|Date of birth||19 August 1941|
|Place of birth||Earlwood, New South Wales|
|Current club information|
|NSW State Champion
Queensland State Champion
Victorian State Champion
Northern Riders Champion
|1966, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1974
1968, 1969, 1970, 1972
|World Team Cup Winner||1971|
James Sydney "Jim" Airey (born 19 August 1941 in Earlwood, New South Wales) is a former Australian international motorcycle speedway rider who rode in the 1971 World Final in Göteborg, Sweden and was a member of the Great Britain team that won the 1971 Speedway World Team Cup in Wrocław, Poland. Jim is also a four time Australian Champion having won the title in 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1972.
Jim Airey started racing Speedway in the early-1960s, quickly establishing himself as a star rider and won his first NSW Solo Championship at the Sydney Showground in 1966, before going on to win the Australian Championship in 1968, also held at the Showground which was his home track.
Airey became known as the "King of the Royale" as he was near unbeatable on the 509 metres (557 yd) Sydney Showground track (the Showground was known as the "Royale"). At one stage during the late 1960s Airey won a record 33 consecutive scratch races at the Showground. He wasn't totally invincible at the Showground though and regularly faced stiff competition from the likes of good friend Gordon Guasco (who lost his live at Sydney's other speedway, Liverpool in 1970), and visiting English brothers Nigel and Eric Boocock.
He followed up his 1968 Australian Championship by winning both the 1969 and 1970 championships, again all held at the Sydney Showground. He won his fourth and last title in 1972 at Rowley Park in Adelaide. During this time he also won the NSW championship in 1969, 1970, 1971 before winning his last championship in 1974. Three of his five NSW titles won at the Showground, while his 1970 and 1971 wins were at Liverpool in the days when the bikes still used the main 440 metres (480 yd) track. He would never place second or third in the Australian Championship, only ever stepping onto the podium as the winner.
Airey would also win the Queensland Championship in 1970, winning at both the Brisbane Exhibition Ground (Ekka) and the 3-lap title in Ipswich. He also won the Victorian title in 1971. Airey's NSW state title wins at Liverpool, his Qld and Victorian titles, and his national title win at Rowley Park proved that he wasn't just a one track rider.
Jim Airey was one of the few speedway riders who didn't have a major crash in his career. His secret was known to be that he never rode faster than he needed to, giving himself margin for error. He chose to retire after winning his last NSW Championship in 1974 aged just thirty-three.
Airey rode successfully in the National League for the Sunderland Saints for eight meetings in 1964 before moving to the Wolverhampton Wolves for the remainder of 1964 and 1965. After not competing in England during the 1966 season, Airey returned to Wolverhampton for 1967 and 1968. He then signed with the Sheffield Tigers for 1969 and remained with the team until 1971 before retiring from the British Leagues and returning full time to Australia.
Jim Airey rode in numerous Test Matches for Australia during his career, often captaining the team in matches held in Australia against visiting national teams yet his greatest international success came as a member of the Great Britain speedway team at Wrocław in Poland. Great Britain, containing Jim Airey from Australia, Ivan Mauger, Barry Briggs and Ronnie Moore from New Zealand and Ray Wilson, who was the only rider from Great Britain, easily won the 1971 Speedway World Team Cup scoring 37 points to defeat the Soviet Union on 22 and host nation Poland who finished on 19 points.
World Final Appearances
Speedway World Team Cup
- 1971 - Wrocław, Olympic Stadium - Great Britain (with Ray Wilson / Ivan Mauger / Barry Briggs / Ronnie Moore) - Winner - 37pts (9)