Club CH Archive  2001 - 2003

Club CH 1999-2000

Club CH 2004-2007

 

18th January 2001

DATE SET FOR AGM AND BRITISH GP BOOKING

Club CH have confirmed that the 3rd Annual General Meeting of the supporters-based organisation will take place on Wednesday 21st February at Cradley Heath Liberal Club. The usual venue, on Bank Street just off Cradley Heath High Street, will welcome Club CH members for a start of 8.00pm. Although the first half of the evening is for existing members only, the second half will be thrown open to all fans and will hopefully include a latest news update from CRASH regarding the Dudley Wood situation.
This seasons membership fees can also be paid on the night. The cost for 2001 is 5.00 (normal) or 25.00 (gold members). Remember, all your support is invaluable in keeping the club alive even more so now than ever. The season ahead will include a Heathens return to a host of venues, several of which will be new to the Club CH bandwagon.

Also at the AGM will be the opportunity to book your place in the 'Cradley section' for the British Grand Prix at Cardiff on 9th June this year. Tickets must be paid for on the night.


1ST February 2001

AGM Committee Changes

Existing Club CH members should all have received a recent update letter in the post by now, including a reminder of both the forthcoming Annual General Meeting and the Block Booking for the British Grand Prix.
There have been two resignations from the Club CH commitee and therefore the two positions have been opened to nominations for the 2001 season. All members were notified and any nominations were invited before yesterday's closing date (31st Jan). All other committee members, including chairman Ian Shelton and secretary Nigel Nicklin, will be continuing for a third successive season organising the Club CH project.
Any proposals will now be open to discussion at the AGM which takes place on the 21st February at Cradley Heath Liberal Club. Anyone wishing to book GP tickets can now reserve their seat either by email to me, by post before the 16th February to Club CH at 24 Vale Road, Netherton, Dudley, West Mids, DY2 9HZ, or in person on the night of the AGM. Tickets for the selected area of the Millenium Stadium are priced at 29 each.

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19th February 2001

Membership Recruitment + AGM

Club CH are ready to begin preparations for a third consecutive season of operation under the Conference-level racing banner. This season will provide fresh challenges, fixtures and venues in the drive to keep the Heathens name alive with a team on track for the supporters to follow. However, in order to finance the necessary resources for riders, travel and other arrangements, the club relies solely on membership and local sponsorship. Therefore a rallying call must be made now for club members - new and old - to renew their membership fees for 2001. Brand new members are more than welcome at a cost of just 5.00 per season, which includes a regular newsletter. Your money will be going directly to help keep the Heathens on the track and remind the Speedway public that we're still going, so tell your friends and your neighbours to join as well! Send cheques to Club CH at 24 Vale Road, Netherton, Dudley, West Mids, DY2 9HZ or enquiries to steven.johnson@bigfoot.com;
Alternatively, monies can be paid in person at the Club's AGM which takes place this Wenesday at Cradley Heath Liberal Club. If you also wish to join the Cradley trip to the British Grand Prix, then don't forget to bring the ticket money to the meeting as the block booking will be made on Thursday morning.

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21st February 2001

First 2001 Fixtures Confirmed!

Club CH have confirmed their first two fixtures of 2001 with a first visit to Arena Essex, and a return to face Boston at Kings Lynn.
The match against the junior Hammers will take place at Purfleet on the same bill as the Premier League encounter between Arena Essex and Reading on Good Friday, the 13th April. The Heathens will be involved in a second half clash after the main meeting.
The challenge against Conference League Boston will be a full 15-heat match at the Norfolk Arena where Club CH have lost twice in the last two seasons. The 7-man Heathens team to be assembled will have a tough job against the Braves, who are putting together are title-chasing team for the new season.
More news from Wednesday night's Annual General Meeting will be here shortly.

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25th February:- News from the AGM

After a successful Annual General Meeting, the club are now looking forward to beginning their third consecutive season of action, but are still on the look out to attract new members and bring back old members who didn't renew last year.
The feedback from members was described by chairman Ian Shelton as "excellent" as the opportunity will be presented to Cradley fans to visit Elite and Premier venues as well as watching a Heathens team on track in the second half.
A squad of riders has already been assembled and the club have reached agreements with Gordon Meakins, David Nix, Mitch Barker, Shane Colvin, Charly Kirtland and David Hartley to appear when Conference League fixtures allow.
A small profit was made after last years expenses, due to being unable to fit in a final match late in the season. The decision was taken to use this excess to sponsor the 2001 Heathens riders with equal sums.
Finally a Video Night has been arranged for Wednesday 4th April with FREE admission. The usual venue is of course Cradley Heath Liberal Club and the event will kick off at 8.00pm.

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2nd March 2001

Colvin signs for Newport

Shane Colvin, one of the riders recruited to the Club CH squad for this season, has been snapped up by Newport Mavericks in the Conference League.
Colvin broke into British Speedway as a highly promising youngster with Reading in 1999 and was given a starting place by the Racers last season. Despite increasing his assessed three point average, he was dropped at the start of August to accomodate the return of Dave Mullett.
Colvin has now moved to South Wales joins a highly respected Newport second team who won the league in '99 and finished 5th in 2000. The move gives him a better chance to fight for a Premier League return, whilst hopefully not affecting his appearances for the Heathens.
All Club CH riders will be turning out for us when their respective Conference fixtures allow and the stylish Colvin will be a massive boost to the ranks when in the team.

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8th March 2001

 Heathens Masses To Make Trip to British GP!

When the 2001 Grand Prix series rolls into Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on the 9th June, it will be British Speedway's biggest night for many years. So, not wanting to miss out on the prestigious event, Cradley fans have responded in their numbers to an organised block booking of tickets.
Club CH were delighted to receive orders for over 80 tickets at the AGM a couple of weeks ago - well in excess of what was expected - and the order was placed the following day to ensure the majority of Heathens fans will be seated together on the night.
The idea was first mooted on the Fans Forum here, and gradually gained momentum until there was enough interest to guarantee more fans than plenty of other areas of the country will provide. Chairman, Ian Shelton said "This shows that the support is very much alive six years after the loss of Dudley Wood and with the Club CH venture in a healthy state, Cradley Heath are very much in business".
Coach travel will be arranged closer to the date and a location will also be discussed to meet up with other Heathens fans who have purchased their own tickets or travelled separately.

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30th March 2001

Video Night: Wednesday 4th April

Club CH are presenting a special Video Night next Wednesday, at Cradley Heath Liberal Club - the regular venue on Bank Street just off the High Street.
The event features classic Heathens footage beginning in 1947, and taking a nostalgic trip through the 70s, 80s and 90s, right up to Club CH action from the last couple of years. It is the first social night of the new 2001 season for Cradley fans and comes just a couple of weeks before the first scheduled fixture.
Plans for the evening have been publicised recently by the Express & Star, News Group papers and the local Black Country Bugle, as well as Speedway Star magazine, so a good turn out is expected. The best news is that admission is absolutely FREE!
Meanwhile, Club CH signing Shane Colvin has now put pen to paper with another team for this season. As well as recently signing for the Newport Mavericks in the Conference League, he has returned to previous Premier League club Reading to complete the Racers 1-7. Colvin's extra professional commitments will, at best, mean extremely limited chances to turn out for the Heathens. The youngster had been pencilled into the team to face Boston on the 22nd April, but will now be riding for the Racers at Newport. It seems there's nothing like a bit of Cradley interest to kick start a career!

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6th April 2001

Video Night Success & Team for Arena

The recent video night organised by Club CH proved to be a huge success with over 100 people turning up for an evening of Heathens nostalgia.
Footage included a Birmingham v Cradley match from 1949, a rare recorded interview with Ivor Brown and of course the classic World Finals of 1981, 82 and 85. There was an update from CRASH spokesman Bob Edwards regarding PPG17 and it's effect on the Dudley Wood case (see latest news) and general feedback from the Club CH committee about future plans.
Amongst the news was the team to face Arena Essex next Friday in a second half junior match. Four riders have been named who all have experience riding for Club CH and will lead the Heathens faithful for our first match of 2001. The quartet is made up of David Nix, David Hartley, Welsh Wizard Gordon Meakins and teenager Charly Kirtland.
Further team news comes for the Boston match on the 22nd of this month with the headline of the first foreign international to ride for Club CH. Somerset's recent Finnish signing, Jarno Kosonen will turn out in the (new) green and white race jacket and seems likely to be joined by a heavy Somerset influence. The Rebels riders are waiting to get some action under their belts following the Foot and Mouth crisis which has delayed the start of the season at the Highbridge Arena. It is hoped to finalise the remaining members of the team over the next week for what will be a tough test against one of the most fancied Conference League outfits this year.

