Author Topic: Day the Brummies raced a home match 175 miles away!!  (Read 499 times)

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Offline Brian Buck

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Day the Brummies raced a home match 175 miles away!!
« on: March 05, 2017, 11:58:42 AM »
Whilst doing a bit of research for next season's programme notes, I stumbled on the surprising fact that the Brummies once raced a HOME National League fixture on a track 175 miles away from Perry Barr!

The occasion was on Thursday 15th July 1948 and the opposing team were Edinburgh and the match took place at Middlesbrough's Cleveland Park Stadium. The reason for this bizarre arrangement was the huge fixture congestion created by the Brummies unprecedented progress in the National Trophy. Two days earlier Birmingham had visited Fleetwood for the first leg of round three of that competition, winning the match by ten points (59-49), which then meant that the scheduled home match against Edinburgh due to take place on the following Saturday, would have to be postponed in order to accomodate the second leg of the trophy meeting, this competition having priority over a league match,  so rather than do this and add to the fixture congestion, Les Marshall took the unusual step of asking Middlesbrough to host the match on their normal home race night of Thursday.

Not that this arrangement had much effect on the Birmingham riders who at the time were in the middle of a tremendously successful period, as it turned out, for despite the Cleveland Park circuit being very different in size and in shape to Perry Barr, the Brummies had no difficulty in clocking up a runaway 58-26 success.

Birmingham scorers that evening were Graham Warren 12 (maximum) Doug McLachlan 10+1, Stan Dell 8+2, Geoff Bennett 7+2, Arthur Payne 7+1, Brian Wilson 6+2, Charlie May 5, Buck Whitby 3+1. Edinburgh could provide only two race winners in Mitchell and Campbell. and their scorers were: Dick Campbell 8, Bill Baird 5, Clem Mitchell 5, Danny Lee (a pre-war Birmingham rider from the Hall Green era) 4, Dennis Parker 2, Eddie Lack 1, Keith Cox 1, Nobby Downham 0.

Just wonder whether an arrangement like this could happen in 2017 - and what sort of attendance it would draw?
« Last Edit: March 05, 2017, 12:01:01 PM by Brian Buck »


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Offline stansolo

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Re: Day the Brummies raced a home match 175 miles away!!
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2017, 05:17:33 PM »
Why didnt Les arrange the fixture at Tamworth or Cradley ?.........smells a bit of of (alledged)   -   jiggery-pokery ...... ???
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Offline Brian Buck

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Re: Day the Brummies raced a home match 175 miles away!!
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2017, 10:45:59 AM »
Trust Stan to think that there might have been some sinister unknown reason for this occurance!!!! However, he does raise an interesting point - why on earth would Birmingham pick Middlesbrough as a venue for a home match? True, the team had travelled north for the National Trophy match at Fleetwood two days earlier - but Fleetwood is in the north west of the country, and Middlesbrough further north and cross country in the north east, so it could hardly have been described as being "on the way back to Brum!"

Further research has revealed:

Cradley Heath were away at Stoke on that evening (15th July 1948 and had a home match against Exeter on the following evening so understandably wouldn't have wanted to be running both home and away meetings on 15th.

Tamworth had a home fixture (Tamworth v The Midlands) on Tuesday 13th July and were away at Hastings the following night. They could have squeezed in the Birmingham v Edinburgh match on 15th but obviously didn't want to.

Middlesbrough were then (as now) a Thursday night track but on that particular evening they were away to another Thursday night track Sheffield so they would have had a blank night to fill and must have seen a Birmingham match which would include the sensational Graham Warren as a big attraction for their supporters.

All supposition of course, but perhaps there is someone out there who can remember this match and can come up with some hard details?


Offline stansolo

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Re: Day the Brummies raced a home match 175 miles away!!
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2017, 04:01:57 PM »
Tamworth  v The Midlands ?
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Offline Brian Buck

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Re: Day the Brummies raced a home match 175 miles away!!
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2017, 04:09:42 AM »
Presumably, all of the riders had been booked for this match and Tamworth had advertised the fixture so wouldn't have wanted to call it off at short notice. In those days the crowds would come out in force to watch any kind of match - and Tamworth probably preferred to stick with a meeting for which they would only be paying third division pay rates.



Offline stansolo

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The originator of the idea of the "first website regarding the  Birmingham Brummies"

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