Club CH Archive  2004 - 2007

Club CH Archive 1999-2000

Club CH Archive 2001-2003

12th Jan 2004

 Club CH Annual General Meeting (Wed 21st Jan 2004)

The Annual General Meeting of Club CH will take place on Wednesday 21st January at Himley Cricket Club.  Proceedings start at 8:00pm and all Heathens fans are welcome to attend.  Club Cradley Heath was the organisation behind the Conference level Heathens team which operated between 1999 - 2001.  For the last two seasons, members have reverted to a Supporters Club and coaches have been organised to a variety of speedway events across the country, including the British Grand Prix at Cardiff.  Crucial decisions must now be made as to the future direction of the club, as fans face up to the first full year since Barratts began the redevelopment of the former Dudley Wood Stadium, and the eighth season without a professional league side.  Meanwhile, the club and propsective promoters continue the so far fruitless search for a new home.

12th January 2004


Exclusively revealed to Cradley fans first yet again comes the announcement that Bobby Schwartz will be joining his former Heathens and US team-mate Bruce Penhall at the Telford Ice International meetings next month.  'Boogaloo', who rode at Dudley Wood in 1979 but still ranks his time with the club as one of the greatest parts of his 30-year career, will ride in both main ice meetings, for the Rest of the World Select in the afternoon and in the individual event during the evening.
Schwartz contacted the Telford promoters to express his desire to be a part of what he anticipates will be 'an emotional night'.  Penhall has revealed that his appearance will be the last time he will ever ride again in Europe, and both riders are eagerly looking forward to meeting up with many old Cradley supporters.

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22nd January 2004


Following hot on the heels of the announcement that both Bruce Penhall and Bobby Schwartz would be riding at the Telford Ice International events in 2004, comes the exciting news that another Cradley hero, former promoter Dan McCormick, will also be appearing over the weekend.  McCormick will be present at the Question and Answer session, 'An Evening with Bruce Penhall' at Telford's Moat House Hotel on Saturday 14th February.
The flamboyant Scotsman retains pride of place in Heathens folklore as the man who transformed the club into one of the most exciting and entertaining teams in the British League.  Responsible for bringing Penhall & Schwartz to Dudley Wood, he also introduced Erik Gundersen and signed both Alan Grahame and Phil Collins amongst many other signings.  Never short of a story or three, McCormick can still capture the attention and the imagination of any speedway supporter and adds to what is now a truly fantastic weekend of nostalgia for Cradley fans.
Tickets for Saturday nights event, priced at 10 each, can be obtained by sending a SAE to World Indoor Ice, 27 Upper Chirk Bank, Chirk, Wrexham, LI14 5EB.  Special hotel rates can also be obtained this way at 56 per double room or 41 for a single.  Bookings must be made through World Indoor Ice (Tel: 01691 777051).  Tickets for the Telford Ice Speedway on Sunday 15th February can be obtained via the credit card hotline on (01952) 291511, or by post at the above address.  For more details email: or see the website
Another exclusive announcement concerning Bruce Penhall will be available here very soon.  You won't want to miss it.

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11th May 2004

Club CH Quiz Night (Wed 19th May 2004)

Club CH, now operating as a Cradley Heath Speedway Supporters Club, are holding a Quiz Night on Wednesday 19th May at regular venue, Himley Cricket Club.  The event starts at 8pm and is open to all, members and non-members.  Teams entering the quiz competition should consist of a maximum of five people, with a cost of 1.00 per person.  Expect questions on General Knowledge, Music, Sport and who knows, maybe a little Speedway!

9th June 2004


Billy Hamill will be launching his new biography with two very special book signings in June.  The book will be officially launched at the British Grand Prix in Cardiff, where he will also be signing copies, and he has also scheduled a personal appearance in Cradley Heath specifically to catch up with Heathens fans.  You can meet Billy and purchase signed copies of 'No Bull' at The Victoria pub on Dudley Wood Road from 2:00pm on Saturday 26th June 2004.  Looking back on his time, he said of his years with the club, "Cradley has a special place in my heart, the fans lived it and they were doing every lap with you".
Written with author Brian Burford and published by Tempus, 'No Bull' tells the story of Hamill's life and career, from his childhood years growing up in the horse racing industry to superstar status as World Speedway Champion in 1996.  Described as 'straight-talking, hard hitting and honest', you can read the Bullet's views on the crash that left him with a broken back in 1998, the real reason behind his decision to quit the Grand Prix, his love of Cradley Heath, the Kenny Roberts deal and the struggle to make it to the top.
The 1996 World Champion and former Cradley number one, who was involved in a controversial clash and subsequent scuffle with Bjarne Pedersen in Sweden this week, will also be Sky Sports' TV studio guest for the British GP on Saturday night.  The book is available from this weekend at 19.99 in hardback.