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11th April 2001

Arena Essex Match Preview

This Friday at last brings along the opening Club CH fixture of the season with a second half match at Arena Essex. It's time to dig out last year's collection of inflatable toys, pick up some cheap green and white balloons and tear up your newspapers into little squares!
The team (see below; 6th April) will be the first to wear the new Club CH race jackets for 2001 and the first Heathens team to take to the Purfleet track since a 49-47 Premier League defeat in 1995. This year's senior Hammers team includes ex-Heathen Troy Pratt and one of last year's Club CH stars, Luke Clifton.
If you're travelling to the match, the best plan seems to be to make a day of it, avoid the traffic and set out early to visit the massive Lakeside Shopping Centre which is situated only a couple of miles from the stadium. Just turn off the M25 at Junction 30/31 and follow signs for the A1306. The track itself is signposted, off the roundabout alongside Thurrock Serices. It'll cost you 9.50 to get in (including programme) to see Arena V Reading in the Premier Trophy, followed by the Arena v Club CH second half event. For more information on the club, visit www.arenaessex-speedway.co.uk and I'll see you on Friday!

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13th April 2001

ARENA ESSEX v CLUB CH


(Following the Arena Essex v Reading Premier Trophy match)
ARENA ESSEX 26 CLUB CRADLEY HEATH 22

Arena Essex - Team Manager: Peter Thorogood
Paul Knott 11+1
Chris Mills 8+1
Matt Etherington 7+1
Mark Thomson 0

Club CH - Team Manager: Chris Dawson
Matt Read 11
David Nix 5+1
Gordon Meakins 4
David Hartley 2+2

Club Cradley Heath slipped to a narrow defeat at the hands of Arena Essex juniors in their first second half challenge match of the speedway season. The lead changed hands three times in an eight-heat match, which was packed with incident, before the Hammers emerged 26-22 victors in a last heat decider.

Youngster Matt Read had kept the Heathens hopes alive after stepping in as a late replacement for Charly Kirtland, who blew the engine in her only bike before the start. Read went on to score 11 points from four rides, beaten only in the crucial final heat by Essex rider Paul Knott.

Fortune favoured the visiors in the first heat as the home side's Mark Thompson was injured in a seemingly innocuous fall while in a 5-1 position behind Chris Mills, which reduced the Hammers to three riders. Club CH took the lead in the next and hung on thanks to successive wins by Read. After then conceding a 5-1 in the fourth, David Nix joined Read for a Heathens maximum in heat five, to the rapturous cheers of the coachload of travelling fans.

The two point lead was reversed once more, before a drawn heat set up the final race climax. The Cradley pair bolted from the start in the first and second positions they required to snatch victory, but Nix was eventually passed by both home riders and Read lost out on his maximum with a last bend mistake.

The Arena Essex attendance was significantly swelled by the addition of the Cradley fans and programmes sold out well before the start of the match. The coach party had planned to stop off at the adjacent Lakeside Shopping Centre, but after the coach arrived for the pick-up over half an hour late, it then pulled into the massive complex at 6.00pm just as the shops were closing. Reading were edged out in a Premier Trophy match before the Heathens went into action on a track almost as slick as the nearby M25. The four riders eventually went down battling and came onto the track after the match to take the continued applause of the supporters.

Match report by Steve Johnson.

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18th April 2001

Heathens Look Forward to Boston Challenge

After the Heathens four-man team narrowly lost out at Arena Essex despite the heroics of late stand-in, Matt Read, the club are now looking forward to this Sunday's full 15-heat encounter with Conference League Boston.
The second match of the season comes hot on the heels of the first, but a large following is expected to see an exciting looking Club CH side take on one of the most fancied teams in the lower league. Boston are almost using a squad rotation system at the moment with an abundance of talented riders battling for contention. Tipped for a recall this week is Freddie Stephenson, who will join Carl Wilkinson in the starting line-up. Both riders were in Cradley colours for the first ever Club CH match at Buxton almost two years ago.
Club CH will now be unable to use Somerset's Finnish international Jarno Kosonen as planned, due to a BSPA ruling regarding his eligibility. He will be replaced by 16 year old Kidderminster-based Rob Finlow. The local rider joins Malcolm Holloway - who is well over twice Finlow's age, plus future stars David McAllan, Darren Smith and Jamie Holmes in making Heathens debuts, while loyal stalwarts Mitch Barker and Dean Garrod fill the reserve slots.
Boston are once again racing their home fixtures at Kings Lynn's Norfolk Arena. The well established speedway venue always provides a super track, and is easily accessible from the A47. Take the exit marked St.Germans and turn onto Saddlebow Road, where you will see the stadium on the right. The meeting starts at 6.00pm and will be followed by a second half involving both clubs.

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22nd April 2001

BOSTON v CLUB CH

 
(Full 15-heat Conference League Challenge)
BOSTON 49 CLUB CRADLEY HEATH 40

Boston: Team Manager Malcolm Vasey

Carl Wilkinson 12 (5)
Freddie Stephenson 3+2 (4)
Robert Hollingworth 9 (4)
David Chadburn 3+2 (4)
Peter Boast 5+1 (4)
Phil Pickering 9+1 (5)
Ricky Scarboro 8+2 (4)

Cradley: Team Manager Chris Dawson

David McAllan 14 (6)
Jamie Holmes 4+2 (6)
Malcolm Holloway 12+1 (5)
Darren Smith R/R
Dean Garrod 4 (4)
Mitch Barker 1+1 (4)
Rob Finlow 4+1 (4)

Club Cradley Heath pushed a highly fancied Boston team close to a shock result at the weekend, thanks to the inclusion of a local youngster at reserve, and a heatleader well over twice his age!

16 year old rising prospect, Rob Finlow hails from Kidderminster and is currently plying his Speedway trade at Newport in South Wales. Turning out for the Heathens for the first time in this 15-heat Conference League challenge, the talented youngster weighed in with a useful 5+1 from the No.7 slot. He was called up only a week before due to the inegibility of Finnish international Jarno Kosonen, and quickly endeared himself to the noisy contingent of travelling Cradley fans so much that he acquired his own song on the terraces: 'Fin-low, Sweet chariot'! Kosonen's Somerset team-mate Malcolm Holloway did make it to the line-up as both captain and heatleader and the 43-year old led by example with a five-ride tally of 12+1. Holloway made his racing comeback last year after originally starting his shale career more than twenty years ago - before some of his team mates were even born!

The Heathens were disadvantaged from the start due to the non-arrival of another young prospect, Darren Smith, after confusion over the booking date, but were well on the pace in the early stages. Scotsman, David McAllan stepped into the number one position and rattled up three heat wins in the first five races to keep them only one point adrift. The first of these was a Conference League track record breaking victory in the opening heat. However, in the next, both Finlow and Mitch Barker suffered first lap falls in separate stagings of the race, which saw the disappointing sight of only the two home riders completing the four laps.

The two teams exchanged two 5-1 scores each between heats six and ten, to ensure the gap remained the same. Involved in both maximum heat advantages was the battling Jamie Holmes, who first had to swing inside and out to fend off the challenges of the Boston pair, Freddie Stephenson and Ricky Scarboro, and then seized upon a moment of good fortune to pass Carl Wilkinson when the home rider narrowly avoided clattering the fence when comfortably in front.

Boston's strength in depth eventually proved too much though as Wilkinson and Peter Boast relegated McAllan to third place for the only time in his six rides, and subsequently wrapped up the match for the Barracuda-Braves in heat 13. Holloway and Finlow combined with a 4-2 in the penultimate race and then a drawn heat left the final score at 49-40 to the home side in a match which served up some highly entertaining racing on a well prepared Norfolk Arena track.

McAllan started like a steam train and was still arguably the best Heathen in the latter stages. Holmes ran into an impressive and entertaining purple patch halfway through the meeting when he kept us in it, but then struggled to get little reward both before and after the heroics. Holloway did everything a captain should both on the track and in the pits. He proved to be a great character and still a talented rider who earned several of his points either from the back or after a great tussle with his opponents. Dean Garrod gated as well as anyone but didn't quite have the pace or the racing line to hold his positions. Barker was always very much on the pace but didn't score his first point until being surprisingly nominated in heat 15! That was a well earned third behind McAllan after he passed and held off the challenge of Phil Pickering. And Finlow made an excellent debut in Cradley colours. He seemed to improve with almost every race, and showed enough ability to hold off home captain Peter Boast for the entirity of four laps and then pop out in his next to lead a 5-1 and bring us back into the match.

