Ken McKinlay

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Ken McKinlay
Personal information
Nationality  Scotland
Date of birth (1928-06-07)June 7, 1928
Place of birth    Blantyre, Scotland
Date of death    9 February 2003(2003-02-09) (aged 74)
Nickname Hurri-Ken
Current club information
British league -
Career history
Glasgow Tigers
Leicester Hunters
Coventry Bees
West Ham Hammers
Oxford Cheetahs/Rebels
Scunthorpe Saints
1962-1964, 1970
Individual honours
Midland Riders' Champion
Australian Champion
SA State Champion (Aust)
Victorian State Champion (Aust)
NSW State Champion (Aust)
Queensland State Champion (Aust)
WA State Champion (Aust)
1956, 1957, 1959
1959, 1961
Team honours
British League Champions
British League KO Cup Winners
London KO Cup Winners
Midland Cup Winner
1965, 1966, 1967

John Robert Vickers (Ken) McKinlay (7 June 1928 Blantyre, Scotland – 9 February 2003 Leicester, England)[1] was an international speedway rider, captaining Scotland, England, Great Britain and Europe teams. He also finished on the rostrum of the British Speedway Championship finals twice, second in 1964 and third in 1965. His nickname Hurri-Ken was given to him by famous speedway promoter Johnnie Hoskins.

Career summary[edit]

McKinlay took up speedway while serving with the British Army in Germany, riding for the Neumunster forces team.[2] He went on to captain the team and finished in joint sixth place in the 1948 Combined Services Speedway Championship.[2] On his return to Britain, he started his career with the Glasgow Tigers in 1949 and had five successful seasons there. However in 1954 the track closed and Ken transferred to the Leicester Hunters for a club record fee.[3] He spent eight seasons with the Hunters, moving up with them into the First Division in 1957, and averaging close to 11 points in the 1958 and 1959 seasons.[3] A spell with the Coventry Bees followed after Leicester dropped down to the Provincial League.

When the British League was formed in 1965 Ken was allocated to the West Ham Hammers, and as captain led them to winning the 1965 treble of League Championship, KO Cup and London KO Cup trophies. He was renowned for his team-riding with younger riders and his contribution throughout his five season with the Hammers was immeasurable.

1970 saw him return to the Coventry Bees for one season before he moved to the Oxford Cheetahs for a further two seasons. Ken considered retirement but in 1973 he was approached by the management of the Scunthorpe Saints to become rider/coach of the second division side. He stayed with the Saints for three seasons before retiring in 1975 aged forty-seven.

While still a Second Division rider with Leicester he rode for England in the 1955 Test series against Australasia, top scoring for England in the third test with 11 points, and going on to represent England regularly until the early 1970s.[4]

Ken McKinlay was also a success when he ventured to Australia to race in the late 1950s and through the 1960s, winning the Australian Individual Speedway Championship in 1964 at the 509m Sydney Showground Speedway. He placed third in 1967 at Adelaide's Rowley Park Speedway and tied for second in 1969, again at the Sydney Showground.

Mckinlay was also successful in various Australian state championships. He won the South Australian Championship in 1957 at Rowley Park, the Victorian Championship in 1959 and again in 1961 as well as the NSW championship at the Showground in 1960. He also traveled to Brisbane to win the Queensland championship in 1964 at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground and in 1966 he traveled to Australia's west coast where he won the Western Australian championship at Perth's 550m Claremont Speedway.

Ken had two short spells as team managers of Scunthorpe and Long Eaton. Ken died in 2003 aged seventy four.

World Final Appearances[edit]


  1. ^ Oakes, Peter; Mauger, Ivan OBE, MBE (1976). Who's Who of World Speedway. Studio Publications (Ipswich) Ltd. ISBN 0-904584-04-6. 
  2. ^ a b Davies, Trevor (2008) Warzone Speedway, Trevor Davies Publishing, ISBN 978-0-9558624-0-3, p. 137
  3. ^ a b Jones, Alan (2004) Speedway in Leicester: The Hunters Era, Automedia, p. 157
  4. ^ Foster, Peter (2005) A History of the Speedway Ashes, Tempus, ISBN 0-7524-3468-3, p. 152 et seq
  5. ^ Bamford, R. & Shailes, G. (2002). A History of the World Speedway Championship. Stroud: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-2402-5