Eighty-year-old Mick Fisher from Rodbourne has fond memories of the sport of cycle speedway which gripped the town after World War II – and even has a county champion’s trophy to show for it.
“Cycle speedway started in London after the war, racing around the bombsites,” said Mick, a rider for the Rodbourne Rockets.
“We built a track in 1948 at the bottom of Morris Street, where Mannington Rec is now, using ash from the railway.”
Rival clubs in the town included the Kingsdown Aces, Purton Panthers and Gorse Hill Foxes.
He also has memories of numerous friendly matches such as one against Rodbourne’s Monkey Club, and said one of their riders was so heavy that he needed a reinforced bike. Mick said: “We raised £21 at that match, which was two weeks’ pay in those days.”
Competitions were sponsored by the News Chronicle, a national paper, with a silver helmet awarded to county champions and gold to the national winner.
Mick said: “I was presented with it by Zena Marshall, the British film actress who went on to play Miss Taro in the James Bond movie, Dr No. Barrie Telling, who won it the year before me, got his from Petula Clark.”
Sadly, Mick missed out on the chance to win the gold helmet. He said:“I went up to London for the national finals, but I was disqualified for breaking the tape on the starting line.”
Mick’s cycle speedway career came to an end when he started National Service in 1954.
Mick is pictured with his 1950 county champions silver helmet by Richard Wintle of Calyxpix.com
Below, Mick, on the right, battling it out on the cycle speedway with team mate Barrie Telling who kindly gave us permission to use the picture via the Rodourne Community History Group
The August edition of Swindon Link reported how Mick asked well-wishers at his 80th birthday party to make donations to Swindon Pathfinders. £1,000 was raised towards a ski trip for disabled children, including his granddaughter Louise who has cerebral palsy. Click here to read the story
Rodbourne Community History Group holds a free exhibition of photographs and artefacts of Rodbourne’s past on Saturday 31 August, 10am to 4pm, at Even Swindon Community Centre, Jennings Street.
Film shows at 11am and 1pm.
Book a guided tour of Rodbourne at 10.30am or 2pm by calling 0776 6138229 .