In a fitting tribute to the visiting supporters from the Black Country, the Boston Team Manager Malcolm Vasey ventured into the terraces after the racing had finished to shake hands with each individual and show his appreciation for the memorable atmosphere. Vasey has long been the focus of some light-hearted barracking from the Cradley fans as he has been involved in several Club CH matches at both Lynn and Mildenhall. His ponytail and beard usually attract an array of classic Status Quo anthems from our back row of the Grandstand, a fact which he commented on in his own programme notes!

Some minor consolation was achieved in the second half event when a Cradley reserve side took on the Boston juniors. With no Darren Smith or Charly Kirtland, the Heathens team was reduced to just Gordon Meakins, Mitch Barker and Rob Finlow. The three battled admirably to a 20-16 victory over six heats. Meakins (5+1) and Finlow (10) appeared in four races each while the overworked Barker (5+1) took three. Team Managers for the occasion were Club CH committee members Ian Shelton and Dave Herrington. Dave would like it to be known that he becomes the only Cradley manager to achieve a 100% success record from his one match and one victory.

The next match is a second half event at Belle Vue on May Day Bank Holiday (07/05/01).

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7th May 2001

BELLE VUE v CLUB CH


(Following the Belle Vue v Kings Lynn KO Cup match)
BELLE VUE COLTS 25 CLUB CRADLEY HEATH 11

Belle Vue Colts - Team Managers: Stephen Williams/Graham Goodwin
Danny Hodgson 9 M
Ricky Ashworth 8+1
Danny Hughes 7+2
David Hartley 1

Club CH - Team Manager: Chris Dawson
Lee Howard 4+1
David Nix 3
Gordon Meakins 2+1
Mitch Barker 2

Following an excellent KO Cup match between the Aces and Kings Lynn Knights, Club Cradley were crushed 25-11 in this 6 heat match. None of the Heathens could manage a race win as three home riders scored full or paid maximums.

The match was quickly rushed through to keep within Belle Vue's curfew time, but the noisy crowd stayed until the last race. The Cradley fans there again in force to ensure the famous Heathens name was kept alive both on and off the track.

Thanks must go to the Aces and Lynn fans for being happy to sign letters of objection to Barratts latest plans to build houses on Dudley Wood they have been passed on to the powers that be to help save our Black Country home.

Match report by Steve Johnson.

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13th May 2001

NEWPORT v CLUB CH


(Following the Newport v Arena Essex Premier Trophy Match)
NEWPORT 26 CLUB CRADLEY HEATH 10

Newport - Team Managers: John Weston/Gavin Morisson
Rob Finlow 9 M
Ryan Tolley 7+2
Tom Brown 5+1
David Gough 5+1

Club CH - Team Managers: Ian Shelton/David Herrington
Dean Garrod 5
Mitch Barker 3
Matt Etherington 2
Jonathan Stevens 0

On a very patchy and uneven Newport track Club CH were again well and truly beaten. The Heathens managed only one heat advantage when one of the longest serving Club CH riders Dean Garrod shot from the tapes fighting off the challenges from the home pairing of David Gough and Tom Brown, with Matt Etherington picking up the one point this proved to be the only heat winning celebration of the loyal Heathens following.
Our old hero from a few weeks ago Rob Finlow was the star of the show for Newport with a full 9 point maximum.

This match was once again run over 6 heats as it was controversially cut-short by referee Paul Carrington when a few spots of rain fell. Despite the protests of the Heathens following the last two heats were abandoned.

The Heathens must now be looking to strengthen the side for the next match which will be the local derby between Wolves and Club CH at Monmore Green.

Match report by Steve Johnson.

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2nd June 2001

Club CH in Determined Mood for Black Country Derby

Club CH travel to face neighbours and long-time Speedway rivals Wolverhampton next Monday night in determined mood, with a bigger Cradley Heath contingent expected to turn out at Monmore Green than for any other fixture this year.
The Heathens quartet has been named for the eagerly anticipated second half clash against the junior Wolves side and will be bolstered by the latest recruit in a string of talented youngsters to have turned out for the club. Teenager Tom Brown has impressed on two occasions against Club CH and he now faces a baptism of fire as the only new name in a settled Cradley side. He has just made his Premier League debut with a guest appearance for the Isle of Wight.
Brown will be joined by Dean Garrod, Mitch Barker and David Nix. All three are in their third season of competition for the new Heathens and are fully aware of the importance of the Black Country derby fixture, but it may well be Garrod who supporters will look to for a solid performance. No-one has made more appearances for Club CH since Cradley fans formed the club in 1999. He has made two appearances in four matches this year to add to his eight over the two previous seasons. He also has the extra experience of riding in the last clash between the two teams, scoring 4+2 on that occasion in August 1999 and rounding off the night with third place in the crucial last-heat decider to ensure a Heathens victory.
Meanwhile a great response has been received to the appeal for sponsors of the Ivor Hughes Memorial Meeting on 17th June. Club CH will stage the individual event at Mildenhall and have so far attracted over 550 in prize money, making it the best sponsored meeting in the Conference League so far this year. The club have invited Chris Shramm and Rob Finlow to join the 14 riders from the preceding Mildenhall v Boston match and would also like to place on record their thanks to Dingle Brown and Mildenhall Speedway for staging the event on the Heathens' behalf.

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4th June 2001

WOLVES v CLUB CH


(Following the Wolves v Peterborough Elite League Match)
WOLVES 17 CLUB CRADLEY HEATH 17

The supporters were singing all the way home as Club CH pulled off one of the most remarkable comebacks of recent times against old rivals Wolves to earn a thrilling 17-all draw. The famous Black Country derby atmosphere was rekindled for one night only, albeit at a junior development level, and the crowd stayed on in good numbers to watch the second half action, following the preceding Elite League encounter.

In a true match of two halves, Wolves had soared into an early lead and the Heathens found themselves down by 14-3 at the halfway stage. It seemed to be just salt in the gaping wounds when both visiting riders had fallen and failed to finish heat 3. Most would have given up and there were a few fans on the terraces who had lost hope by the end of the short delay. With three races remaining, the 11-point gap was almost insurmountable and with no Cradley heat winners at that point, there was little hope.

Tom Brown picked himself up from a nasty fall and walked back to the pits as something somewhere took a dramatic turn in Cradley's favour. The fightback began on the bumpy track and a 4-2 advantage in heat 4 brought the house down. Experienced Conference League campaigner Dean Garrod won comfortably to add to his earlier second place and he was this time backed up by partner David Nix in third. Even at this point many were celebrating just in case it was the only heat advantage of the night to go our way, but things just got better.

Heat 5 was a complete reversal of the events from three races earlier. This time it was the two Wolves riders who hit the deck leaving the referee an easy decision to award maximum points to Nix and Mitch Barker. Miraculously, we had come from so far behind we were out of sight, and suddenly we were in with a 5-1's chance of snatching a draw.

Four points behind going into the final heat, only that maximum 5-1 advantage would do to level the points overall. From the gate, both Cradley riders led the way but it was anyone's guess how many riders might finish this one. There followed three and a half laps of carefully restricted celebtrations, not wishing to be too premature. The riders went wider on every bend as the Cradley fans prayed for our pair to hang on to their handlebars. One of the home pairing slid from his machine and hit the deck as faint hopes came of a second successive 5-0. But it was left to Garrod and Brown to fight off the challenges of the remaining Wolfcub sending the travelling supporters into raptures on the terraces.

Garrod, top scorer on the night with a tremendous eight points from three rides, said "It was a hard track, but we came through in the end". In a complete team effort though, all four riders contributed vital points. Newcomer Tom Brown battled in vain all night and was not rewarded until the crucial second place in the final race. Before that he had fallen twice while in scoring positions, including twice in one race. He has bags of potential for such an inexperienced rider and said he'd be more than happy to ride for us again. David Nix covered every inch of shale on the Monmore circuit and visited more than one section of fencing, but his efforts reaped him the points and praise deserved. 'The Bouncer' Mitch Barker fell in scoring positions after making some cracking characteristic gates, but he too eventually came up trumps with a heat win which set up the decider.

An incredible match, possibly as bizarre and as entertaining as any time I've previously been to Monmore. At times it seemed all the boys would be featured on a special speedway edition of Auntie's Sporting Bloomers, but they tried their hearts out and did the business! Club CH's first ever draw, but as the song goes "We Never Lose at Monmore!"

Scorers: WOLVES: Shaun Naylor 6, Ryan Tolley 5+1, Tim Healy 4, Scott Blackwell 2+1.
CLUB CRADLEY HEATH: Dean Garrod 8, David Nix 4+1, Mitch Barker 3, Tom Brown 2+1.

