Cradley Heathens

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Cradley Heathens
CH emblem.png
Club information
Track address Perry Barr Stadium
Birmingham
Country England
Founded 1947, 2010
Closed 1995
Team manager Will Pottinger
Team captain Max Clegg
League National League
Website www.cradleyheathens.co
Club facts
Colours Green, white and red
Current team
Rider CMA
England Max Clegg 8.58
England Nathan Greaves 7.12
TBC TBC
TBC TBC
England Luke Harris 3.17
England Michael Neale 3.00
Australia Ellis Perks 3.00
Major team honours
British League Champions 1981, 1983
British League KO Cup Winners 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983,1986, 1987, 1988, 1989
British League Pairs Champions 1978
Four-Team Champions 1980, 1995
National Shield 2011, 2012, 2013
National League Fours 2011, 2013
National League Pairs 2013
National League 2013
National League Knockout Cup 2013

Cradley Heathens are a motorcycle speedway team from Dudley, England. The team was founded in 1945 and competed at the top level of British speedway until its closure in 1995. It was revived as Dudley Heathens in 2010, competing in the National League, reverting back to the Cradley Heathens name in 2013.

History[edit]

Cradley Heath speedway team was formed in 1947 and first raced at Dudley Wood Stadium on 21 June 1947 after a number of away appearances prior to the opening of the newly built stadium. After closure at the end of the 1952 season the track reopened in 1959 for one unlicensed meeting and in 1960 the Heathens entered the newly formed Provincial League. The club then operated continuously, - at top flight level from 1965 -, until 1995 when they were evicted by the new landlords who had bought the stadium to redevelop into housing. The team survived for one additional year, competing at the Loomer Road Stadium in Stoke in 1996 under the name 'Cradley and Stoke' Heathens. The club was one of the most successful in the sport throughout the 1980s, winning the British League in 1981 and 1983 and eight Knockout Cup competitions. Seven Speedway World Championships were won by Cradley riders between 1981 and 1996.

Revival[edit]

Supporters of the club campaigned to resurrect speedway in the local area. Plans were submitted to Dudley Council for a new site. The Birmingham Brummies promoter, Tony Mole and Bob Edwards (on behalf of supporters group, CRASH – Cradley Raising Aid Saving Heathens) led the planning application and it was hoped that the team would return to racing in 2009.[1] There was an online petition to show support for the application which was linked from the Cradley Heath Speedway website.[2]

The Heathens returned in 2010 but with a changed name. The Cradley name was changed to Dudley Heathens temporarily until a new stadium could be found to call their own. They joined the National League and their home meetings were initially shared between two stadiums – Monmore Green (home track of the Wolverhampton Wolves) and the Perry Bar Stadium (home track of the Birmingham Brummies).[3] The team manager was Will Pottinger, and the club was be promoted by Sky Sports Speedway presenter Nigel Pearson, and now by Chris Van Straaten & Gary Patchett. Between 2011 and 2014 home matches were solely at Monmore Green,[4] however at the end of the 2014 season it was announced they would be unable to continue racing at Monmore Green and a deal was quickly agreed to go back to the Perry Barr Stadium in Birmingham for the 2015 season.[5]

Name[edit]

The team name is taken from the Dudley Wood stadium's proximity to Cradley Heath town centre, though it lies in the borough of Dudley, centred about 3 miles (4.8 km) away. At the time of formation the two towns were in different counties - Staffordshire and Worcestershire, but both towns are now part of the county of West Midlands. The Cradley team initially took the nickname "Cubs" but during the 1949 season, having gained promotion from the National League Division Three to the National League Division Two, they adopted the name of Cradley Heathens, which was retained through to their final days in 1996 but for the period of 1973-76 when they raced as Cradley United and 1996 when they became 'Cradley and Stoke' and raced in Stoke. The club was revived as Dudley Heathens in 2010, reverting to Cradley Heathens after the 2013 season.[6]

Team Status[edit]

