National League (1932–64)

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National League
League Information
Sport Speedway
Formerly
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Founded 1932
Closed    1964
Governing Body    Speedway Control Board (SCB)
League Facts
Current Champions
Most Championships Wembley Lions (8)
Current Competitions
Current Teams

The National League was the main speedway league in the United Kingdom from 1932 until 1964, after which it merged with the Provincial League to form the British League.[1] Prior to 1932 there were only small regional leagues competing within the sport in the UK, with the Northern League and the Southern League merging for the inaugural 1932 season.

Initially a single division, in 1936 a second division was created, initially named the Provincial League, but becoming National League Division Two in 1938.[1] When league racing resumed after World War II, there was initially a single division. Six clubs started a new grass roots Northern League that year, and with more tracks opening up, the National League expanded to three divisions in 1947.[1] For several reasons, including the levels of Entertainment tax and competition for audiences from television, a number of teams ceased to be profitable and the league reverted to two divisions in 1954.[1] Further withdrawals led to a reduction to a single eleven-team division in 1957.[1]

Continuing reduction in spectator numbers, and dissatisfaction with the way speedway was structured and managed led several promoters (including Mike Parker, Reg Fearman, and Johnnie Hoskins) to create the breakaway Provincial League in 1960.[1] Working within tighter budgets, they were nevertheless more successful commercially than the National League promotions. After relations between the two leagues broke down in 1963, an RAC commission led to the two leagues merging in 1965 to form the British League.[1]

The National League name was revived in 1975 when the British League Division Two was renamed, initially to the New National League. The name was reused again for the third tier of British speedway from 2009.

Champions[edit]

Season Champions Second
1932 Wembley Lions Crystal Palace Glaziers
1933 Belle Vue Aces Wimbledon Dons
1934 Belle Vue Aces Wembley Lions
1935 Belle Vue Aces Harringay Tigers
1936 Belle Vue Aces Wembley Lions
1937 West Ham Hammers Wembley Lions
1938 New Cross Rangers West Ham Hammers
not held during Second World War
1946 Wembley Lions Belle Vue Aces
1947 Wembley Lions Belle Vue Aces
1948 New Cross Rangers Harringay Racers
1949 Wembley Lions Belle Vue Aces
1950 Wembley Lions Belle Vue Aces
1951 Wembley Lions Belle Vue Aces
1952 Wembley Lions Birmingham Brummies
1953 Wembley Lions Harringay Racers
1954 Wimbledon Dons Wembley Lions
1955 Wimbledon Dons Belle Vue Aces
1956 Wimbledon Dons Wembley Lions
1957 Swindon Robins Belle Vue Aces
1958 Wimbledon Dons Norwich Stars
1959 Wimbledon Dons Leicester Hunters
1960 Wimbledon Dons Belle Vue Aces
1961 Wimbledon Dons Southampton Saints
1962 Southampton Saints Wimbledon Dons
1963 Belle Vue Aces Norwich Stars
1964 Oxford Cheetahs Coventry Bees

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Rogers, Martin (1978) The Illustrated History of Speedway, Studio Publications, ISBN 0-904584-45-3, p. 20-25