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2nd June 2001

COACHES FULL


Cradley fans have filled all spaces on the two coaches originally laid on for the British Grand Prix at Cardiff next week, and many more supporters have reported that they will be travelling by car. Fans will be meeting up in the city beforehand to enjoy the whole day out and there are two pubs right next to the massive stadium which will no doubt be over-flowing with speedway supporters. News from the Internet Speedway discussion groups is that financial services provider, Egg will be sponsoring the event. 1800 tonnes of shale will be laid over four days as well as a further 100 tonnes of clay and the erection of a 360 metre safety fence and air barrier. It will be the first motorsport event to be held at the Millenium Stadium and we hear that churning out the official programmes for the night will be Cradley Print - the company based less than a mile from the Heathens' former Dudley Wood home.

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11th June 2001

CRADLEY WELL REPRESENTED

Cradley were well represented at last weekend's British Grand Prix in the awesome Millenium Stadium. The club took two coaches, a minibus and a fleet of cars to the biggest speedway event since Bruce Penhall's 1981 Wembley world final victory.
In a crowd quoted as anything between 31,000 and 40,000 there was a huge Heathens support, which came across to another 100,000 viewers on Sky Sports. One of the banners reading "Cradley Deserves Speedway, Speedway Deserves Cradley" was caught several times by the TV cameras (right) and the club mentioned briefly by commentator Tony Millard.
The entire Cradley following seemed to enjoy a tremendous day out for speedway's new showpiece and the event was very well received by everyone else from the most dedicated fans to the newest of converts.

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15th July 2001

Club CH Announce August Fixtures

After an unintended mid-season break, Club CH have announced their next two confirmed fixtures to take place during August.
On Saturday the 4th, the Heathens will travel to the hugely popular Premier League venue of Workington in Cumbria for a second half event. The 'Comets' regularly attract the best crowds in the league and even top the attendances of some Elite League tracks. A coach will run to the meeting, leaving Cradley Heath at 10am on Saturday morning and costing 12 per person.
That is followed by a Bank Holiday extravangaza on the 27th as the Heathens travel to take on Rye House in a full fifteen heat Conference League challenge match. The 'Rockets' ran out 54-35 victors when the two sides last met almost a year ago to the day in August 2000. The coach to this match also leaves at 10am for a 3 O'clock start and costs 10 each. The teams for both events are yet to be finalised.

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4th August 2001

WORKINGTON JUNIOR COMETS v CLUB CH


WORKINGTON 27 CLUB CRADLEY HEATH 9

Workington - Team Manager Geoff Powell

1. JAMIE SWALES 320 - 5+1
2. SCOTT JAMES 133 - 7
3. CRAIG BRANNEY 333 - 9
4. PHIL BRAGG 222 - 6+3

Club CH - Team Manager Chris Dawson

1. DEAN GARROD 212 - 5
2. MITCH BARKER 001 - 1
3. DAVID NIX 101 - 2+1
4. GORDON MEAKINS - 010 - 1

Heat 1. Swales,Garrod,James,Barker 69.6, 4-2
Heat 2. Branney,Bragg,Nix,Meakins 70.8, 9-3
Heat 3. Branney,Bragg,Garrod,Barker 71.9, 14-4
Heat 4. James,Swales,Meakins,Nix 71.5, 19-5
Heat 5. James,Bragg,Barker,Meakins 71.7, 24-6
Heat 6. Branney,Garrod,Nix,Swales 71.4, 27-9

Cradley took their 4 longest serving riders (dubbed the "Fab 4", leading to a string of Beatles hits on the terraces) the long trip to Workington to take on an experienced Junior Comets Side.

In a largely uneventful match, Cradley suffered a large defeat on a track none of our riders had experienced before. This was evident as the home riders were regularly first from the gate and were unlikely to be caught from that position.

Things didnt start too badly, with Dean Garrod matching the home pair from the gate in the first heat and doing well to split them for four laps. Unfortunately this was as good as it got until the last race where David Nix produced a fine battling performance to get the better of Jamie Swales, who had looked very good until that point.

Gordon Meakins looked uncharacteristly off pace all night, Mitch Barker was closer to the front men and was unlucky with his total.

In the end the home sides greater track experience told and they ran out comfortable winners. Team Manager Chris Dawson was disappointed to not have challenged more from the gate, as when we were behind at the first bend the battle was all too often too much to win.

Match Report by Matt Jones.

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20th August 2001

Premier League Stars Lead Heathens at Rye House

Club CH have pulled out all the stops to produce one of their strongest ever line-ups in preparation of their visit to Hoddesdon next Monday to take on Rye House in a 15-heat Conference League challenge match. Scheduled for the second successive year on August Bank Holiday Monday, the event is once again expected to attract a good crowd and the evenly matched teams should create some quality racing.

The Premier League's Isle of Wight star Scott Swain has been drafted in at number one to make his Heathens debut and he is solidly backed up by riders all capable of big scores at conference league level. Peter Boast and Paul Burnett return to the side for the first time this season. Boast was our highest scoring rider of 2000 and is the only surviving team member from the corresponding fixture last year where the Rockets were victorious 54-35. Burnett has made three previous appearances, scoring an impressive 7+1 on his debut at Mildenhall.

In Phil Knowles, Club CH welcome back one of their most regular team members - having made five appearances in the green and white race-jacket, while at reserve Newport's youngster Tom Brown only made his debut earlier this season in the 17-17 thriller at Wolves. The six confirmed riders are completed by the only other rider making his bow, Sheffield's Premier League reserve Adam Allot. He continues a very long family tradition with Cradley Heath after his grandfather Guy spent two seasons at Dudley Wood during 1951-52.

Butt of the Joke? It's Rocketman!The number two berth is currently still to be filled but the line-up already has a formidable look about it. The match takes place on Monday 27th August, with tapes up at 3.00pm. For those who have not read the messages on the fans forum, there is a theme planned by a section of travelling supporters. In 'tribute' to the Rocket's somewhat unusual mascot (right), cardboard boxes will be optional headwear for Heathens supporters!

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27th August 2001

RYE HOUSE v CLUB CH


(Full 15-heat Conference League Challenge)
RYE HOUSE 39 CLUB CRADLEY HEATH 51

Rockets: Team Manager John Sampford

Simon Wolstenholme [2-2-2-1] .. 7
James Cockle [0-1'-FX] .. 1+1
David Mason [3-2-2-3-3-1] .. 14
Jeremy Pestell [FX-0-F] .. 0
Darren Andrews [2-3-1-0] .. 6
Garry Sweet [R-2'-0] .. 2+1
Daniel Giffard [3-0-3-1'-2'-0-0] .. 9+2

Cradley: Team Manager Chris Dawson

Scott Swain [3-3-3-3-2'] .. 14+1
Dean Felton [1'-1-2-2'] .. 6+1
Peter Boast [1'-1-3-1] .. 6+1
Phil Knowles [2-F-F-1'] .. 3+1
Adam Allott [3-3-3-2'-3] .. 14+1
Mitch Barker [1'-F-F] .. 1+1
Tom Brown [2-1-1'-1-2} .. 7+1

Club CH raced to their first victory of the season with a convincing 51-39 defeat of ambitious Rye House. Conference League Rockets are currently looking at moving up to the Premier League in 2002, but it was the visiting Cradley team who showed the home side just how big the gap may be.

The Heathens named two Premier League riders in their septet, Sheffield reserve Adam Allott and the Isle of Wight's Scott Swain. Both lived up to their big pre-match billing as they each scorched to paid maximums, rarely troubled by the opposition. If it was the top two who made the difference though, it was the solid support that gave the travelling Cradley fans real hope and inspiration. Regular team member, Phil Knowles returned to the side and battled hard for 3 points and 'The Schoolboy' Tom Brown stepped into the reserve position for the second time to notch an impressive 7+1.

Peter Boast, who announced his retirement from the sport prior to this match, ended his seven-year run in the third division with 6+1 including a thrilling heat ten race win from the back over home number one Simon Wolstenholme. Two riders were called up at a late stage to complete the line-up. Black Country based Dean Felton made his debut with 6+1 from the number two riding position and Mitch Barker made it six appearances out of seven this year, contibuting a well earned point.

Club CH took the lead in the very first race with a 4-2 return from Swain and Felton, and they were never pegged back despite two mini Rye House revivals. The lead was gradually extended to six points by heat five before Allott reinforced the score with a heat victory which equalled the Hoddesdon track record. Then Rye fired back their first shot with a 5-1 to reduce the deficit to just two points. Again the Heathens built back their lead with victories from Boast and Allott, a shared heat from Felton and Brown, and finally an emphatic 5-1 of their own in heat eleven.