YEAR LEAGUE POSITION ADDITIONAL TROPHIES NOTES
1947 National League Division 3 Runner-Up
1948 National League Division 3 Runner-Up
1949 National League Division 2 4th
1950 National League Division 2 3rd Midland Cup
1951 National League Division 2 15th Central Shield
1952 National League Division 2 4th
- - closure - - - -
1960 Provincial League. 6th
1961 Provincial League. 4th Knock-out Cup
1962 Provincial League. 8th
1963 Provincial League. 9th Knock-out Cup, Midland League
1964 Provincial League. 10th All 12 tracks unlicensed by ACU
1965 British League. 16th Senior league racing hereonafter
1966 British League. 19th Wooden Spoon
1967 British League. 18th
1968 British League. 14th
1969 British League. 7th
1970 British League. 15th
1971 British League. 18th
1972 British League. 16th
1973 British League. 18th Wooden Spoon
1974 British League. 13th
1975 British League. 11th
1976 British League. 9th
1977 British League. 7th
1978 British League. 5th
1979 British League. 3rd Knock-out Cup, Inter-League Cup
1980 British League. 5th Midland Cup
1981 British League. Winner
1982 British League. Runner-Up Knock-out Cup, League Cup, Premiership
1983 British League. Winner Knock-out Cup, Midland Cup
1984 British League. 3rd League Cup, Midland Cup, Premiership
1985 British League. 7th Premiership
1986 British League. Runner-Up League Cup
1987 British League. Runner-Up Knock-out Cup, Midland Cup, Brit Trophy
1988 British League. 3rd Knock-out Cup, Premiership
1989 British League. 3rd Knock-out Cup, Premiership
1990 British League. 7th Premiership
1991 British League. 3rd
1992 British League. 4th
1993 British League. 11th Wooden Spoon
1994 British League. 9th
1995 Premier League. 3rd Premier League Fours
1996 Premier League. 5th Operating from Chesterton, Stoke
- - closure - - - -
2010 National League 3rd Operating from Perry Barr and Monmore Green
2011 National League 7th National Shield, National League Fours Operating from Monmore Green
2012 National League 2nd National Shield Operating from Monmore Green
2013 National League 1st National Shield, National League Pairs, National League Fours, National League Knock-out Cup Operating from Monmore Green
2014 National League 1st National League Fours, National League Knock-out Cup Operating from Monmore Green

The club also operated a junior team in the British Junior League in the years 1986 to 1992 inclusive,

being Runners-Up in 1986 and Winners in 1991.

Club honours list[edit]

British League[edit]

Champions: 1981, 1983

Knockout Cup[edit]

Winners: 1961, 1963, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989

League Cup[edit]

Winners: 1982, 1984, 1986 (shared with Oxford)

Inter-League Cup[edit]

Winners: 1979

Premiership[edit]

Winners: 1982, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990

British League Four Team Tournament[edit]

Winners: 1980, 1995

Midland Cup/Lge/Shield[edit]

Winners: 1950, 1951, 1963, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1987

National League[edit]

  • National Shield - 2011, 2012 and 2013[7]
  • National League Fours Winners - 2011, 2013 and 2014[8]
  • National League Pairs Winners - 2013[8]
  • National League Champions - 2013 and 2014[8]
  • National League Knock Out Cup - 2013 and 2014[8]

Individual Champions[edit]

World Champion[edit]

Under-21 World Champion[edit]

Long Track World Champion[edit]

British Under-21 Champion[edit]

Intercontinental Champion[edit]

Overseas Champion[edit]

British League Riders Champion[edit]

National League Riders Champion[edit]

American Champion[edit]

Danish Champion[edit]

Swedish Champion[edit]

Scottish Open Champion[edit]

Australasian Champion[edit]

South Australian Champion[edit]

Western Australian Champion[edit]

Victorian Champion (Aust)[edit]

Notable riders[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cradley bid lodged". British Speedway Promoters' Association. 1 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  2. ^ "Heathens plans given boost". BBC Sport. 10 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  3. ^ "Dudley Heathens given National League speedway go-ahead", BBC, 28 January 2010. Retrieved 18 January 2013
  4. ^ "Dudley Heathens choose to race at Wolverhampton", BBC, 27 January 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2013
  5. ^ http://www.cradleyheathens.co/news.php?extend.1165
  6. ^ "National League Statement", speedwaygb.co, 10 December 2013. Retrieved 25 December 2013
  7. ^ "Mildenhall Speedway: Fen Tigers miss out on National Shield.", worldspeedway.com, 1 May 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013
  8. ^ a b c d "British Speedway Roll of Honour 2013", speedwaygb.co, 31 October 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013

External links[edit]