The great days of Yarmouth speedway
It's half a century since the Bloaters rode for the last time - but the memories of Yarmouth speedway live on. Derek James reports.
The great thing about Yarmouth speedway is that in a way it is still there – half a century after the Bloaters rode for the last time.
In Norwich the dear old Firs has long gone and even the public house named after the track has been turned into a supermarket.
But at Yarmouth the Caister Road stadium is now used for greyhound racing and stock car racing, and plays a leading role in town and county life.
As speedway author and historian Howard Jones points out: 'It's one of the few defunct tracks which could, if anyone had the readies and the planning, reopen to the sound of bikes once again.'
Howard has written a string of books based on the old speedway magazines called The Pocket Size History of Defunct Speedway Tracks and the one on the dear old Bloaters is a little cracker.
It was the late great Peter 'Speedy Pete' Jarman who won the last ever meeting staged at Caister Road – The Kings of Oxford trophy in August of 1961.
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That year Yarmouth ran a series of open licence meetings having resigned from the Provincial League at the end of the 1960 campaign.
It was during the 1930s there had been grasstrack racing near the stadium but it wasn't until 1948 that the Bloaters started blooming and they became a handy side near the top of the third division.
Speedway continued until 1953 before well known track photographer Alf Weedon and two business partners reopened the track to Open Licence activity in 1957-8.
Howard's magazine telling the story of the Yarmouth Bloaters is a real slice of local history and is packed with pictures and memories bringing back the glory days. It first came out in 2009, with help and support from the late Great Yarmouth speedway expert Keith Farman and has now been reprinted.
The magazine will cost you �6.50 (including p&p). Send a cheque to Speed-Away Promotions, 19 Arundel Road, lytham St Annes, Lanchashire FY8 1AF, call 01253 732387 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or order online at www.speedwaymags.co.uk
Coming up soon. The story of the Hellesdon skid kid who became the greatest Bloater of them all – Billy Bales – and news of a new book all about the history of Yarmouth Racecourse.