fixture was arranged by Roy Varty with East Kilbride, this time ending in a draw. The “Mount Florida Flyers” team also raced a return match on a football pitch in East Kilbride, losing 41-37.

Regular practice meetings were held throughout the Summer, with two matches being raced against, similarly organised, Edinburgh sides. In addition, several matches were arranged by Chic Mackie against a visiting Hull party.

Shortly after, several of the Flyers split away from the Kingsway organisation and, under the guidance of Ronnie Young, racing was held each Sunday at the Hampden track, with Ronnie devising many interesting match formats. The largest of these meetings was the Hampdenapolis, which involved thirteen riders competing for several prizes donated by Ronnie. Veteran John Spiers won the title with Dave Henderson and Roy Varty taking the minor placings.

This winter was respected and a break from racing taken by all riders. The start of the 1977 season saw a slight loss of interest. A series of matches was held between two teams of Glasgow riders, captained by Roy Varty and Rob McNulty.

 

done on the bowling Club extension, and incredibly, Sunday practices continued during the winter-with a match held in January on the,now
def
unct, Queens Park track. In the Spring, of 1976, Colin Grant's appearances were limited due to soccer committments but Rob McNulty,Brian Grant, Roy and Derek Varty and newcomers Tom Baggley
and Jim Wilson continued to practise regularly at the Kingsway track. Eventually, another fixture was arranged, by Roy Varty, with East Kilbride, this time ending in a draw. This Mount Florida Flyers' team also raced a return match on a football pitch in East Kilbride, losing once again 41-37.

Regular practice meetings were held throughout the

1'.ackie

~dinburgh

 

with two
.sides. In

 

against a


matches being aced against,sim~larly organised,
.add i t i cn , - several matches were arranged by Chic

visiting Hull party.       -    .       .

Shortly after several of the Flyers 'split' away from the Kingsway organisation under the guidance of

 

 

 

 

Ronnie Young,
rac
ing was held each Su day at the hampden track, with Ronnie d
evisin
ma
ny interesting match ormats. The largest of these meetings wa
s the
Hampde nap
o Lf s , which in ,olved thirteen riders conlpeting for severa
l
priz
es donated by Ronni • Veteran John Speirs won the title with

Dave Henderson and Roy farty taking the minor placings.

'I'h i.s win ter ras respected and a break ffom racing taken
by al
l riders. The starf of the 1977 season saw a slight loss
of
i
nterest. A series of matches was held between two teams of Glasgow

 

riders, captained by Eoy Varty and ilob 1~cl'Jul ty. Sunday practices

were again the order of' play but the opening of ,-<:dinburgh Speedway
resulted in an upsurge Sf interest in the Lothian area; one of~the

.

major factors in Ba~pd9~'s journey along the road to sUCCess and
nationwi
de respectability. Challenge matches at junior and senior
levels
were held in Glasgow and ~dinburgh resulting in the eventual

formation of the Lot h i ap Area League, of which Hampd e n became a
member te
am, under the guiding hand of nonnie Young. Following an

                                                                                                                                                                                                       I

.e n j oyab Le trip to nui i , i where three matches were won in a nine rna t ch

tour; nampden raced thelir first Lothian League fixture'against an

i

Sdinburgh'C' team in whfi ch they went down 80-76. I'he .Hampd en team

                                                                                                      I                                                                           .                                                     ,

that day was Roy vartY'fOnnie Young, Brian Grant,Jim ?!ilson,Tom Bae;gl'

Colin Grant,Iain "MOrrisrn and liob ~::cKulty. Two other matches wo re \
l
os t during Augus t , but Harr.pd e n broke their duck even tua l Ly , b~
beat
ing Bdinburgh'A'.by 80-1'7 attIampdeno:..'fhe final League table


 


saw Hampden sitting in


creditable third spot.


 


The Lothian.r'ders Individual Championship was held in
September, with Ray Var y taking second place to Stewart Baxter.

Anlaby and 'l'r nby again travelled from hull, to be bea ten
by Hampden, ending the eason.on a hi~hri.ote.

During the cl se season, several other teams joined the
Lothian League and the ine up for 1978 was Eampden,Kingsway,Forth,
Bridgend ,Portote'llo, Mea' owbank and Champions ,Annfield 0

Ex-nampden navk, Neil Gra;nt, returned to racing in tin1e
for the first Ieague ma~ch,after a five year lay-off, against
Bridgend, which Hampdenl won 111-62. A good run of wins followed-and
wi t.h the match aga.i ns t Annf'Le Ld r ahe ad , Hampd e n looked forward to a

great fixture. I'he ma t ch took place in Lay at ria mpd e n and the n e be L

turnei in a br i Ll i an t performance to win by -:'.'ient;y three oints. .

