FAMOUS DIRT-TRACK RIDERS (1929)

Speedway or Dirt-Track Riding featured several times on cigarette cards issued by various tobacco companies including Ogden’s, John Player & Sons and Gallaher’s.

The set we feature here is one of the earliest to be produced - by Thomas Ogden - in 1929, the sport’s second season and the first year of league racing in Britain. So soon after the birth of speedway in this country, it is hardly surprising that most of the characters featured are the Australian and American stars who brought the sport to these shores.

SpeedwayFiction Speedway like it used to be! Home Speedway on Cigarette Cards 3. Cecil Brown 1. Frank Arthur 6. Tom Croombs 11. Vic Huxley 12. Noel Johnson 13. Jim Kempster 14. Gus Kuhn 15. Billy Lamont 18. Art Pechar 19. Reg Pointer 20. Mart Sieffert 21. Dicky Smythe 22. Eric Spencer 23. Charlie Spinks 24. Ben Unwin 2. Jack Bishop

A successful Australian rider who came over to England in 1928, Jack Bishop is one of the most daring riders now competing on our tracks, and his dashing displays are very popular with all the Speedway fans. He has been especially successful when competing in the Handicap events and sometimes when starting from scratch has run through the field and won by a big margin. He has also a number of lap records to his credit both in England and Australia.

4. Hilary Buchanan

An Australian rider who came over to England in 1928 and is now a popular rider at Wimbledon, White City, Harringay and other International Speedways tracks. Although he has only been here a short time, he has shown that he understands how to handle his machine on our smaller tracks, and his successes in the handicaps and other events go to prove that he is a rider of great merit.

5. Clem Cort

Clem Cort, who is one of the youngest of English riders, has recently come very much to the front. Unlike many other riders he is not at all superstitious, for he usually rides in green. Although he has only been riding a few months, he has won both the White City and the Wimbledon Handicap races, while at the White City track, he won the “News of the World” Belt. Clem Cort was among the group of English riders chosen to go to Cairo to ride there during the winter of 1928-9.

7. Paddy Dean

Paddy, an Australian champion, first started riding about three years ago. He performed on most of the better-known tracks in Australia and, in September 1927, he broke the track record at the Speedway Royal, Sydney. He then came over to ride for Dirt-Track Speedways Ltd. Since he has been here, he has become one of the most popular riders at the West Ham track, winning many of the big handicaps and trophy races. He also broke the record for the Crystal Palace track.   

8. Lloyd Elder 9. Roger Frogley 16. Alf Medcalf 17. Frank C. Pearce 25. Colin Watson 10. Buzz Hibberd

Buzz Hibberd came over to England from Australia in 1928 as a mechanic and has since shown that he is a rider of great ability by defeating Frank Pearce and Dicky Smythe in match races. Hibberd comes from Sydney and is an electrician by trade. He is one of the tallest riders at present competing on our tracks, being about six feet in height. He recently won the Golden Gauntlet at the Glasgow track and has been successful in a number of handicap events.

“Wizard Frank Arthur” was born in Lismore, New South Wales. He started racing at an early age, but had no great success until 1927, when he surprised everyone by winning the Golden Helmet in Australia when competing against some of the best-known riders. Since coming to England to ride for the International Speedways Ltd., this great rider has carried off many valuable trophies, including the much-prized Golden Helmet which he has probably won more frequently than any other man.

Few other riders have had more experience of different kinds of track riding than Cecil Brown. Born at Manistique, Mich., U.S.A., He started racing at 17, and for three years was undefeated on the big tracks there. He went to Australia in 1925, and met with great success on the Manbubra hard track, winning the Golden Helmet seven times. He secured the three-mile Australian Dirt-track Championship at Newcastle and the two-mile Australian Championship at Cessnock. Since coming to England he has become popular at the International Speedways meetings.

Tommy Croombs is one of the few English riders to ride a Pea-Shooter Harley successfully. His method of almost standing on his foot-rest when going round the bends is reminiscent of Frank Arthur, the Australian Champion and like Arthur he keeps very close to the white line. His rise to fame has been very rapid, and Croombs now starts as scratch man in many of the handicap events. In 1928, he broke the record for the Lea Bridge track.

SpeedwayFiction

Sprouts Elder, the great American champion, started racing in the U.S.A., And rapidly attained prominence on the big tracks, scoring many trophies and records. He has also raced successfully in Australia, where he holds many records. He came to England in 1928 with some of the Australians, and is now one of the best-known riders competing on our tracks, his wonderful displays being most popular with Speedway fans, especially at the West Ham, White City and Stamford Bridge tracks. He won the championship of the West Ham track in 1928.   

Roger Frogley, the idol of the Crystal Palace Speedways, is one of the finest English riders at present competing. He first came into prominence in 1928 when riding at the Stamford Bridge track, where his wonderful riding enabled him to win many of the big handicaps and trophy races. He has also ridden successfully at the West Ham Speedway, where he recently defeated in a match race Charlie Spinks, the Australian rider. He has already won the ‘News of the World’ Belt at the Crystal Palace track.

Probably the greatest exponent of broadsiding, “Broadside Vic Huxley” was born in Brisbane on September 23rd, 1906 and began racing in 1926. He scored the one mile standing start record for the Davies Park Speedway, and the World’s flying start one mile record for a one-third mile track. Since coming to England to ride for International Speedways, he has gained a number of valuable trophies including the much-prized Golden Helmet which he has won a number of times. In 1928 he also won the lap records for both the White City and Wimbledon tracks.