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21st November 2004


The Club CH End of Season Disco has been confirmed for this Saturday, 27th November, at Himley Cricket Club, starting at 8:00pm.  The annual bash includes a complimentary buffet and Heathens supporters are welcome to attend with free admission to all.  A further date for the calendar has been set with the AGM scheduled to take place on Wednesday 26th January 2005 at the same venue.
The committee would like to thank all the people who have travelled with the club this year, always being good see 'old faces' and some new ones.  The season was drawn to a close with the David Nix Memorial Meeting on the 27th October 2004 at Kings Lynn, where Club CH sponsored one of the races.

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23rd December 2004


Wednesday 29th December 2004: Video Night at The Swan, Foxoak Street, Cradley Heath. Starts 8pm.  Food available, plus new Cradley Heathens 2005 calendar on sale

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3rd September 2005

Don Prettijohn and Mark Steel

We are sad to report that former Cradley rider Don Prettijohn passed away recently in his native Australia. 
Prettijohn rode for the Heathens during the two seasons of 1951 and 52, before the temporary closure of Dudley Wood, amassing 21 appearances in total.  He began his career in 1948 and only hung up his leathers for the final time 23 years later in 1971.

Prettijohn travelled to the UK in March 1951, alongside the likes of Aub Lawson, and Cliff Watson for his first season of British racing.  After his time at Cradley he moved on to St Austell for a short stint and one of the highlights of his racing career was a third place finish in the 1961-62 Victoria Championship at Mildura, behind Jack Scott and Neil Street.
Away from speedway, he went on to become a scientist who worked at the Weapons Research Establishment.  He died on 14th August 2005, aged 77, and is survived by wife Jean, children Kaye, Bill and Peter, and four grandchildren.
Meanwhile, followers of the amateur Club Cradley Heath setup from 199-2001 will be shocked by news about former rider of the year Mark Steel The youngster who went on to ride in the Premier League for Swindon is missing, presumed dead, after diving off the coast of Dorset last month.  The 22-year old was said to be a relatively experienced diver.  He started out in speedway as mascot for Coventry in the 1990s but hit the headlines for Club CH with a fantastic 18 point maximum in the John Buckley Cup at Kings Lynn in 1999. His previous meeting for the amateur Heathens was the Dudley-Wolves Trophy at Monmore Green when he became a true fans' favourite.  He was voted Club CH rider of the year and etched his name into the record books as the highest averaging Club CH rider.  He also rode for Buxton, Boston and Swindon Sprockets in the Conference League, and turned out for Young England in a test series against Young Australia.
Our thoughts are with the families of both riders, lost at opposite ends of their speedway careers.

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30th October 2005


Last night, Club CH staged the 'Spirit of '95' evening at Dudley Sports and Social Club. The event was a great success with all tickets being sold out months in advance.  It marked the 10th anniversary of the last ever speedway action at Dudley Wood, the challenge match between Greg Hancock and Billy Hamill Selects. As well as music from 1995 and a big screen DVD of the best Heathens moments from the season, there was a special appearance from John Wilson, the rider who made his Cradley debut in that year. Apologies were sent from several other team members including Simon Cross, who is now based in France, Jonathan Forsgren in Sweden and Scott Smith who was attending Berwick's End of Season Presentation Night.  Club CH would like to thank everyone who attended for making a very enjoyable night.

