A Tragic Season
What started out as another troubled season on the track, eventually turned into a year of terrible tragedy for everyone associated with the Heathens.
in personnel, petty squabbles and poor form were all overshadowed by the
death of emerging youngster Ivor Hughes in August. Welshman Hughes had
been one of few bright spots after breaking into the team during the
previous season and assisted by a new ESO motorcycle he had improved week
on week during the Spring and early Summer.
had been a couple of surprise team changes as the season began. Johnny
Hart and George Major both left for
spirits low and team form floundering, Ted Flanaghan took over mid-season as
speedway manager with Roy Moreton stepping down due to work commitments.
Alan Martin was stadium manager and the new pairing at the helm allegedly
tried to halt the Heathens slide with approaches to past and present World
Champions Ronnie Moore and Bjorn Knutsson. Neither came to any fruition.
the end, the only major signing was the late, late arrival of the highly
rated Tommy Bergqvist for just two matches in October. By that point, the
tragedy of Ivor Hughes track crash had struck and left everyone’s minds
far away from points and performances. He became
the only rider to lose his life in track action for Cradley Heath. The
club's bottom place finish in the league paled into insignificance against
one of the saddest events in the Heathens up and down history.
Riders Performance Chart
'The Heathens' 1966
statistics taken from the Cradley Speedway database for BL matches only.
Final League Table
20th August in heat 13 of the match against Sheffield Ivor Hughes crashed
and received injuries that sadly took his life.
Known to Heathens supporters as The Welsh Wizard, Ivor was just reaching the pinnacle of his career.
Thanks to Brian Buck for the photo