The Beginnings of Speedway Racing

Speedway racing has become one of the most exhilarating and action-packed motor sports in the industry. With its risky yet exciting rules and demands, it brings a brand new level of excitement for the participants and the audience alike. But how did speedway racing begin? How did it become the sport that it is today?


The history of speedway racing is one that’s clouded in mystery. There have been findings that speedway racing was done in Australia and the United States way before World War I as evidenced by small dirt tracks where the races were held. Don Johns was a familiar name in 1914 when speedway racing was still in its infancy. He rode the tracks by skillfully sliding and in the early 1920s, his style of turning and cornering became an inspiration for the US to develop the sport, Short Track Racing.

In the United Kingdom, the initial influence of speedway racing started in February 1928 with a meeting at High Beech though there have been claims that it happened in 1927 at Camberley, Surrey and Droylsden, Lancashire. The latter claims on Camberley differed as the races were conducted in a clockwise manner. The races conducted in Droylsden went with an anti-clockwise direction. However, the most accepted fact as to when speedway racing arrived in the UK was when Billy Galloway and Keith McKay introduced the sport.

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Both of them were later featured in the meeting at High Beech in 1928. The meeting established that speedway racing be participated with bikes without brakes and broadsiding on round corners was the primary way to turn. In April 1928, this art of turning was demonstrated by Colin Watson, Digger Pugh and Alf Medcalf in the UK. The Proto Speedway was held in Glasgow at the Olympic Stadium and the first ever meeting that were held by professionals were held at Celtic Park.

Speedway racing is typically conducted on a specifically built track. Though speedway tracks shared the venues with cars, the tracks were consistent as to how the event was held. The art of broadsiding, turning and drifting across the surface of the loose dirt became the mainstay discipline as to how participants engaged in speedway racing. The motorcycles in speedway racing were not equipped with brakes but this stayed even though there were some concerns with safety. However, this was resolved as the safety regulations approved speedway racing and the specialized motorcycles.