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13th January 2006

Club CH AGM Report: Friday 13th January 2006

The Club CH Supporters Club AGM was attended by around sixty people at Cradley Heath Labour Club last night. The evening included a summary of last seasons events, plans for the forthcoming year and an update on the site search from Bob Edwards.
Last season, Club CH ran relatively well-attended coach trips to Peterborough, Exeter and Scunthorpe. Although a coach also ran to Oxford on a Thursday night, it did not attract the anticipated interest. The most successful excursion as usual was the now annual pilgrimage to the Grand Prix at Cardiff. Video nights for the other Grands Prix did not attract sufficient interest to continue.
The British GP will once again be the highlight of the planned trips for 2006 with tickets being purchased at the same price level as last year. Coach travel is expected to be 15 (subject to confirmation). Definite fixtures were not yet known for the domestic calendar this season, but suggested dates for supporters trips are Sundays 9th April, 2nd July and 23rd July, plus Bank Holiday Mondays in May and August. Possible venues and destinations discussed include Mildenhall, Reading (incporporating Windsor), Weymouth (if they run this year) and Sean Wilson's Testimonial at Sheffield.
Club CH now has around 110 paid-up members and the membership fee has been increased to 2.00 this year. The only committee change was the appointment of Tim Green to replace Sophie Hill. A special mention was reserved for the late Mark Steel, who tragically died last year. Enock paid tribute to the former Club CH rider and particularly applauded his attitude when racing for the Heathens, adding that the club had spoken to Mark's family and that he would be very fondly remembered.
The site search update included statistics that around sixty sites had been identified over the last six months, options remain on 11 of them and around 8 have realistic or encouraging possibilities that can be taken forward. The list of un-named sites include land in both Sandwell and Dudley, comprising an oil depot, a chemical works, other industrial sites, green belt land, a football pitch, a waste site and an extraction works.

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10th March 2006


Club CH are inviting all supporters to the first social evening on the 2006 calendar this month with a Quiz Night at Cradley Heath Labour Club. The event takes place on Friday 17th March with an 8pm start. The quiz takes the format of trivia questions and teams of up to five people are welcome, comprising either members or non-members. There will also be an update on the 2006 speedway trips planned by Club CH and Bob Edwards is expected to give more details on current situation of the ongoing site search.

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11th April 2006


Club CH Have announced dates for 2006, the season started with a Quiz Night on 17th March which was a great success with 10 teams taking part, Bob Edwards gave an update of the land search which was well received. Another Quiz Night will be arranged later on in the year.

The following coach trips have been booked:
Monday 1st May - Rye House v Newport - depart 10,00am.
Sunday 2nd July - Mildenhall v Redcar - depart 11.00am.
Monday 28th August - Reading v Belle Vue - depart TBA.
Sunday 24th September - Sheffield, Premier League Riders Final - depart TBA

Coach fares remain at 12.00 adults, children/OAPs 6.00 any changes or updates of times can be found here on the web-site.
Coach places for The British Grand Prix at the Millenium Stadium Cardiff are still available at 15.00 adults and 10.00 for children.

The End of Season Disco will be at Cradley Heath Labour Club on Friday 17th November at 8.00pm

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5th March 2007

To kick off the New Year the AGM will be held at Cradley Heath Labour Club, Graingers Lane, Cradley Heath
on Thursday 8th March 2007 at 7.45pm
. The first part of the evening will be taken by the AGM, Club CH business then followed by a mini-quiz.

To be discussed at the AGM -
Finance - membership fees, coach fees
Re-Election of Committee
Trips - ideas for coach trips with suggested dates so far - Good Friday 6th April - Bank Holiday Monday 27th August, another one to be decided upon when fixtures are known - End of Season Disco.  Any other business - Future of Club CH.

Once again we will be making our annual coach trip to Cardiff for the British Grand Prix at the Millennium Stadium on June 30th 2007.
For more information please contact Ian or Margaret

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13th July 2006


The fourth David Nix Memorial Speedway meeting, to be held on Friday 29 September at King’s Lynn’s Saddlebow Arena, will, this year, link up with local BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s Gold Appeal. Committed to raising funds for children’s charities, the organisers of the now annual event will donate all profits towards the appeal, which will send siblings of disabled children and other “young heroes” to see the real Father Christmas in Lapland.

Another exciting line-up is in prospect with current holder and David’s cousin, Darren Mallett (Boston Barracuda Braves), a confirmed rider. Other confirmed riders are Adam Roynon (Buxton), Jonathan Bethell (Buxton), Richie Dennis (Scunthorpe), Barry Burchatt (Rye House), James Purchase (Mildenhall), Karl Mason (Newport), Karlis Ezergallis (Newport) and Ben Barker (Stoke).

