Rye House Rockets
|Rye House Rockets|
|Track address||Rye House Stadium
|Team manager||John Sampford|
|Team captain||Jason Bunyan|
|Colours||Blue and gold|
|Track size||262 metres|
|Track record time||55.1 seconds|
|Track record date||31st May 2010|
|Track record holder||Chris Neath|
|Major team honours|
|Southern Area League Champions
Premier League Champions
Premier Trophy Winners
National League Champions
National League KO Cup Winners
|1954, 1955, 1956
The Rye House Rockets Speedway team have been racing at the Rye House Stadium next to the River Lea since 1974. Len Silver, promoter of the Rayleigh Rockets, was forced to find a new home for his team after the Rockets original home at the Rayleigh Weir Stadium was sold and redeveloped.
The Rye House track in Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire had been around since the 1934 and was regularly used by the big London clubs like the West Ham Hammers to scout for future riders. In the 1930s and 1940s young riders regularly made the trip from Liverpool Street station with their bikes to the Rye House railway station which is a 2-minute walk from the stadium. Regular training schools and the occasional season of league racing kept the track in use until Len Silver brought in his Rockets team after they were made homeless in 1974.
Midway through the 1984 season Silver sold the Rockets to Ronnie Russell (who later became the promoter of rivals – the Arena Essex Hammers) so he could concentrate on his new skiing holiday business, Silver Ski. Ronnie ran the Rockets alongside a number of other co-promoters over the years. In 1993 Ronnie shut the doors on the Rockets and the club closed down.
During the winter of 1998–99 a group of Rockets fans placed an advert in the Speedway Star magazine for a meeting to see if there was enough interest in trying to resurrect the team. Over a hundred former fans attended and many made contributions to the funds to help bring back the Rockets. With the race track at Rye House being tarmac'd over for Stock Car use, there wasn't a chance of the team returning to their spiritual home. In the end a former Rocket, Dingle Brown, came to the rescue. Dingle was the promoter of the Mildenhall Fen Tigers, he offered a track share; with the Rockets racing after the Fen Tigers meetings. The Rockets finally got back on track for the 1999 season but this time riding in the Conference League. During the initial stages of getting the Rockets back up and running, Steve Ribbons, John Stoneman and Dave Entwistle (the men behind the project), contacted former promoter Len Silver to see if he could offer any advice. Silver offered to sponsor the team which became the Rye House 'Silver Ski' Rockets.
After a successful year in 1999, in terms of getting the club back off the ground, the following season was now the main concern. With Silver now interested in returning to Speedway in some capacity; his help was asked for again with trying to get the team back at Hoddesdon. A deal with the current owners was struck and the Rockets headed home in 2000.
Due to the original track being covered in tarmac, the club was forced to lay a temporary dirt track before races on a Sunday/Monday and straight after the meeting had finished; the track would have to be completely removed. With the assistance of Silver and his knowledge of track preparation this worked for a time, though it was back-breaking work for a team of dedicated volunteers. The club announced in July 2000 that the 'new' Promoter Len Silver had secured the lease on the Stadium and that he had given notice to the stock cars to quit the track ready for its redevelopment to a dirt surface.
Rider of the year
- 2012: Jason Garrity
- 2011: Chris Neath
- 2010: Linus Sundstrom
- 2009: Luke Bowen
- 2008: Luke Bowen
- 2007: Tai Woffinden
- 2006: Steve Boxall
- 2005: Stuart Robson
- 2004: Tommy Allen
- 2003: Scott Robson
- 2002: David Mason
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