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IN TIME for the first season of a new decade, the proprietors of Speedway Star & News took the plunge and introduced full colour to the cover of the magazine.

Produced in those days by Webster’s Publications at Temple Chambers, just off Fleet Street in the heart of the newspaper world, the last of the ‘red top’ editions rolled off the presses at Chesham dated March 27, 1970.

THE last black-and-white cover showed a number of well-known speedway faces letting their hair down but, not surprisingly, page two featured a full-page advertisement for the new colour issue due out the following week.

The colour, of course, only extended as far as the front page. Everywhere else, monochrome would still be the order of the day for some time but it was an exciting enough development when colour in the media was in its infancy. Remember, BBC1 and ITV had only gone into colour the year before and the advent of full-colour daily newspapers was almost two decades away.

Colour for the beginning of that most colourful of decades

WITH the colour came the cost, of course. The new magazine, printed on different presses, would have more pages and slightly larger ones, too. The result would be a price increase from 1/6, (one shilling and sixpence) to 2/- (two shillings) or 10 new pence! Quite a jump. Remember, in 1970, a loaf of bread was only 9p. The average weekly wage was £32. A pint of lager in the pub would cost you just 20p and cigarettes were 20p for 20. For those with more extravagant tastes, a new mini car would set you back £600 while you could expect to pay, on average, £4,975 for a house.

Inevitably, the price goes up - by 25 per cent!

THE last red top issue included the full Division Two fixture list for the 1970 season. Few of those teams still exist and, of those that do, not all are still in the second division or Premier League as it is now known. Of those that remain, we have chosen Ipswich Witches to make a comparison between the season’s entertainment on offer in those days compared with the speedway available to Suffolk fans today.

We think it doesn’t take a long look to see just what a richer set of fixtures was compiled in 1970. And just look at how many of the 2016 dates are blank. Several of these, of course, will remain so.

What about the speedway?


(7.30 pm)


17 Scunthorpe  LC   

24 Reserved    



2 Sheffield  LC   

14 Peterborough  LC   

23 Sheffield  PL  

28 Somerset  PL  



5 Reserved    

12 Rye House  KOC    

26 Edinburgh  PL



4 Redcar  PL  

9 Glasgow  PL    

23 Newcastle  PL  



7 Rye House  PL  

14 Berwick  PL   

21 Peterborough  PL  

28 Plymouth  PL  


6 Reserved   

11 Scunthorpe  PL    

18 Workington  PL  

25 Berwick (provisional)



Thursday 1 Reserved    

Thursday 8 Reserved   

Thursday 15 Reserved   

Thursday 22 Reserved   

Thursday 29 Reserved



Thursday 13 Reserved    

Thursday 20 Reserved   

Thursday 27 Reserved

1970 2016

MAJOR writers for the Star in the early Seventies included such names as Dave Lanning, Dave Stevens, Eric Linden, Phillip Dalling, Peter Oakes and Danny Carter.

This week, the column Oakes-Topics reported on the prospects for television coverage of the 1970 season - at least four major meetings were due to be broadcast, (see opposite). Of course, this was before ITV’s Saturday afternoon sports programme World of Sport took to speedway coverage in a major way towards the middle of the decade.

And the woman’s view…

A WOMAN’s page would probably be scorned today but in the early 70s, Peter Oakes’s wife Pam wrote Woman’s View. In this issue, since the season had only just got underway, her column concentrated on the first part of a directory of riders’ fan clubs.

Forerunner of them all, we are told, and one of the biggest in the league, with close to 200 members, was the Terry Betts Fan Club. For 3/6 (17½p) members were offered get-togethers with their star plus a wide range of items for purchase - some autographed - and, of course, all profits were used to help the rider.

A special World Final deal…

WHICH speedway supporter could resist snapping up this deal for the 1970 World Final in Wroclaw? The £25 fee included lunch and dinner, a ticket for the Final, the flight from Gatwick, insurance, Polish visa and transport to the stadium!

Worryingly, nothing is said about coming back - but then, in 1970, Poland was still a member of the Warsaw Pact and visits behind the Iron Curtain were never straightforward.

Fixtures for the coming week Newcomers to Division Two… …and the line-ups in the top flight teams This week’s back cover pin-up boy