Cradley Heath Riders Reunion, 6th November 1999
Months of hard work and organisation finally came to fruition on this very special night to commemorate 50+ years of one of the biggest and most famous speedway clubs in the world. Around fifty riders and over 300 fans were brought back together for quite an emotional event that also included a rolling video of Heathens memories, the display of a 1947 JAP machine, souvenirs from the present era and collectables from days gone by, plus of course the obligatory hot pork sandwich stall!
Click on the thumbnails below to see the full size snaps!
Riders were interviewed individually by organiser Andrew McCarter and an essential photocall brought all present riders together for a very unique picture. Many riders expressed an overwhelming feeling at being surrounded by so many old faces and so many committed supporters.
Les and Jim Tolley, who rode for the club between 1949 and 52 were interviewed together and were among several members present from the teams of the 40s and 50s. Amongst the 60s contingent were George Bewley, Stan Stevens, Johnny Edwards and the legendary Ivor Brown, plus the entire squad from the 1961 season.
70s riders included Barry Duke, Mike Gardner, Arthur Price and Bruce Cribb and from the 80s was John Hack, Derek Harrison, Simon Cross, Steve Collins and of course the Grahame brothers. The 90s were not left out though, with welcome appearances from Dave Clarke, John Wilson and indeed 1997 world champ, Greg Hancock.
Amongst the other guests were ex-promoters Morris Jephcott and Dan McCormick, team manager Bob Wasley and more recent club directors Alf Swingewood and Tim Rowe.
A lot of riders were lost for words, while others delivered some very moving speeches. Perhaps unsurprsingly, the most profound speaker of the night was the unforgettable Dan McCormick, who happily took the microphone and told the appreciative crowd how his time with Cradley Speedway remains the most enjoyable experience of his life. Everyone had stories to tell, and none more so than 'Dan the man'. Races were relived and memories shared in a most remarkable night for one of the most remarkable clubs in the history of speedway.