With four heats remaining, the Rockets had their last throw of the dice with a tremendous race from the usually unbteable David Mason to cut the deficit again down to just four points. The pendulum swung back once more towards Cradley with Swain and Allott teaming up in the next and with two to go, the visitors only needed a couple of points to secure a memorable result. It was all wrapped up before the awesome top two came out again in the final race to complete their personal maximums and finish off a 12-point victory.

Club CH supporters were delighted to see the all too rare occurrence of a truly dominant performance by their riders. The commitee would also like to put on record their sincere thanks to Rye House promoter Len Silver for all his help in putting on the fixture, and the fans showed their appreciation with a rendition of 'Super Len' amongst the usual repetoire of songs from the terraces. The rest of the songs went from the surreal to the ridiculous, and the cardboard box tribute to Rye House mascot The Rocketman was a theme throughout. By coincidence, the real Rocketman was allegedly sacked by the Rye promotion, and the man behind the costume took the Cradley fans on a tour around the track perimeter, all complete with cardboard boxes and 'Save Rocketman' signs.

In terms of the speedway, Allott and Swain illustrated the difference between the two leagues and showed exactly what some Premier League firepower can bring to the team. There was some quality racing on a rather dusty surface and plenty to keep the fans singing. Any lull was easily filled with the customary barracking of referee Chris Gay, proving once again that Cradley fans have long memories and will not be letting Gay forget his mistakes from the KO Cup match against Belle Vue in 1996! For Club CH, after opening the season with five straight defeats, they have now drawn one and won one of their last two. The next match will be another fiercely contested event as they make the short journey to face old rivals Coventry on 15th September.

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4th October 2001

RONNIE CORREY FAREWELL


A Cradley team is expected back on track later this month as Wolves former American international, Ronnie Correy, says farewell to the sport. Correy's swansong meeting will reportedly involve an Old Wolves v Old Cradley challenge match, featuring stars of past and present from both sides. The Heathens will almost certainly be led by legends of the 90s Greg Hancock and Billy Hamill, while the home team will also have an American spearhead in Correy and Sam Ermolenko. Backup in the Cradley squad could include a fascinating track return for one of our all-time greats, Alan Grahame, along with brother Andy. Swedes, Peter Nahlin and Dalle Anderson have apparently been approached, while the septet may be completed by the Scud, Scott Smith. Other former riders have turned down the chance to pull on their leathers again, but Wolves are expected to pull off the return of Andy Phillips, Stephen Morris and current Premier League heatleader, Jan Staechmann. The meeting is due to be staged on Sunday 21st October, no doubt attracting a very healthy following from the better side of the Black Country.

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25th November 2001

Erik and Jacob sacked as team managers


Surprising news that Denmark's Governing Body, the DMU tried to keep secret is that on 30th August Erik Gundersen & Jacob Olsen were sacked as Team Managers for the Danish National Team. This was apparently due to lack of finances for Team Denmark from the DMU who said they could not afford two Team Managers any more.
On the 28th November the DMU announced that Jacob Olsen would be in sole charge of the national team, after serving as assistant under Erik Gundersen. Erik is reported to have made clear the wish that he should not be reappointed under the sweeping changes due to ongoing increasing problems.

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Fixtures & Results 2001

1. Friday 13th April - Report: Arena Essex 26 - Club CH 22
Following the Arena Essex v Reading, Premier League Trophy match.

2. Sunday 22nd April - Report: Boston 49 - Club CH 40
Full 15 heat Conference League Challenge + 6-heat second half event.

3. Monday 7th May - Report: Belle Vue Colts 25 - Club CH 11
Following the Belle Vue v Kings Lynn, Elite League Knock Out Cup match.

4. Sunday 13th May - Report: Newport 26 - Club CH 10
Following the Newport v Arena Essex, Premier League Trophy match.

5. Monday 4th June - Report: Wolves 17 - Club CH 17
Following the Wolves v Peterborough, Elite League match.

6. Saturday 4th August - Report: Workington Jnr Comets 27 - Club CH 9
Following the Workington v Edinburgh, Premier League match.

7. Monday 27th August - Report: Rye House 39 - Club CH 51
Full 15 heat Conference League Challenge match.

8. Saturday 15th September - Coventry v Club CH
Following Coventry v Ipswich Elite Lague match.

9. Sunday 14th October - Buxton v Club CH
Full 15 heat Conference League Challenge match.

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Rider Statistics 1999-2001

The following statistics have been calculated for riders who made two or more appearances for Club CH during the 2001 season. A further ten riders made solitary appearances in 2001, led in the averages by Matt Read (v Arena Essex, 11.00); Malcolm Holloway (v Boston, 10.40) and David McAllan (v Boston, 9.33). In that list, Dean Garrod comes next, in 4th place with his season average of 6.77 from four matches.
The 'Fab Four', as they have become known, are listed below in order of average. In the full list of riders for 2001, they appear in order in 4th (Garrod), 6th (Nix), 11th (Meakins) and 12th (Barker).


2001 Season Statistics (Qualification 2 or more matches)

                   Ave     M       P       B       T       R
Dean Garrod        6.77    4      22       0      22      13
David Nix          5.23    4      14       3      17      13
Gordon Meakins     3.20    3       7       1       8      10
Mitch Barker       2.75    5      10       1      11      16

For the first time ever, we also have an unofficial list of all-time Club CH performers. Again, it only includes riders who have made two or more appearances, as a further 20 riders have made solitary appearances some time during the last three seasons.
Leading the way, unsurprisingly, is former Rider of the Year, Mark Steele with a fine 9.43 average from 3 matches. Top of the bunch from the 2001 riders is again Dean Garrod in 12th place with an overall 5.60 average.
Deano also takes joint first in the stakes for most appearances. His 12 matches in CH colours equal the tally of 'The Bouncer', Mitch Barker. And with all those appearances, he takes the honours for most points scored (57) and most rides (45). The prize for most bonus points must be shared at the moment though as Garrod's six are equalled by 'The Welsh Wizard', Gordon Meakins.


Club CH 1999-2001 Rider Statisitics (Qualification 2 or more matches)

                        Ave     M       P       B       T       R
1	Mark STEELE	9.43	3	31	2	33	14
2	S.WOLSTENHOLME	8.67	3	25	1	26	12
3	Steve CAMDEN	7.81	4	41	0	41	21
4	Peter BOAST	7.73	3	28	1	29	15
5	Aidan COLLINS	7.56	2	14	3	17	9
6	Carl WILKINSON	7.38	3	23	1	24	13
7	Derek HARRISON	7.20	2	17	1	18	10
8	Gary PHELPS	7.20	2	16	2	18	10
9	Mark BLACKWELL	6.80	2	15	2	17	10
10	Philip KNOWLES	6.00	5	33	3	36	24
11	Neil PAINTER	5.78	4	22	4	26	18
12	Dean GARROD	5.60	12	57	6	63	45
13	David NIX	5.17	7	26	5	31	24
14	Paul BURNETT	5.09	3	11	3	14	11
15	Elvis JONES	4.57	2	6	2	8	7
16	Luke CLIFTON	4.44	2	9	1	10	9
17	Gordon MEAKINS	4.34	9	32	6	38	35
18	Steve MILDOON	3.43	2	6	0	6	7
19	Mitch BARKER	3.05	12	31	1	32	42
20	Charly KIRTLAND	1.33	2	2	0	2	6
21	Carl DOWNS	0.00	2	0	0	0	7

Key: Ave = Average(CMA), M = Matches, P = Points,
      B = Bonus Points, T = Total Points, R = Total no. of rides.

Disclaimer: the statistics provided are unofficial and calculated solely for use on the Cradley Speedway web site. Any errors will be gladly corrected, should they be found and reported.

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Club CH Revert to Supporters Club in 2002

The outcome of Wednesday night's Annual General Meeting of Club CH was that the club could no longer continue running a junior team representing the Heathens in 2002. Increased costs covering riders insurance and BSPA fees have closed any doors on further track action, following three years of Conference and Youth Development League challenge matches around the country.
Instead, Club CH will revert to a Supporters Social Club for the coming season, organising coach trips to at least half a dozen events, including once again the British Grand Prix in Cardiff. Other suggested, but unconfirmed trips may include Wolverhampton, Somerset, Poole and newly formed Conference club Camarthen, as well as a possible Scottish weekend tour.
More news to follow in due course.

