Wembley Lions (speedway)

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Wembley Lions
Wembley speedway.jpg
Wembley Lions Speedway Badge
Club information
Track address Empire Stadium
Wembley
London
Country England
Founded 1929
Closed 1971
Club facts
Colours Red and White
Track size 378 yards (345m)
Major team honours
National League Champions 1932, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953
National Trophy Winners 1931, 1932, 1948, 1954
British Speedway Cup Winners 1947
Southern League Champions 1930, 1931
London Cup 1930, 1932, 1933, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951

The Wembley Lions were a motorcycle speedway team which operated from 1929 until their closure in 1971. Their track was located at Wembley Stadium, London.[1]

The original stadium which hosted speedway has been redeveloped.

Brief history[edit]

Pre-war[edit]

After opening in 1929, the Lions joined the Southern League, winning it in 1930 and 1931. The 1932 season saw them join the National League which they won at the first attempt. The Lions continued to compete in the National League until the outbreak of World War II .[2]

1946-1957[edit]

After the war Wembley continued in the National League, winning the title in the opening season in 1946. The following season they retained their title. The Lions operated until the end of the 1956 season, winning the title a further five times (successive titles between 1949 and 1953) but in 1957 they withdrew from the league before the season started due to the death of Sir Arthur Elvin, the chairman of Wembley Stadium. Many of the Wembley "home" meetings in 1948 were staged at Wimbledon as the Empire Stadium was used for the Olympic Games.

1970-1971[edit]

In 1970, Wembley speedway returned, entering the British League. Promoters Trevor Redmond and Bernard Cottrell bought their licence and the contracts of some of the riders from the Edinburgh Monarchs promoter Ian Hoskins who was operating at Coatbridge. The Lions only managed to stay in operation for two seasons due to the stadium not being able to support speedway at all times due to commitments to other events being held there.[3]

Big Events[edit]

Wembley staged the Speedway World Championship Final continuously from 1936 to 1938 and then when it was re-introduced after World War II from 1949 to 1960. It went on to stage the championship a further nine times before its last appearance at Wembley in 1981. Lions riders won in 1936 (Lionel Van Praag), 1949 (Tommy Price), and 1950 and 1953 (Freddie Williams). Wembley also hosted the British Riders' Championships Finals 1946 to 1948.

Notable Wembley riders[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bamford, R & Jarvis J.(2001). Homes of British Speedway. ISBN 0-7524-2210-3
  2. ^ Jacobs, N. & Lipscomb, P.(2005). Wembley Speedway The Pre-War Years. ISBN 0-7524-3750-X
  3. ^ Jacobs, Norman (2001). Speedway in London. ISBN 0-7524-2221-9