Wednesday, 12 January 2011

British Riders On The Ice...

Ice speedway has long been the preserve of the Russians and the Scandanavians with occasional German and Dutch riders thrown into the mix, but there have been one or two notable attempts by British riders to make their mark on the ice too.

Bruce Semmens raced in the Swedish League between 1949 and 1952 becoming the top British Ice Racer of his era and Andy Ross made quite a name for himself in the World Championships during the late 60s, culminating with a joint 5th place finish in the 1970 World Final at Nassjo, Sweden. During the 1980s and early 90s, Great Britain also entered teams into the World Team Championships. They never scaled the heights of the all conquering Russians, but they were never disgraced in what is arguably the most dangerous motorcycle sport in the World.

Here's a few photographs of some of the riders who have worn the Union Jack on the ice speedway tracks in the past 30 years or so...
Team GB at the 1985 World Cup semi-final, Grenoble, France.
Paul Evitts, Bruce Cribb, John Walmsley and Neil Tuxworth.
Yes, that Neil Tuxworth! Former TT rider, road racer and the current Honda Road Racing manager.
(Copyright Photo Courtesy of John Hipkiss)
Paul Evitts from Dudley, West Midlands.
Paul was born near to the Cradley Heath speedway track and is still racing in veteran grass track events today
(Copyright Photo Courtesy of John Hipkiss) 
John Walmsley from Millom in Cumbria. John also raced conventional speedway for his local track in Barrow
(Copyright Photo Courtesy of John Hipkiss)
Martin Goodwin scored 8pts in the World Championship preliminary round at Frankfurt in January 1983.
(Photo - Klaus Goffelmeyer)
Bruce Cribb - "The Worlds fastest Maori"... and one of the most prolific "British" ice racers in recent history. Although he was originally from New Zealand, Cribby has lived in the West Midlands many years now and raced on the ice using a British licence. This photo was taken at Eindhoven in 1993 (Photo - Norbert Ockenga)
Graham Halsall - like Cribby, Graham never knew when to give up and raced on the ice for around 20 years.
(photo - Norbert Ockenga)
Finally, a mystery photo. Can anyone identify this British Ice Racer please?
Thanks to John Hipkiss for allowing me to reproduce some of his photographs on this post.
John Hipkiss Photography Ltd hippopix@blueyonder.co.uk Tel - 07836 386169 Fax - 0121 421 2237.

11 comments:

  1. Blimey, I didn't realise Neil Tuxworth had done Ice racing... And is Martin Goodwin the former Arena Essex speedway rider?

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  2. Neil wasn't bad on the ice either and rode ice speedway for a few years. There was also another GP road racer, Ian Pratt, who raced on the ice during the 80s. I've just discovered he's now working as a songwriter in Spain, and yes, that is former Arena Essex rider Martin Goodwin

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  3. Hi
    Do you have any more photos of the British ice racing team from the 1980,s
    Regards
    John Walmsley

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    Replies
    1. Hi John, How are you doing, what are you up to these days ? your ex Ice Speedway team mate Ian Pratt

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  4. The John Walmsley?? How ya doing? Are you still living in Cumbria? I was only talking about you last night. My friend Duncan from Bootle was saying he went to school with you and never realised that you were an ice racer.

    I have quite a lot of photographs of you and the ice racing team John - I've even got a couple of you riding at Barrow speedway somewhere. Send me an e-mail to motofreako@gmail.com and we can have a chat and I can mail you some of the photos I have.
    Regards BCB.

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  5. BCB

    I was just about to reel off my tale about Bruce Cribb at Newcastle in the early 80's, when I realised I had already added it as a comment on the 'Speedway Plus' article - Don't remember doing that!

    Regards

    Andy

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  6. How strange Andy - I'd read that comment on Speedway Plus too and never clicked it was you. By some strange coincidence, the other comment on the Cribby story is mine.

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  7. is there anywhere you can try ice speedway and hire a bike?

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  8. Not that I know of, if there was I'd be there myself. Most of the guys in Scandanavia do their practising on frozen lakes, same in Siberia for the Russian riders. If we get in touch with them I'm sure one would happily lend a bike and lets us have a go :)

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  9. Tord Lundgren, Njurunda Sweden4 January 2012 at 13:02

    Andy Ross from Scotland is the second best Brit after Cribby. He practiced and raced in Sweden and was nr 6 in the world finals 1970 in Nässjö, Sweden. Others that I remember is Malcolm Simmons and one more guy that rode the semifinals in Sweden 1971. Barry Briggs and Ivan Mauger tried a couple of meetings on ice. The last picture here could be Pat McCann. I have more names of british boys in my archives, people that has been training and racing with us in sweden.

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  10. That's great Tord. I have 33 names of riders who have represented Great Britain at Ice Racing.

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Whitehaven, Cumbria, United Kingdom
Disenchanted City Boy who rode out of the fast lane and into the back lanes! Life on Two Wheels is so much fun.