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12th January 2002

GREG FORCED OUT AT COVENTRY


Now co-promoter at Coventry, Colin Pratt has finally made the team building decision seen as one of the biggest of the 2001/02 winter. The new Elite league rules, which limit teams to only one Grand Prix rider over an average of 8.00, forced Pratt into an agonising choice between the two Cradley-owned Americans, Greg Hancock and Billy Hamill. After weeks of negotiations and deliberations, Hamill has been given the nod to lead the team while Hancock now almost certainly faces the reality of at least a year on the sidelines. Greg joined Cradley as a rookie in 1989 and Billy followed a year later, both staying with the Heathens until our enforced closure at the end of 1996. Billy did have one occasion when he could not agree terms, but the spell away lasted less than three months. He has been at Brandon for four seasons, while Greg has spent five with the Bees

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26th January 2002

DALLE SOLD


It seems a long time since Cradley Heath were mentioned in the wheeling and dealing of the Speedway transfer market, but that came to an end this week with the sale of Swede, Dalle Anderson. The former Under-21 international had been an asset of the club since the year at Stoke in 1996, but has struggled to hold down a British League place since the Heathens' closure at the end of '96. After a loan spell with Edinburgh Monarchs last year, he has now joined the Premier League side on a full transfer from Cradley, not as stated in other reports from Coventry.

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9th May 2002

GREG & BILLY SEPERATE GP TEAMS


Cradley Heath darlings Greg Hancock and Billy Hamill begin the new and expanded World Championship Grand Prix series this weekend with both riders embarking on separate new GP 'teams'. The American pair of former champs led the way for Formula1-style teams whilst riding for the Heathens in the mid-nineties when they formed Team Exide as a partnership. The move was a logical step for the charismatic pair who are close friends off-track. This year though, with the Exide deal consigned to past campaigns and Hancock frozen out of British Speedway through rider restriction rules, the boys are each going their own ways. The move is quite significant, given their revolutionary moves to introduce the teams concept in early GP stages, and the idea has now spawned the likes of 'Team Rickardsson', 'Team Nilsen' and 'Team Tatum' to look after and promote the interests of the top riders.
Hancock is teaming up with Britain's own Scott Nicholls under the banner of Team GSR (Global Speedway Racing), backed by Tag Metals and System Edstrom with a distinctive Troy Lee Designs red, white and blue theme. Hamill meanwhile will be dekked in blue and yellow on machines he fine-tuned during Coventry's recent defeat at Wolves. He will be officially launching his new sponsorship package at the weekend when the 10-round GP season opens at Norway's Viking Ship stadium.

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June 2002

Fans Make Welsh Return - From Carmarthen to Cardiff

Cradley fans will be heading to Cardiff's Millennium stadium again this weekend to give the Heathens a continued representation on British Speedway's big day. Last year the Black Country contingent were recognised by both TV cameras and commentator Tony Millard with a huge banner (right). This year could see even more flags and banners to remind the rest of speedway that the Heathens' fight goes on. Supporters who chose to purchase tickets in a block group with Club CH were surprised to find that their selected area was unavailable after massive allocations were given to existing British clubs, and eventually had to move to a more prominent area of the vast stadium, between the first and second bends.
The trip to Cardiff comes less than a month after supporters travelled to newly formed Carmarthen in South Wales to take in the Dragons' Conference League clash against Swindon Sprockets. The club, promoted by former Club CH favourite Gordon Meakins, and his father Nigel, honoured the Cradley fans' presence with a specially arranged second half match. Represented by Mitch Barker, Simon Dyminksi, Tim Healy and David Gough, a Cradley Select side beat Carmarthen in the six-heat match by 19-14. The rain-soaked meeting was prolonged by several delayes and re-runs but buoyed by the traditional presence of the singing Black Country fans. Club CH chipped in with sponsorship of tyres, fuel and oil for all eight participating riders.
So now its back to Wales to join the anticipated 40,000 crowd. Supporters travelling by coach should arrive in time for a 10.00am departure and bring with them their very best garments of red, white and green!

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13th June 2002

SPOT THE FLAG!


Heathens fans took their cause to the Millennium Stadium last weekend for Britain's showpiece Grand Prix event in Cardiff. In an arena littered with flags and banners from clubs and countries everywhere, Cradley Heath were extremely well represented. At least four flags championed the Cradley cause and were picked up by TV cameras broadcasting around the stadium on giant screens as well as on Sky Sports to the viewing public at home and around the world.
The same banner which was picked up last year was again noticed by all, including Peter Oakes writing his Pit Lane articlefor Speedway Star. "You have to admire the spirit and perseverance of those Cradley Heath fans who are still fighting to revive their Black Country club", he writes, "Among the hundreds of banners encircling the stadium were two [he didn't notice the others! -Ed] at virtual opposite ends which proclaimed: Speedway Deserves Cradley and Cradley Heath Speedway Will Never Die". The others were St Georges flags bearing the Cradley name & riders and a Cradley Heathens - We Will Be Back.

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4th July 2002

HERBIE'S BACK


One of Cradley's American darlings Greg Hancock is back in the UK after being appointed as Head Coach for the BSPA-backed National Training Academy. 'Herbie', so harshly treated by the ill-conceived GP rider restriction rule this year, has now set up home in Sweden after 12 years in Britain - since the Heathens originally brought him over from the USA in 1989. He will now be touring England, Scotland and Wales leading the coaching of Elite training camps for British youngsters, aged 15-19. The project is fronted by former rider and Sheffield co-promoter Louis Carr and will focus on all aspects of being a speedway rider from machinery to gating technique and racing tips.

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19th July 2002

HEATHENS!


One of the most unlikeliest headlines for the web site yet is to bring the news that the UK music charts are being taken over... by the Heathens! Alas theres no Cradley Speedway publicity machine behind the occurrence, but two of the biggest names in the music industry have, from some inspiration, decided to give their latest offerings a very familiar ring to the Dudley Wood faithful. Oasis, one of the most publicised bands of modern music and with previous albums going several times platinum, surprised no-one last week when their new album went straight in at Number 1 with the title "Heathen Chemistry". I'm sure you can all relate. But possibly even more amazingly, despite Oasis dipping to number two this week, there is a second album with similar connections sitting pretty in the top twenty. David Bowie, with a massive history of record sales over several decades, has gone even more direct with a current album title of "Heathen". Co-incidence or maybe a double tribute to the greatest speedway team in the world? Who knows! We just couldn't resist it. Either way, believe it or not, they're not the only ones displaying our collective title in the music business. For Peter Foster, author or the new History of Cradley Speedway book, is also a member of a band by the name of - you guessed it - "Heathens"!

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22nd August 2002

CRADLEY RIDERS


Several former Cradley riders have been in action over the last week or so in their respective 2002 National Finals. Niklas Karlsson, who was signed by the Heathens in 1996, came a surprise sixth in the Swedish Final at Grondal last Saturday. He finished just one point behind current World Champion Tony Rickardsson and a couple of places ahead of another former Heathen, 1994 Dudley Wood favourite, Peter Nahlin. Dalle Anderson, who has struggled with injuries this year on his full time return to the British League, failed to score.
Across the pond, the American Championship is being contested over three rounds, culminating at Auburn on September 20th. Billy Hamill won Round 1 without being beaten all night and Greg Hancock finished third. The usually inseparable duo were split by Billy Janniro. Disaster struck in Round 2 though with Hamill suffering a back injury and severe bruising in his penultimate ride. Despite soldiering on to compete in the main final, he now risks missing the next World Championship GP round on August 31st. Greg eventually won the final, leaving him in the overall lead on 36 points with Billy in second just one point behind. At the grand old age of 46, Bobby Schwartz is also still competing in the championships, lying 16th overall.
Meanwhile in the UK, the famous Collins racing brothers will be competing in a special family match race for Neil's testimonial meeting next month. The race will feature Les, Peter, Steve and Neil himself. Steve Collins rode for Cradley from 1984-85 and has long since hung up his leathers while Les joined us for our last season in '96. Missing of course is Dudley Wood superstar Phil, who cannot make the journey back as he is now residing in the USA.