Known as “The Baby”, this wonderful little rider from Australia was among a number of Australians who came over to England this year. His daring and apparently reckless way of driving into the bends makes him very popular at all the meetings. Since coming over here he has added a number of trophies to his credit, including the much-prized Golden Helmet. He rides a single-geared Peashooter Harley, and when he wheels it out for a start, a good thrill is certain to follow.   

Although he only started riding a few months ago, “Smiling Jim Kempster” is regarded as one of the greatest of English riders. He is Captain of the Wimbledon Speedways club and trainer of many coming riders. Among his most notable successes are the winning of a Match Race with Sprouts Elder, the great American star, and the winning of the Gold Helmet scratch race when opposed to the two Australian champions, Frank Arthur and Vic Huxley. After the latter race he was carried shoulder high round the field.  

One of the pioneers of English Dirt-Track racing, Gus Kuhn is also one of the finest. His cool and clever riding has brought him to the front ranks among the English riders, and he has ridden with success on most of our English tracks. It was when competing in the handicap events at Stamford Bridge track that he gained his reputation. He has sometimes won as many as five events in one night on this track. Gus Kuhn is also a well-known trials rider.   

Probably the greatest of all the Dirt-Track riders, “Cyclone Billy Lamont” was born in Newcastle, New South Wales. He started racing in 1924 at Maitland, the first track built in Australia, and since that time has broken nearly every record in Australia, besides winning many of the most valuable trophies. Since coming to England to ride for International Speedways, he has broken several of our track records, including that of Stamford Bridge. When in action he is without exception the most thrilling rider to watch, as he invariably goes into the bends on full throttle.  

When Alf Medcalf had only been riding a few weeks he quickly worked his way up into the finals of the trophy races, and it was the worst of bad luck when he crashed and was put out of action for some weeks. Since his re-appearance on the tracks he has gradually recovered his old form and has now a number of fine wins to his credit. He is an engineer by trade and has a garage in Colchester. He rides both Douglas and Harley machines and has put up his best performances when riding the former.   

This fine Australian rider, present holder (Nov. 1928) of a world’s record for a 2¾ machine, and three times the winner of the muck-prized Golden Helmet, has probably had more experience of the racing track than any other rider. Since coming to England to ride for International Speedways, he has met with a run of bad luck, chief among his misfortunes being broken chains. Many times he has been on the verge of a brilliant win, only to drop out as the result of this trouble.   

Art Pechar, the American crack, was born in Tarry Town, New York, 28 years ago and started racing in 1918. In 1926 he entered for 27 races and won 23 of them. In 1927, just before leaving for Europe, he held the three and ten mile National Dirt-Track Championships on the half mile track. The first time he appeared in England he broke both the Greenford and Stamford Bridge track records in one day. During his short stay here he rode with great success on most of our tracks and became the idol of Stamford bridge.   

An English rider who only started racing a short time ago, Reg Pointer is among the most prominent Englishmen now riding for International Speedways. He has a very fine style and is a very popular rider with the Wimbledon and White City crowds, where his successes in the Handicap events meet with the greatest enthusiasm. He has recently forsaken his Ariel for a new Rudge Special.   

A familiar figure on most of our English tracks, Mart Sieffert competed at the first Speedway meeting ever held in England, at King’s Oak. During 1928 he competed successfully in a number of the most important races, including that for the Silver Sash and the Silver Wheel, and at the West Ham Speedway he won the All-comers Handicap. Sieffert is a very calm rider, but always manages to be well to the foore.   

This wonderful little rider, who is a great favourite at the White City and Wimbledon tracks, is popularly known as “Flying Dicky Smythe” because of his spectacular way of broadsiding. He came over to England from Australia in 1928 with a fine record to his credit, and has since lived up to it, winning among other trophies both the Golden Helmet and the Silver Helmet. He recently broke the lap record for the Birmingham track and is also the present holder of the 4 lap records for the Harringay and Manchester Speedways.   

An English rider who has come very much to the front lately, Eric Spencer is the owner of a very fast Douglas machine. His cool and clever style of riding has made him a popular figure at all International Speedways meetings. He has many of the most valuable trophies to his credit including the Golden Helmet, Silver Helmet and Golden Gauntlet. He has also competed successfully in a number of match races and handicaps.

Owing to his spectacular and apparently reckless way of broadsiding, Charlie Spinks, the young Australian rider, is extremely popular at most of the big tracks. In July last he broke the lap record for the Harringay track, his time being 19.7 seconds. Among other trophies he has also won the Silver wheel and the Silver wings. He is a great favourite with the public and with his fellow-riders.   

One of the most prominent Australians now competing in England, Ben Unwin is a most popular rider at all International Speedways meetings. A feature of his riding is the extreme angle he gets to his machine when taking the bends, which gives one the impression that he is lying on it. Among his popular successes in this country was that of winning the Silver Wings at the Harringay track, Aug, 1928. He rides a Pea-shooter Harley machine of the same type as “Wizard Frank Arthur.” In Sept, 1928, he returned to Australia to compete in the races held there in the winter of 1928-9.   

Colin Watson rode at the first Dirt track meeting in this country at the King’s Oak Speedway. An English rider of great prominence, he holds several records for this track. Though he has not a very spectacular style he is one of the safest and fastest of our English riders. He is now riding for the International Speedways Ltd., And is very popular at the White City and Wimbledon tracks, where he is a successful competitor in the handicaps. He has recently bought a 2¾ Peashooter Harley from the famous Australian rider “Wizard Frank Arthur.”