The rest of the season followed as i u.i La.r pattern ofcrushing victOries!'
wi th Harrpd e n winning a l ! twe n ty four ma t c he s to become the Lothian 1/:

I

!

i

formidable ;Jool of riders with Neil Grant a~d lain ~orrison having al I

fantastic season,iloy Varty finishing on top of the League Averages, ii
Too Ba gg l ey Lmpr-ov i ng tremendously and Rob Kc1\ul ty ,Derek Varty, '1 !

I'

I I

standards match by match. Team spiri ~ was boosted immensely after i I

a mi d-ese a scn we e ke nd at Hull, arranged by lain l\:orrison, during which. I
Hampden won all four matches, including a couple of lasy heat deciderl

. i

                            It was these SUC0esses against National League sides      ; i

and the lack of top class opposition in Scotland which made Hatnpden (I

!: I

Ey the

end of tie season, Ha~pden bad built up a

League

Champions.

Colin Grant,Paul 1,~c:;:uarrie, and Brian Grant all raising .their

consider the possibility of entering the National Leaguein the nAW

season.

Preliminary discussions were held with Le?gue Secretary,

(,

Gene Bailley, and.it was established that there was no apparent

i

opposition to Hampden entp-ring the League's second division. At the I

A. G. M. of the League, in December, Hampden were unanimously accepted 11
into a new format League containg both first and second division
clu
bs. The existing Division.Two trophies would be retained and
awarded to theh~gnestplaced club. with second division st.i-fusand
the winner of a second division Individual.

Transport~roblems were sorted out, and Neil Grant,
who bad taken over from Rorinie Young as team manager at the end of

the successfuil978 sea sol'), arranged for sponso r sru p from Ja:n'3s Be a ton
of Beaton's Coaches. ?his'belp proved invaluable to the club during
t
he S8ason and amounted to the equivalent Qfabout 400. In a year when

over 1000 passed through Treasurer Ro~ !;':cl::ul t;Y' s books, this was a
si
gnificant assistance and every endeavour will be made to secure
si
milar help in future seasons.

As well as competing in the A.S.C.National League ,the i
club also took part in the newly formed' Scottish and I'yne e i d e League }
~nd ~n the lo
cal S tra thclyde ,Lea~~s. Hampden picked up -t.he s~ 1 ve~ware 'j
In tne Stathclyde League and Lnd i v i dua I but a lack of the d ed i.ca t i on , I
so effectively applied in National League e ncoun t.e r s , forced the club ;
into the runners-up spot in both the Scottish League (by 1 point) and
in the In
dividual final (when Torn Baggley was excluded while leading
the eventu
al winner).

The future of the Hampden dub depends to a great extent
on the ent
husiasm of the riders and their willingness to travel
thou
sands of miles in a season since no amount of effort by a team
m
anager can create a winning team if these qualities are not present
in t
he riders, as many well meaning team managers have found in the
past.

HH!PD~N'S A.S.C.NATIONAl 13;AGU~ campa i gn be gan j af t e r a couple

0: f'a l s e e t ar t s j when f t r-s t 5:1e }:e'{.' 1:ills track was not r e ad y for use
after t
ile hard wi n t.e r , then Stoke elected r.ot to battle against t h'e
b l i zzards on thei r journey north, wi th,.2. ccnv i nc i ng win over Che sham

Gorrets, spoLscred by ihe Bury ccac2hirers,rurners.The riarr.pden track

stood up well considering the severe frosts of the previous months

t
and the new concre te footslides remained solid despi te being cons tru c t ed ]
I
with snow on the ground. The electric starting gates performed admirablyl
I

and their speed of operation s-urprised all riders.                       !

The first of the season's Snglish excursions began wi th a three point
defeat on a tricky Stoke circuit,recently soaked in an early morning
"snowe r s vI'h i s was to be-Hampden's first taste of racing on a track where
hi
gh speed was maintained into each bend and not reduced hc:lfway along

. the s t r-a.i.gh t s Ph i s experience was to stand the team in good stead in
future trips across the Border.

After a night's rest in the pi ts at Car r s ','[0 od , the team travelled

the short distance to 3ast Kanchester where a rather narrow but grippy
tra
ck did not cause the Hampden riders any problems against an, at times~

unen thusias ti cSas t Kanche s te r side.                                                                                    I

          Later in the day, at the long denton circuit, the team were Vlell      I

beaten, with the effects of the long weekend beginning to shoVl although
rtoy Varty put up the first of many tremendous performances against

first division-classed sides. Hampden were praised for their smart
turn-out
before the :natch, sporting asalways, the racing gear obtained
w
ith the help of sponsor James.TIeaton.

The horr.e ma~ch against'Hetkmonclw1ke,who travelled with fourteen