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August 2002

Club CH Making Bank Holiday Trip to Rye House

Supporters group Club CH will be ending their spell of recent inactivity with a visit to Rye House on Bank Holiday Monday, 26th August.
A coach will be running to the Rockets' double header fixture against Stoke and Hull in the Premier League. The event has been chosen partly as a thank you to the Rye House promotion who have been extremely helpful in staging fixtures against a Club CH team for the past two seasons. It also represents excellent value for money with thirty heats of speedway and becomes the first official Club CH trip since the hugely successful British Grand Prix in Cardiff. Last season's trip will be remembered for the Heathens supporters' unique tribute to the deposed home mascot 'Rocketman', when fans imitated the rather simplistic costume of using a cardboard box for head (pictured right).
Anyone wishing to book coach travel can do so by telephoning Margaret Bytheway on 01384 375934 any evening. The coach will depart from the usual location of Cradley Heath Liberal Club in Bank Street, Cradley Heath at 10.00am. Cost of travel to Hoddesdon is 8.00 for adults and 5.00 for children & OAPs.
The club have also announced details of their annual End of Season Disco. It will again take place at Himley Cricket Club on Saturday 16th November, from 8.00pm til late. All members and friends are welcome and more details can be obtained from Margaret on the same telephone number

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19th October 2002

HISTORY OF CRADLEY HEATHENS

Part One of the two books on the History of Cradley Heath Speedway, 'Heathens' by Peter Foster, has continued to sell in superb numbers, exceeding all expectations of it's delighted publishers. Launched just four months ago in June, the title has already required a re-print from the original number produced, and is soon likely to run to a second with a third reprint expected in the new year. Expert speedway publisher Tempus could not have imagined the success that would be brought from a history tale of one of the most popular speedway clubs in the country, and the glory years detailed in Part Two are still yet to come! The book continues to catch the attention of Black Country folk in the area, being sold in several local shops around Cradley Heath. A surprising success has come from bakers, The Cook Shop in Old Hill, shifting more than 25 copies alone! And riders featured in the book & at the launch party, such as 60s stalwart Alan Totney, have found themselves being recognised in the street all over again. So the big question on everyones lips is, when will the final installment be available? Well, with the finishing touches being made, it is expected that Part Two will hit the shops in March of next year, hopefully with an even bigger impact than Part One!
Footnote: We have also been informed by speedway souvenir seller, Dave Rattenbury, of how well the latest design of the Cradley Heath programme board has been selling. Produced this year, with an additional 'Dudley Wood 1947-1995' logo, the new boards have been snapped up at track shops around the country, including besst of all... at Wolverhampton! Dave ordered an initial production run of fifty boards, expecting them to last for a while, but found them all sold out within a fortnight and needing a very quick re-order. He tells us how amazed he is at just how well 'Heathens' souvenirs continue to sell; a measure of course of the tremendous fanatical support enjoyed by our club.

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9th November 2002

Club CH - End of season disco

Supporters group Club CH are holding their Annual End of Season bash at the Himley Cricket Club (on the A449 near Dudley). The event includes a disco & buffet and is being held next Saturday, the 16th November, at 8pm. Everyone is welcome with free admission.

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9th January 2003

CLUB CH MEET


Club CH will be holding their fourth Annual General Meeting this Wednesday, the 15th January, at the now regular venue of Himley Cricket Club. Operating from last year as a travelling supporters club, the committee and members will be deciding on the immediate future direction of Club Cradley Heath. Dedicated fans organised for a Conference-level Heathens team to ride in challenge matches around the country for three seasons from 1999-2001, but soaring costs ruled out a fourth season in 2002.
The meeting also represents fans' last chance to reserve their tickets for the 2003 British Grand Prix, being held at Cardiff's Millennium stadium for the third consecutive year. Cradley supporters have travelled en masse to the showpiece event for the last two years helping to create the terrific atmosphere and add a touch of Heathens red, green and white to the arena. Tickets must be paid for in full on or before next week's AGM. If you would like to reserve your seat in the Cradley Heath Block for this must-see event, you can also do so by phoning Margaret on (01384) 823508 in the next seven days.
Finally, following the tremendous success of Part 1 in Peter Foster's 'Heathens' History of Cradley Heath Speedway, the date has now been confirmed to launch the eagerly-anticipated second installment. The next Book Launch will be taking place on Saturday 1st March 2003 at the same venue of Dudley Wood Methodist Church, just around the corner from the famous track. The book which covers the glory years of 1977-1996 is expected to prove another massive hit with speedway supporters and will be an absolute must-have for all Cradley fans. If you missed the last launch, then make sure you get to this one for the very first copies of the book along with the chance to renew acquaintances with a host of invited former Heathens riders. More details will be published here over the coming weeks.

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19th Jan 2003

Club CH Supporters Club On the Road Again

Club CH, the Heathens Support & Social Club, have announced that they will be arranging Speedway trips for Cradley fans once again during the 2003 season.
The club and its members held a successful AGM last week and decided to continue in the same vein as last year. It is hoped to visit around six different tracks this year, as well as the third annual Millennium Stadium trip for the British Grand Prix in June. A discussion was held regarding a choice of tracks to visit and popular opinion included Rye House, Somerset and Camarthen. No definite dates have been arranged so far, as the league fixtures have not yet been published, but the majority of trips will be planned for Bank Holiday weekends, including those at Good Friday, May Day, Spring Bank and August. This is intended to avoid a late coach return to the Black Country followed by an early start the next day, and should instead afford most people a Monday morning lie-in afterwards! Further suggestions were to incorporate day trips along with a speedway meeting, such as Workington/Lake District, Reading/Windsor, Newcastle/Whitley Bay and Eastbourne/Brighton. Another possibility is a top grasstrack meeting at some point during the season.
Members will be contacted by letter when more details have been finalised. All Heathens fans are welcome to take in any of the trips, either by taking the coach from Cradley Heath or by joining fellow supporters at the venues. Further discussion and suggestions can be voiced by visiting the relevant thread on the Fans Forum and any more details will appear here when confirmed.

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21st February 2003

BILLY QUITS GP


Long serving former Heathen and ex-World Champion Billy Hamill has caused an international sensation by quitting the 2003 Grand Prix Series before a wheel has been turned!
Hamill, still rated as one of the most popular riders on the British and World circuit by many Cradley fans today announced that he could not afford to compete in this years World Championship, despite finishing in the top ten automatic qualifying spots last season. The 'Bullet' also hinted that he may end his racing career completely, depending on his enjoyment of the forthcoming domestic season.
The news has already sent ripples around the Grand Prix scene and highlights the tough financial implications of competing at even the very top level of the sport, and is now sure to shock Billy's supporters and admirers from his hugely successful days with Cradley Heath.

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2nd April 2003

Club CH Plan Eight Trips For 2003

Travelling Club CH supporters will have the chance to join any of eight organised trips this season, the committee have announced. Members should have received notification in the post by now with details of all the planned trips to speedway and grasstrack meetings during 2003.
Top of the list is a long-awaited trip to Sheffield on Good Friday later this month, followed by Premier League trips in May to see Newcastle take on Kings Lynn and Reading host Stoke. Further down the calendar is the annual British Grand Prix day out at Cardiff in June and a first for the club with a Grasstrack event in Tonbridge, Kent. As previously decided, each trip will be combined with additional activities or places of interest including Meadowhall Shopping Centre (Sheffield) and Whitley Bay (Newcastle).
The trips provide Cradley fans with the only real opportunities to meet up with each other, reminisce and at the same time do what we all love best and take in a speedway match. Places can be booked on any trip by telephoning Margaret Hardiman on 01384 375934. The following prices apply for all trips, excluding Cardiff: All coach prices 10.00 Adult & 6.00 Child /OAP. Furthermore, members are entitled to as many free trips in 2003 as they paid for in 2002. So, if you travelled on the Club CH coach to four matches last year, you get four trips free this year! Regular travellers are therefore rewarded at the same time as keeping costs extremely low. However, trips will only run based on a minimum of 25 people, and will all depart from Cradley Heath Liberal Club in Bank Street, Cradley Heath. Parking will also be available for all trips except Cardiff.
A final reminder from the committee is that club membership is now due for renewal at a bargain price of just 1.00 per person to cover administration costs. Keep an eye on the web site for all future details and reminders throughout the season. Full trip details as follows:

Friday 18th April (Good Friday)
Sheffield v Stoke (British League Cup)
Depart 12.00pm including afternoon trip to Meadowhall Shopping Centre

Sunday 4th May
Newcastle v King's Lynn (Premier League)
Depart 9.00am including afternoon trip to Whitley Bay

Sunday 18th May
Sittingbourne - Festival of Speed (inc Club CH)
Depart 10.00am for start time 2.30pm. Coach price 10.00

Monday 26th May
Reading v Stoke (Premier League) (Cancelled)
Depart 12.00pm including afternoon mystery trip

Saturday 14th June
British Grand Prix - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Depart 10.00am. Coach price 15.00 adult, 10.00 Child / OAP - All pay

Saturday 5th July
Championship of Great Britain - Eastbourne
Departure time to be confirmed

Sunday 3rd August
Carmarthen v Peterborough (Conference League)
Depart 9.30am including lunch at rugby club

Sunday 24th August
British Round, World Longtrack / Grasstrack Grand Prix - Tonbridge, Kent
Depart 9.00am

Saturday 24th September
Rye House v Arena Essex (Premier League)
Depart 12.00pm - afternoon trip to be confirmed

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18th May 2003

Club CH Team Back on Track at Sittingbourne!

