It’s a Saturday in September. The day of the World Championship Final at Wembley Stadium. In keeping with such a major sporting event, the whole of the front and back pages of the London Evening News are given over to a preview of the competition. Better than that, an hour of the event will be broadcast live at 9pm on BBC Television. It may sound like a fairytale today but it really happened.

We invite you to scroll down, look again at the Evening News of September 27, 1957 and get a sense of the status our sport used to enjoy.

The start of the story

Reporter Jim Stenner wrote:

Sixteen stars from eight countries, £1,625 at stake in 25 racing minutes, a new track…. Theses are the ingredients of speedway’s greatest night - the final of the “Sunday Dispatch” World Championship at Wembley Stadium.

Days when the shale sport commanded the front pages and the prime-time TV schedules

The headline picture

This showed (from the left)  Ove Fundin, Ronnie Moore (who would be only a spectator in 1957), Peo Söderman and Peter Craven streaking from the tapes in the 1956 Final.

The Speedway Special

This edition was published alongside the Evening News’s other Saturday editions

Souvenir back page

The back page, too, was devoted to pictures and potted biographies of some of the top riders taking part in the Final

Evening News vans were once a common sight, racing across the capital delivering the latest edition hot off the presses at Carmelite House, close to Fleet Street. At one time, the paper boasted the world’s biggest daily sale

After almost a century, the Evening News reported its last story in October 1980, when it was merged with the Evening Standard. The front page headline simply read “Goodbye London”.

Primetime Television

In 1957, there were only two TV channels in London - or anywhere else for that matter. Both 405-line VHF black and white services. The BBC’s Saturday evening schedule included such favourites as the popular western series Tales of Wells Fargo and the original cop show, Dixon of Dock Green. But the top 9pm slot was given over to live coverage of the World Speedway Final. Hard to imagine today!

Headlining Speedway

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