To ensure maximum funds can be donated to BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s Gold Appeal, sponsors are sought for each of the heats, the semi-final and final. Companies or individuals who wish to advertise in the programme, regarded as a collector’s item, are also welcome. For further information on sponsorship and/or advertising, please contact Patrick Nix on 07946 344096.

BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s Gold Appeal is hoping to take 100 “Child Heroes” to see the real Father Christmas.
Two years ago the station raised more than 100,000 and took 100 seriously ill and severely handicapped children to meet Santa in Lapland. When the Trustees met the families of the children they realised that often they have a sibling who can be overlooked because of all the care and attention that has to be given to their sick brother or sister.
So now the Gold Charity’s Trustees want to build on the success of the 2004 appeal and raise a similar amount to fly these children to Lapland, along with
other “young heroes” – children who have been very brave or who care for a parent or grandparent and deserve a special treat.
David Nix died while racing for King’s Lynn at the home track on 1 May 2002 when he was just 25 years old. Born and raised in Boston, he and his father Patrick were a familiar sight at Conference League meetings across the country.
Patrick Nix still attends meetings regularly at King’s Lynn as an official for Boston Barracuda Braves and on other occasions acting as mechanic for Carl Wilkinson, one of this season’s most exciting Premier League riders and who used to compete with David.
Since 2003 an individual challenge for invited Conference League speedway riders has been held in David’s memory each season, with all profits benefiting a children’s charity. To date, over 4,000 has been raised.

For further information on the David Nix Memorial Fund contact Patrick Nix on 07946 344096

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21st August 2006


Club CH have again sponsored a heat in the David Nix Memorial Meeting on 29th September at Kings Lynn. David has a special place in the hearts of all Club CH supporters. 

The Bank Holiday trip to Reading has been cancelled. 

The next meeting to be arranged will be to Sheffield on 24th September 2006 for the Premier League Riders Championship, the time yet to be confirmed but subject to enough people traveling with the club the coach will leave Cradley Heath Labour Club four hours before the start of the meeting. Check with Ian - 01384 459316, Margaret - 01384 375934 or Butch for booking arrangements.

Finally the End of Season Disco will be held on Friday 17th November 2006 at Cradley Heath Labour Club at 8.00pm, there will be a light buffet.  Entrance will be free (a raffle will be held towards cost).

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30th September 2006


Nathan Irwin, who rides for Boston, overcame a poor start to last Friday's David Nix Memorial Meeting to battle his way through to the final and win the coveted trophy in fine style at the Norfolk Arena in King’s Lynn.

The individual speedway meeting, held in memory of David Nix, lived up to its expectations and while most of the UK suffered tremendous storms and heavy rain, Norfolk Arena miraculously stayed dry and the enthusiastic crowd enjoyed a full evening of exciting racing. Nathan, who finished last in his first heat, put that disappointment behind him and made his way into the semi-final, which he won after two re-runs, and then sprinted away in the final to cross the line ahead of Mark Jones and James Birkinshaw who had both dominated the meeting up to then. 

Last year’s winner, Darren Mallett, nearly lost his chance to appear in the final. In the first re-run of the semi he was leading well when the race was halted due to a clash between Mark Thompson and Danny Betson. Thompson was excluded from the second re-run and Mallett trailed in third with only the first two qualifying for the final when, dramatically on the last bend, Betson’s machine failed and Mallett flew past to take the last slot. However, the other three finalists were too quick and Mallett had to be content with fourth place.

Full result:

Heat 1. D Betson, B Burchatt, P Burnett, J Bethell (r) 65.1
Heat 2. D Mallett, A Bargh, K Ezergalis, N Irwin 63.2
Heat 3. M Thompson, B Compton, R Dennis, J Lamb 63.4
Heat 4. J Birkinshaw, M Jones, J Purchase, K Mason 63.3
Heat 5. M Thompson, A Bargh, J Bethell, K Mason 62.9
Heat 6. D Betson, J Birkinshaw, K Ezergalis, J Lamb 63.8
Heat 7. M Jones, D Mallett, P Burnett, R Dennis (f) 63.8
Heat 8. B Compton, N Irwin, B Burchatt, J Purchase 63.9
Heat 9. J Bethell, K Ezergalis, S Lambert (res), J Purchase 64.8
Heat 10. M Jones, D Betson, B Compton, A Bargh (r) 63.5
Heat 11. J Birkinshaw, N Irwin, M Thompson, P Burnett 63.7
Heat 12. D Mallett, B Burchatt, K Mason, J Lamb 64.8
Heat 13. J Burkinshaw, D Mallett, B Compton, J Bethell 64.3
Heat 14. N Irwin, D Betson, R Dennis, K Mason (r) 64.2
Heat 15. A Bargh, J Purchase, P Burnett, J Lamb 64.7
Heat 16. M Jones, K Ezergalis, B Burchatt, M Thompson 64.2
Heat 17. N Irwin, M Jones, J Bethell, J Lamb 64.8
Heat 18. M Thompson, D Betson, D Mallett, J Purchase 64.6
Heat 19. B Compton, K Ezergalis, K Mason, P Burnett 64.7
Heat 20. J Birkinshaw, R Dennis, A Bargh, W Dunworth (res) 65.3

Semi-Final. N Irwin, D Mallett, D Betson (r), M Thompson (ex) 65.4

Final. N Irwin, M Jones, J Birkinshaw, D Mallett 64.9

(r) = engine failure or retired, (f) = fell, (ex) = excluded, (res) = reserve rider

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20th October 2006



The 2006 David Nix Memorial Speedway Meeting, held on 29 September at the King’s Lynn Norfolk Arena, has raised over 1,400 for BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s Gold Appeal. Nearly 400 spectators enjoyed an evening of top class Conference League Speedway with 16 riders vying for the coveted David Nix Trophy, won this year by Nathan Irwin who rides for the Boston Barracuda Braves.


Since David’s death, while riding at the Norfolk Arena in 2002, his father Patrick has organised an annual memorial meeting raising funds for children’s charities, this year benefiting the local radio station’s charitable trust, set up to send children to see the real Father Christmas in Lapland.


Patrick said: “I would like to thank all the riders that took part and everyone who helped, either by sponsoring heats, giving their time, volunteering, spectating or by donating prizes for the raffle, for making the evening yet another success.”


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2nd March 2007


To kick off the New Year the AGM will be held at Cradley Heath Labour Club, Graingers Lane, Cradley Heath
on Thursday 8th March 2007 at 7.45pm
. The first part of the evening will be taken by the AGM, Club CH business then followed by a mini-quiz.

To be discussed at the AGM -
Finance - membership fees, coach fees
Re-Election of Committee
Trips - ideas for coach trips with suggested dates so far - Good Friday 6th April - Bank Holiday Monday 27th August, another one to be decided upon when fixtures are known - End of Season Disco.  Any other business - Future of Club CH.

Once again we will be making our annual coach trip to Cardiff for the British Grand Prix at the Millennium Stadium on June 30th 2007.
For more information please contact Ian or Margaret

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September 2007



Club CH have announced plans for the remaining trips and events for the 2007 season. A coach will run to the Premier League Riders Final at Swindon on 30th September, as long as there are at least 25 people travelling. The coach will leave from outside Cradley Heath Labour Club, Graingers Lane 3 hours prior to the meeting start time. The official start time is as yet to be confirmed. Anyone wishing to travel with the Heathens supporters coach should contact either Ian on 07988 479087 or Margaret on 01384 375934, no later than 15th September.

The club are also considering running a coach to the indoor meeting at Brighton on Sunday 9th December2007. If there is enough interest the plan would be to attend just the afternoon meeting. Departure time would be 9am and once again, anyone wishing to join this trip should contact Ian on or Margaret to register their interest.

The annual End of Season Disco has also been arranged. The date for your diaries is Friday 23rd November at Cradley Heath Labour Club. From 8:00 til late, there will be a light buffet, free admission and everyone is welcome.

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1st July 2008


"An E.G.M. is to be held at Cradley Heath Labour Club, Graingers Lane on Wednesday 23rd July 2008 at 8.00pm.

This meeting will strictly be Club CH members.
As discussed at the A.G.M. it was asked of the floor, if anyone was prepared to carry forward Club CH, as the Club had taken it as far as they could. As of present no firm interest from any parties as been received.
 Any members or non members interested, please contact either Ian 07988479087 or Margaret 07712951653 by 30th June, to set up a meeting before the E.G.M."

Club CH Archive 1999 - 2000  Club CH Archive 2001 - 2003

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