Cradley Heath fans have been handed an unexpected chance to see a Heathens team back in action in 2003 as Club CH have announced the reformation of an on-track team to compete in Sittingbourne's forthcoming Festival of Speed meeting.

The meeting, which takes place on Sunday 1st June at the Iwade venue in Kent features six current non-league and homeless Speedway teams, many of which are embroiled in similar battles to Cradley Heath, see their clubs make a full-time return to professional racing. Club CH have agreed to take part in the event, despite shutting down their team operation at the end of 2001 due to spiralling costs at amateur level and still no home track.

Six clubs will compete over two three-team tournaments, with the winners and best runners-up qualifying for a grand final tournament. Other definite starters are hosts Sittingbourne, plus Lydd/Romney, Weymouth and Norwich, with Hackney expected to confirm soon. In total, it adds up to a fantastic 27 heats of Speedway at superb value for money with admission prices set at just 6.00 for adults, 3.00 for OAP's and with children admitted free. Furthermore, it seems certain to be the only chance fans will get to see a team representing Cradley Heath on track this season, and the first time anywhere since September 2001.

A coach will be running to the meeting as usual, departing from the usual starting point of Cradley Heath Liberal Club at 10:00am for a meeting start time of 2:30pm. Coach travel costs only 10 per seat with Club CH aiming to provide the biggest support of all teams on the day. Places can be booked for the journey by telephoning Margaret Hardiman on 01384 823508 (please note this correction to the number previously advertised on the website). Also note, due to this extra meeting, the bank holiday trip to Reading will not now be taking place.

Meanwhile, Club CH have entirely filled their first coach and now have just a few places available on their second coach to Cardiff for the British Grand Prix on Saturday 14th June. The cost of the journey for this showpiece annual trip is 15.00 with a departure time of 10:00am to allow plenty of time to soak up the unique atmosphere of the day around the Welsh city centre. Anyone interested should again contact Margaret on the number above.

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17th Aug 2003

Club CH Round Up

Teams bearing the famous Cradley Heath name have featured in two recent meetings at Sittingbourne, with some good performances to keep the Heathens flag flying.

A Club Cradley Heath quartet contended the Festival of Speed tournament event in June, as originally reported here, and the riders were cheered to  second place in their semi-final.  Led by Dave Chadburn and Jon Stevens, the Heathens only missed out on a place in the Final as best runners-up by a single point.  James Theobald and David Baker made up the team's borrowed riders and the Club CH supporters club took a healthy coachload of fans to fill the backstraight at the Iwade venue.

An unofficial Cradley Heath pair then lined up in a Best Pairs Championship at the same track at the end of July, winning their group and semi-final, before claiming overall second place after missing out to a Hackney pair in the final.  Riders represented a host of other defunct clubs including Leicester, Bristol, Scunthorpe and Norwich.

Forthcoming action is a David Nix Memorial Meeting, a Speedtrack event to be held near Skegness on Sunday 24th August. Popular Club CH rider Nix was tragically killed last May in a track accident at Kings Lynn.  The meeting, which starts at 1:00pm, is being staged by Wainfleet Motorcycle Club at Thorpe St. Peter and features both speedway and sidecar riders.  We are also awaiting confirmation of any other scheduled Club CH coach trips in 2003 and a possible Speedway Memorial Meeting to be held at Oxford later in the year.

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29th Aug 2003

David Nix Memorial Meetings

Oxford Speedway will be staging a Memorial Meeting for David Nix on Wednesday 15th October.  The meeting at Cowley is likely to be a Conference League individual meeting to honour the memory of the former Club CH rider who was tragically killed last year in a track crash at Kings Lynn.

The recent Grasstrack Memorial event for Nixy held near Skegness, was won by Jason Bunyan, ahead of Jason Handley, Richard Hall and Ricky Scarboro.

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7th Sept 2003

Club CH Travel to Remember Nixy

Club CH have announced coach travel to the David Nix Memorial Meeting at Oxford's Cowley Stadium next month.  The event has been arranged for Wednesday 15th October and the Heathens coach is scheduled to leave Bank Street, Cradley Heath at 5:30pm.  The club acknowledges that midweek fixtures are not easy for many fans to attend, but obviously a special case is being made in order to remember the popular former Club CH rider who was tragically killed in a track crash last season.  The trip has replaced the previously planned visit to Rye House on the 20th September, but still relies on sufficient numbers to make the journey viable.

Anyone wishing to book places on the coach should telephone Margaret Bytheway on 01384 375934 and chairman Ian Shelton is hoping Cradley fans will make the effort to pay their tributes.  Club CH have sponsored a race at the meeting and will be hoping to see plenty of red, green and white on the terraces as Nixy himself would have appreciated.  We have also been informed that many of the riders invited to the event also rode alongside Dave in Club CH colours, including Carl Wilkinson, Deano Garrod, Luke Clifton and Gordon Meakins. Also anticipated in the line-up are top youngsters Joe Cook, Barrie Evans, James Brundle, Jamie Robertson, Chris Mills, Chris Schramm and Craig Branney (all to be confirmed).

Finally, the Club CH End of Season Disco has been confirmed for Saturday 29th November at 8:00pm.  This will once again take place at Himley Cricket Club and admission is Free to all members and former members.

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16th Oct 2003

David Nix Memorial Meeting

David Nix was remembered by speedway colleagues and fans at Oxford's Cowley Stadium last night with a Conference League Memorial Meeting won by Newcastle's Craig Branney.  Around 25 Cradley supporters made the midweek journey on a cold evening to join a crowd of approximately 250.

Every heat was sponsored with Club CH donating the prize for the second race, which was won by Chris Schramm.  The Oxford youngster went on to record a five ride maximum in the qualifying heats before being defeated in the grand final by both Branney and Jamie Robertson.  Ritchie Hawkins was a faller in the first staging of the re-run final race.

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16th November 2003

Bruce and Bobby Indoors


Cradley legends Bobby Schwartz and Bruce Penhall will both be sensationally racing in separate indoor meetings in the UK this Winter.
Schwartz will be in action once again at the Brighton Indoor Bonanza on Sunday December 14th after just completing 30 years in speedway.  Earlier this month, 'Boogaloo' was presented with a commemorative album celebrating his long and distinguished career, which featured photos and memories, including an accolade provided by this web site.  He will be defending his Brighton Pairs title with fellow American Shawn McConnell.
Meanwhile, one of the Heathens biggest stars of all, Penhall has created a huge speedway story by agreeing to ride in a series of match races at the Telford Indoor Ice Event on Sunday February 15th.  The double-world champion will be flying into Britain for the weekend and also appearing at 'An Evening with Bruce Penhall' on the night before the meeting.  Further details on tickets will be revealed EXCLUSIVELY here to Cradley Heath fans first.  Bruce spoke to us at the website last week and says that he has already started training to get into shape, and is thinking over an offer to ride in some demonstration races against our very own Billy Hamill at the US Under 21 Championships next weekend.  We will have more news from Bruce and the promoters of Telford Indoor Ice over the forthcoming weeks and interest in the weekend events has already increased in mammoth proportions.

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21st November 2003

AN EVENING WITH BRUCE PENHALL


Details have been confirmed for 'An Evening with Bruce Penhall', to take place on Saturday February 14th, the night before Penhall's appearance in the Telford Indoor Ice International.  The event is being staged at the Telford Moat House hotel, just off the M54 and will feature a Question and Answer session, as well as autograph signing and memorabilia stalls.  Ticket news is being announced here first, in order to give Cradley Heath fans first priority on booking for the strictly limited amount of seats.  The tickets, costing 10 each, can be purchased by contacting the Telford Ice organisers on (01691) 777051.  The evening is due to being at 7:30pm, for a 8:00pm start.  More details still to be announced will also appear here first as soon as it is confirmed.

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23rd Nov 2003

End of Season Disco This Weekend

The Club CH supporters organisation hold their End of Season Disco this weekend.  The event takes place on Saturday November 29th at Himley Cricket Club, located just off the A449.  Getting underway at 8pm, the disco is FREE to all supporters and everyone is welcome.  The club have enjoyed several speedway matches this year, including the popular annual trip to Cardiff for the British Grand Prix and organised travel to the David Nix Memorial Meeting at Oxford last month.  The work behind the scenes by the Club CH committee is a big factor in keeping interest alive amongst Cradley Heath fans, waiting patiently for developments in the ongoing search for a new site.  Get yourself along to Himley on Saturday night to meet up with plenty of Heathens; a chance to drink, dance and debate, putting the rest of the speedway world to rights as only a Cradley supporter can.

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